Acquire your Social Security card if you have a U.S. passport. A Social Security number is helpful on most tests and registration forms. It is difficult to receive financial aid without one. You will also need one to work in the U.S. Inquire with AIT when they are visiting campus, or get an address from the Counseling Center.
Design and complete a four-year plan of study which includes challenging academic courses to meet your educational goals. Colleges will certainly take into consideration the classes taken in ninth grade. Usually the GPA from ninth grade to the first semester of senior year is used to determine scholarships and admission. GPA and strength of schedule are both examined in the academic record.
Start building your vocabulary now. The best way to do that is read, read, read. You are building skills that are vital for college success. Improve them now!
Take part in extra-curricular, outreach and service activities. Be a leader! Colleges are more concerned with your initiative and depth of commitment rather than the sheer number of clubs or activities to which you belong. Be careful not to sacrifice your academic record for too many outside activities.
Begin thinking about possible careers. Talk with parents, teachers and friends who will be influences regarding college choice and career decisions. Be praying for God to show you the areas He has planned for you to use your skills and talents. Take advantage of any college/career programs and fairs in your area. There are also many fine computer programs or videos to help with this process.
Review your four-year plan. Does it still look right and meet your needs? Do you need to make up any classes?
You may sign up for the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test) in the fall. A limited number of sophomores can take this for practice with our juniors, on a first-come first-served basis. (NOTE: juniors are free but there is a charge for sophomores). This practice for the “real PSAT” your junior year may be helpful, as several large scholarships are based on these scores.
Take personality and career exploratory tests in Career Workshop guidance class. Begin creating a plan of education based on these findings. Discuss results and thoughts with parents.
In the spring of this year, any student interested in a military service academy should obtain application. This application may require nominations, letters of recommendation, etc.
Begin to acquaint yourself with the college entrance exams: SAT I, SAT II, and ACT. The Counseling Center has free study guides, library resources, and computer training programs to help you become familiar with these exams. Also look into the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) if English is not your first language. As English is the language of instruction at Morrison Academy, the TOEFL may not be required by your college choices, but it is a good complement to your file of achievements. If you want to alert colleges to waive the TOEFL requirement for you, inform the Counseling Center to include the “Instruction in English” letter with your transcripts.
Remember to keep a record of the activities with which you are involved (i.e. extracurricular, community, service, church). You will need this for your senior year “Brag Sheet” which aids you in completing applications as well as assisting teachers and counselors in written recommendations on your behalf.
If in the States for the summer, you should visit colleges. Remember, however, that colleges are rather empty during the summer- you can’t gauge atmosphere without students! You should be able to speak with professors, coaches, admissions and financial aid personnel, though. Call ahead so the admissions office can arrange for you to meet with the people you need to see. If you are an American citizen, apply for summer work (where possible) to develop job experience.
Attend all college fairs, college nights, job fairs, and visits by college representatives. Even if you aren’t interested in that particular college, you can gain valuable general knowledge, brush up your interviewing skills, and gain a broader perspective on the college scene. TAS also has a standing invitation for Morrison students to visit their fairs. Large college fairs to local students, such as the Linden Tour, are also good opportunities of which you should take advantage.
Ask friends and other adults you know where they went to college or schools they can recommend you explore. Read college guides, Campus Life, and other college news sources. Pray for God’s direction to the school He wants for you.
Continue reviewing your four-year plan, revising it where necessary.
Take the PSAT in October. This test is given to all juniors free of charge as a part of the regular school testing program and is the initial step to qualifying for National Merit Scholarships for U.S. citizens. It may also help your college planning as it roughly predicts your SAT scores.
You should begin preparing for the spring SAT I, SAT II or ACT. The school has a number of resources including books and computer software to help you. Make sure you pick up your free study guide with your registration packet.
Select approximately four colleges to which you would like to apply. You should then list them according to your preference and state them on PSAT and SAT forms.
Since you are outside the U.S., it is important to understand fully the financial aid process. Give it a dry run this year. Obtain the forms the seniors will be using. Have your parents go over them. Are they going to be prepared to complete them in January of your senior year? These forms can’t actually be filed now, but parents can learn to understand the process and to ask questions. Remember God can get you to the school He wants you at regardless of the cost.
