Thursday, September 20, 2012

9th Grade: Top 10 College Planning Tips

Here are our Top 10 College Planning Tips for 9th grade students and parents:

Begin mapping out your curriculum plan for all four years in the Upper School.

Aim for Breath and Depth:  four years in five core subjects (4x5 = 20), moving upward to the next level of rigor (English, math, science, history, and foreign language)  [Selective colleges aren’t looking for passion on the transcript;  they are looking for appropriate level of challenge + consistent performance] 

Become involved in school activities (clubs, sports, debate, theater, Logos, The Crier);  take advantage of leadership opportunities available to you.  (“To whom much is given much is required”) 

Work hard in all your courses.  The #1 rubric for college readiness is the transcript.  Moreover, the ACT covers content in the classroom.  Read more.  This will improve your PSAT and SAT scores. 
 Take the PSAT in October for experience with standardized testing and to evaluate your progress.

Make good use of your summer;  get a summer job (responsibility), go to camp, travel, take a course, etc. (What do you do when you don’t have to do anything?) 

Make use of family trips and vacations to take a first look at colleges.  Aim for a “cluster of three” schools:  small, liberal arts;  mid-size private university; big, public university;  specialty schools.  (What did you learn about yourself while touring the school?) 

Begin using Casady’s Naviance.  Take the Learning Style assessment.  Explore the Super College Match.  Look at the College Maps.  Begin building your resume.  Keep “Journal” notes about your freshman experience. 

Parents:  begin financial planning for college now!  Don’t wait!  Investigate college costs, saving plans, etc.  Click here to do an early "Expected Family Contribution" ("EFC"). 
Parents:  utilize college counseling resources found in the UD Hub.  Start by reading College Bound Field Guide.  Click here to find the CBFG and other college counseling resources.