COLLEGE PREP > TIMELINE
The beginning of your time in High School is a great opportunity to look at all the required classes that you will take between now and graduation.
If there is some flexibility in math, science, or languages, think about your interests, giftings and what you’d like to learn!
Your second year of High School is a wonderful time to begin thinking about what is ahead of you after high school graduation.
Use this year, when there is no pressure of tests or applications to begin talking about what is important to you and how you’d like to pursue the dreams and desires that God has given you.
Would you like to go straight into college? Perhaps starting off at a community college and then transferring makes more sense for you... Are you interested in military service as an enlisted soldier, or through an officer-training program? Perhaps you are feeling called into ministry...
This is the year that you need to begin investing some time and effort into your future.
Here is a list of things that you should accomplish during your junior year so that there isn’t as much stress and pressure during your senior year:
1. ATTEND A COLLEGE FAIR
Most colleges and trade schools will participate in college fairs. This is an excellent way to “browse” your options, talk with a college representative, ask questions, put yourself on a mailing list, and begin to get a feel for what schools you’d like to explore further.
2. SET UP COLLEGE VISIT TOURS
Call your prospective colleges and request to make a visit. These can be individual visits or on specific “visit days” that the college hosts. There are pros and cons to both those options. An individual visit will give you a much more tailored look at the college and some one-on-one time with faculty, admissions staff and the financial aid counselors. Group visits will often have special sessions for parents as well as the students, but you will receive less individual attention and time. In either case, it is imperative to visit a class, speak one-on-one with faculty, and spend the night in the dorm. The faculty and staff of a university are paid to tell you how wonderful that school is. Staying in the dorm with current students will give you a much more accurate picture of student life and whether or not you could call that place home for four years.
3. DRAFT A CAREER PLAN
The average college student will change their major no less than three times. While this is normal, it can cost you significantly in time (additional semesters at college), or in money (all those additional class fees). One way to reduce some of the changes and costs in college is to spend some time doing career planning while in high school. Here are some helpful ways to begin that process:
• APTITUDE TEST: There are a wide variety of free tests available online that will help you match your skills and interests to a career.
• PERSONALITY TEST: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), or similar type tests will begin to help you understand how you function, and what careers people with that personality type tend to thrive in.
• JOB SHADOW: Think you want to be a nurse, teacher, marketer, donut-maker, etc? We tend to glamorize jobs and may not really know what goes into a specific job. During the boom of forensic science tv shows there was a sudden demand for colleges to carry degrees in criminal justice. While some of those students seeking that career may have been genuine in their interest, the job itself tends to be quite different than it is portrayed on television. Taking the time to interview/shadow someone in your desired career field can help you gain valuable insight and information to help you decide whether you should pursue that or not.
• EXPLORE: Most people know the commonly talked of career fields; law, medicine, education, business, art, etc. There are also many jobs and career fields that you may not even know exist; fish & game warden, bush pilot, architect, etc. By taking some time to explore career options, you may discover something that fits you perfectly!
This is it! You’re only one year away from beginning the future!
For the college-bound senior, your year will include the following:
1. APPLICATIONS / Fall
If you have not already filled out applications, be sure to get going on these early in the fall. Depending on the school, they may have wait-lists for acceptance. The earlier you apply, the better chance you have of being accepted, or placed high on their waitlist.
2. FINAL VISITS / Fall
If possible, make your final visit to the top college or two of your choice. This will give you a chance to experience it one more time and make sure that this is the place for you.
3. AWARDING SEASON / March 1
If at all possible, families need to complete their tax returns by the last day of February. Colleges are allowed to begin awarding federal student aid as of March 1st. Schools tend to be slightly more generous at the beginning of awarding season than they do at the tail end. It is always worth calling the financial aid office to see if the award can be adjusted. Rarely is it non-negotiable.
4. DECISION DEADLINE / May 1
Most schools require that a student place a deposit by May 1st to hold their spot in student housing. After May 1st, that deposit often becomes non-refundable. If you place deposits down on several schools, make sure you decide of where you will be attending by May 1st or you will forfeit the deposits made.