You will be taking College Workshop guidance class in the third quarter which is nothing but college planning. Use this time like it is worth gold. Be intentional that you are going to make a plan. Do the assignments in the class. The race is on.
You should stay glued to what the seniors are doing. What scholarships are they receiving? How did they go about receiving them?
IMPORTANT! You and your parents need to find out about state residency requirements for financial aid and other mandatory forms.
If in the States for the summer, visit colleges of interest. Remember an empty campus is significantly different than one full of students- try to visit when you can talk to students who are attending. Also, it’s a good idea to call ahead to the college’s admissions office and schedule your visit, particularly during the summer months. They can make sure the your admissions counselor and professors, coaches, and financial aid personnel will be on hand to talk to you.
If the military fits, you can apply for early cycle ROTC scholarship application.
As you consider specific colleges and narrow your options to approximately four, be aware of the following admissions options: Early Entrance: Highly qualified students may matriculate before graduation from high school, e.g. as high school seniors (likely not the best option). Early Decision: Students apply early and are notified of acceptance or rejection well in advance of the usual notification date. If admitted, students must agree to accept an offer of admission. Extremely selective colleges may offer this option. The application deadline for this option is usually November 1 of the senior year. Early Action: This is the same as early decision except the applicants are not obligated to accept an offer of admission until the regular national candidates’ reply date of May 1. Regular Decision: Students apply according to the dates established by the respective colleges and are processed in a normal fashion. This is the most commonly used option. Deferred Entrance: An accepted student may postpone entrance in order to travel, work, or study elsewhere, such as a stint with YWAM, etc.
Request application forms, view books, videos, etc. from all the colleges in which you are interested.
Begin to build a relationship with your admissions counselor at each school you are seriously considering.
Begin thinking about who you will ask to write letters of recommendation for you. Be sure they have had ample opportunity to get to know you!
Practice writing essays.
August & September
Make a final check of your academic record against your four year study plan. Are you on track?
Do you need to retake the SAT I or take SAT II? You need to register for the November SAT by mid-September. Chinese with Listening SAT II is only offered in November.
Plan to register for TOEFL if you need to take it (see Sophomore Year tips).
Inquire about Advanced Placement Tests (AP). Even though Morrison may not offer an actual course in the area you are considering to test, it is possible to study independently and take the AP test in that subject at the end of the year. AP course are available on-line at www.apex.netu.com.
Finish writing to college admissions offices for applications, catalogs, and financial aid forms. Study them carefully. Explore the information posted on the World Wide Web. Communicate with your Admissions Counselor if you have questions or concerns.
If you wish to apply for early admission, be checking deadlines and getting applications.
Maintain good grades. Many colleges will wait to make a decision until they have reviewed your grades from first semester of senior year. Seniors- you cannot coast!
If you are working with a counselor, keep him/her informed.
Attend College Night with your parents! It is an efficient way for them to be informed, and gives you a great opportunity to ask many of your college questions.
If you need to take the December SAT I or SAT II, register in the CC by mid-October . If you need to take the October ACT, register in the CC by early October.
Complete college applications according to the specified deadlines. Be sure you know the deadlines for state and private institutions in which you are interested. The deadlines for private schools vary greatly, so be sure to inquire. You should always retain a copy for your records.
Encourage parents to be gathering information to fill out the FAFSA and Profile so that it will be sent to CSS as soon after January 1 as possible. This can be done completely on-line. Remember, much financial aid is on a first-come first-served basis in most schools.
Check on deadlines and forms to be filled out if you are applying for state grants from your home state.
Take the SAT I or SAT II as needed. Remember, November SAT II is the only time Chinese with Listening is offered.
Begin turning in your college applications to the Counseling Center if you want them to be included with your transcripts, recommendations, school profile, etc. Morrison will send transcripts to the first three schools for free. There is a $100 NT each charge for the second three, $150 NT each for the next three and $200 NT for any after the twelfth.
Prior to putting someone down as a reference on an application form, ask their permission. If recommendations are to be sent to the school directly, it is common courtesy to provide those referring you with an addressed, stamped envelope. Also give them a copy of your “Brag Sheet” as an aid. Be sure to give these recommendations at least two weeks notice. It is also your responsibility to remind them – not the Counseling Center’s Staff.
If state grant applications are due, get them in.
