How To Prepare For College


The following information is from the 2008-2009 Guide to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 13th Complimentary Edition, Ebony.

" As a 9th Grader:

- Take challenging college preparatory courses.

-Begin researching universities that interest you.

-Begin researching scholarships, grants and other financial aid programs.

-Consider taking the PSAT or ACT Prep for practice in October.

-Make community and other positive extracurricular activities a must on your schedule.

-Take a summer course that helps you prepare for college.

As a 10th Grader:

-Continue to take challenging college preparatory courses.

-Continue researching universities and scholarships.

-Now is the time to take the PSAT or ACT Prep in October.

-Take the SAT or ACT in the summer for practice.

-Broaden your spectrum of community and other positive extracurricular activities.

-Get a daily planner to help you stay on track and organized with all of your activities.  Make using the planner a habit that you continue through college.

-Form a study group or get a tutor if you get behind in any course.  This self-help experience can also be used in college.

-Use the summer to practice your reading skills.  Get a suggested reading list for college bound students from your English teacher.

As an 11th Grader:

-Continue to take challenging college preparatory courses.  Work toward getting as many A's as possible.

-Visit college fairs in your area.

-Narrow your choice of universities to an average of five.

-Begin applying to universities.

-Make plans to visit universities you are considering.

-Begin filling out financial aid applications.  Start putting your bio together.  Begin asking for letters of reference.

-Take SAT or ACT in the spring (if you hadn't done so already, take the PSAT or ACT Prep in October).

-Continue to broaden your spectrum of community and other positive extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

-Keep making use of your daily planner.

-Become a pro at taking thorough notes.  You'll need this skill every day in college.

-Apply early to summer programs at colleges and universities.

As a 12th Grader:

-Keep going for A's, and continue to take challenging courses.

-Keep attending college fairs in your area.  These events are the next best thing to actually visiting schools.

-Narrow the application process to a minimum of three colleges.  Watch the deadlines!

-Finish the financial aid application process.  Watch the deadlines!

-In October, re-take the SAT or ACT if you were not pleased with your score and want to do better.

-You should find out what colleges or universities have accepted you from March to April.  If you have not heard from a college that you really like by May, contact its admissions office to help expedite a decision.

-Your financial aid award letters should begin arriving in the spring.  Respond to the letters immediately.

-When your student aid report (SAR) comes in, make sure all information is correct.  Send your SAR to the universities that have accepted you.

-By the end of May, you should have finalized your decision on the college or university you will attend.  Reply immediately to any questions or requests the school may have.

-Take Advanced Placement Examinations in May if they are offered in your area.  Consider taking the College Level Entry Program (CLEP) in an area of study that you are particularly advanced in.

-Work during the summer to put away money for your college needs.

-If you are able to graduate early (at the end of the first semester of your senior year in high school) work through the winter and spring, perhaps at an area department store, to put away money for your college needs.

-Assemble everything you will need for going to college from your study gear to your wardrobe.

-Don't stop your community and volunteer work.

-Consult and update your daily planner at least twice a day.

-One evening in late July, sharpen your culinary skills and prepare a dinner (it can be simple) for your family.  This will be your way of saying thanks for all of their help and support before you go to college.

-Plan to take a summer orientation session at your university if it is offered.  It will help you prepare in numerous ways for your freshman year."

-Enjoy College!