Admission Keywords
Admission Strategy Juniors
Application Strategy Seniors
Campus Visits / Interviews
CEEB Code Numbers
College Fairs - Overview
College Fairs - National
College Fairs - Performing Arts
College Search
Common Application
Community Service
Curriculum Recommended
Essays - College
Essays - Scholarships
Extracurricular Activities
Financial Aid
Grants - Federal
Items to Take to College
Loans - Student
Letters of Recommendation
Military Academies
Pre-College Tasks
Scholarships - Juniors
Scholarships - Seniors
SAT Test
SAT Subject Tests
Test Prep (SAT / ACT)
Universal Application
Visual Arts Students
Freshman Year Planning Outline by Month



  • Make sure your freshman year course curriculum is challenging; take the rigorous courses required for both high school graduation and college admission. A recommended freshman course curriculum for college-bound students includes Geometry, English, Foreign Language, and a college prep science class.
  • Use a small notebook to jot down your activities and accomplishments as you complete them. You will refer to this notebook when writing your student résumé.
  • Build your vocabulary by reading during summer months (and throughout the year).
  • Build strong academic, language and critical thinking skills during your four years of high school.
  • Parents – Help your student this year with planning and tracking activities that prepare them for the college admission process.


  • Talk with your parents about starting or continuing a savings plan for college. It’s smart to save, but beware of pitfalls.
  • Obtain a Social Security card (if you don’t already have one). A Social Security number is required for college applications, standardized tests, and financial aid.


  • Use a day planner or calendar to organize assignments, schedule events, and to meet deadlines.
  • Plan to meet with your high school/college-career counselor at least every six months to ensure you are on target for graduating high school and fulfilling college admission requirements.


  • Work with your high school/college-career counselor to create a four-year plan outlining the required and elective courses you will take each year in high school. Take a rigorous course curriculum that includes courses required for college admission as well as courses beyond those minimum requirements. Take difficult courses to impress college admission officers and to demonstrate you are ready for the competitive college scene.
  • Meet with your high school/college-career counselor and begin talking about college majors and possible careers. Develop a relationship with your counselor during the freshman year so he/she can get to know you and your interests.
  • Study hard and earn top grades. Freshman grades will be included in your final high school GPA and class rank; freshman grades do count toward college admission and scholarships.
  • Get involved with school activities (student organizations and clubs) and extracurricular activities outside of school (community volunteering or working a job or internship). The quality of your activities will be closely analyzed by admission officers when you apply for college admission. Also, many scholarships are awarded based solely on the quality of community service.
  • Start a list of your activities, accomplishments, awards, community service, and other unique experiences. Use this list to create your student résumé.
  • Develop teacher and upperclassmen relationships. Plan to use teachers and older high school students as mentors. Learn from college-bound students going through the college admission process so you will be better prepared when you begin the process in spring of your junior year.


  • Visit with college representatives who travel to your high school. Remember to be professional in all interactions with college and university representatives.
  • Explore your career and college interests. Talk with both your parents and high school/college-career counselor.
  • Attend college fairs (or “college nights”) hosted by your high school or other nearby schools. Pick up information and speak with college representatives to learn about options for college.


  • Research college summer enrichment programs for high school students. If you find a summer program of interest, start the application process next month.


  • Do well on your final exams. Your GPA is the single-most important factor for getting accepted to college. This includes freshman grades.
  • Investigate college summer enrichment programs for high school students. Start filling out application materials for programs you wish to attend.
  • Visit with high school friends who are home from college on winter break. Try to get an overall picture of what to expect from college life.


  • Check with your high school/college-career counselor on your progress with achieving your four-year plan. Revise your plan as needed.
  • Update your student résumé. Include all accomplishments and activities from the fall semester.
  • Continue participating in extracurricular activities. If possible, decide which activities you are most passionate about and wish to keep involved with throughout your high school career. Plan to take on leadership roles in these activities. Leadership is one of the most valuable student qualifications sought by college admission officers.
  • Study hard this spring semester to earn top grades so you can have the highest possible GPA and class rank.


  • Register for next year’s sophomore level courses. Make sure to follow your four-year plan for high school graduation and college preparation. Sign up for the most challenging curriculum you can handle. See your high school/college-career counselor for course registration instructions and deadlines.
  • Continue to think about college majors of interest. Conduct research on possible careers that may spark interest in a specific major.


  • Start thinking about summer activities – Work a job or internship, provide volunteer service, take an advanced credit course, or perform another activity to build your student résumé.
  • Continue to study hard to earn top grades. High GPA’s open college admission doors.


  • If the organizations and clubs you are involved with hold elections for next year’s leadership positions, become a candidate and run for office.


  • Campaign for a leadership position in organizations or clubs you will be involved with next year (become a club president, run for class office, create and lead a new club, be student leader in a community organization, etc.). Leadership experience is one of the most highly prized student qualifications sought by college admission officers.
  • Sign up for summer activities – Work a job or internship, provide volunteer service, take an advanced credit course, or enroll in a college summer enrichment program.
  • Plan to work hard this summer to impress your employers, supervisors, or class instructors; these are people you may ask for letters of recommendation in the fall of your senior year . . . but only if you do an excellent job for them this summer.
  • If you have a job this summer, save as much money as possible for college. However, beware of pitfalls.
  • Continue to discuss college options and costs with your parents over the summer. Calculate how much you and your family can afford to pay toward college expenses. Keep in mind a small, private university may offer substantial scholarships and cost you less than other schools that offer very little financial aid.
  • Do well on your final exams next month. Earn the impressive grades needed to get accepted to college and to earn merit-based scholarships.
  • Continue to think about college majors during the coming summer. Conduct research on possible careers that may spark interest in a specific major.
  • Update your student résumé to include freshman year activities and accomplishments.
  • Parents - Plan to help your student with the college preparation and admission process over the next three years. Get informed and help with the important decisions ahead.

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