College applications for most colleges should be completed and mailed in by the middle of the month, certainly for selective colleges and most state universities. Pay attention to Counseling Center deadlines for applications due before January 1.
Take the December SAT I or SAT II or ACT as needed.
Fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile (if needed) on line. Remember: the FAFSA needs to be sent to CSS no earlier than January 1 but as soon as possible after that.
January and February
January 1 to March 1 are the application period dates for state and federal financial aid. March 1 is a common deadline for many states; for example, it is the absolute final deadline for the Cal Grants in California. A good rule of thumb is to make plans to have all financial aid forms in by the end of January of your senior year. Again, you cannot file prior to January 1. However, if your parents did a dry run your junior year, this process will be easier. Parents of college students most likely have completed this process and are a tremendous asset for assistance.
Any financial aid forms required by individual colleges should be sent off as soon as possible.
Continue to build your relationship with your admissions counselor at your choice schools. This is particularly important for MKs and TCKs abroad- your admissions counselor can keep you abreast of deadlines and forms still needed. You will also come to mind when the time comes to distribute financial aid. Keep those faxes and email messages coming.
Check with teachers to see if recommendations have been turned into the Counseling Center or sent to colleges where they are required.
Some colleges require mid-year grade reports if you applied during the first semester. Give the Counseling Center the request forms or names and addresses of the colleges requiring mid-year reports.
January is very late to be applying for many four year colleges, especially the more selective ones. Get those applications in if you have not done so already.
March and April
Dates of admissions notifications vary. Financial aid information is mailed from most colleges beginning in March, concluding by early April. This gives you until May 1 to notify a college or university that you will accept or reject the offer. This is very important! If you decide not to attend, you must notify the college so that those on the waiting list will be notified of their acceptance. You should never confirm to more than one college.
The deadline for registering for the May SAT I or SAT II is in mid-March.
The mid-April ACT has an early April registration date.
Register for selected AP tests by the beginning of March. See a counselor for details.
NOTE: All male Americans must register with the Selective Service on or before their eighteenth birthday. Without registration, you cannot apply for federal funds. You will need an application which can be obtained from AIT and a means of identification (i.e., passport, etc.). AIT visits our campus once a month.
Take the SAT I or SAT II as needed.
All remaining colleges and universities should be notifying you of acceptance or non-acceptance.
Make sure you have completed a Senior Contact Information form in the Counseling Center indicating your forwarding address and which college you will be attending so a final transcript can be mailed.
Notify any colleges to which you applied and will not be attending of your decision. Please do this as soon as you know you will not be attending. This is the classy thing to do! It also helps those below you on the waiting lists.
KEEP IN CONTACT WITH YOUR ADMISSIONS COUNSELOR AND THE FINANCIAL AIDS OFFICER. Notify them and the Counseling Center of address changes as you go to the States (or your home country) and the dates of the changes.
Take selected AP exams.
If possible, as soon as is practical, visit the college which you plan to attend. Be sure that it is the school you feel God wants you to attend for the next year at least. Remember, all schools look different during the summer with fewer or no students.
Did you change your mind and now want to go to a different school? Your choices may be limited at this point, but there are schools you can attend. Check out the community colleges and smaller liberal arts colleges or Christian schools. Many state schools also enroll up to the beginning of classes. Your chances for financial aid will likely be bleak, however.
Be watching for dates when deposits and payments to your chosen college are due. Also be aware of last possible dates for refunds from your second choice school if you are holding on to it as “insurance” in case you don’t make it to your first choice school.
Pay attention to early class registration by mail. Failure to register for classes early in this way may leave you without some classes you will want to take.
For Non-American Students – include in above timeline in Senior year:
You should sign up for the TOEFL if you haven’t done so (see Sophomore Year tips).
If you have been accepted at a U.S. institution and choose to go there, you should request a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) be sent from the school as soon as possible. This form is required to apply for a U.S. visa at AIT.
You should apply for non-immigrant student visa at AIT as soon as you receive Form I-20.
You should obtain a copy of Study in the USA, a series of brochures for various geographic areas published by the Study in the USA, Inc. (inquire by mail at 119 South Main, Suite 220, Seattle, WA 98104 or by fax at (206) 624-4364). It describes the educational options available for international students.