College Checklist- What To Know About Getting Into the College of Your Dreams

Brianna Trotter, Business Manager

Do you want to go to college? Do you want to make something out yourself? Do you want to be able to say “I made it”? Well you can. Whether you want to be bold and spontaneous and go out of state to discover something new, or to stay close to home and keep that familiarity feeling, you can make it happen. Here are the steps that will help make that dream a reality.

Freshman: Freshman, this is the fresh start that some of you have been waiting for. This is the first step to getting that diploma and starting the rest of your lives. Here is a checklist to see what you need to do to stay on track.

Community Service: You will thank yourself later; colleges look for people are active in their communities, so start now to get ahead of the crowd.
Keep your grades up: This year maybe your first year in high school, but in many ways its the most important year. If you get good grades from the get go you won’t have to worry later on.
Start thinking about something you want to do when you grow up: If you start thinking about your dream career now you will have an advantage because that will open up doors and opportunities to start looking for.
Start to prepare a college resume for yourself: include accomplishments, rewards, and recognitions.

Sophomore: Sophomores, you have officially surpassed the freshman year and now you are one step closer to getting that diploma. Here are some things that will let you know if you’re still on the path to success.

Start attending college and career informational events: If you have no idea where you want to go or even what you want to do, then this step is for you. These informational events will help make your choice a little bit clearer, so when you go to these events at the end rate it from 1-10 on how well you liked it.
Start researching funding for school: This is the best year to start looking into how much school is going to cost. Another thing that you should be aware of, are scholarships, grants, and loans.
Mentoring: Now lets say you already know what you want to do, start looking for mentors that are apart of the field, you plan on pursuing one day. This will help you begin to understand the process of the job.
PSAT practice test: The PSAT is an optional test for sophomores, but highly recommended, to prepare for Junior year, where scholarship money is included to the highest scores.

Junior: Well Juniors you are literally more than halfway to that cap and gown, YAY. But you’re not quite there yet, so don’t start slacking because you still have more than a year left to continue to prove to your dream school that you are worthy of attending.

Take the PSAT: This test qualifies you for the National Merit scholarships and programs, and is highly recommended to take for scholarship opportunities.
Attend college fairs: This step will bring clarity to the questions you may have for a college or many colleges.
Explore Careers: Lets face it in about a year in a half you will literally be living on your own and finally starting your life. So it’s best for you to be looking, if you don’t already know, for the career that you plan on having for a very long time. My advice to you, is to try to find something that you like, or else you will be very miserable.
Take the ACT/SAT(East Coast Schools Only): Take the ACT in the fall/winter so that if you don’t do so well you can always have time to study, to take it again in the spring.
Research ways to pay for college: Now we all know that college is extremely expensive and that scholarships can only get you so far, so look up ways to save money so that in the end you can say, “yes I’m paying my way through school”.
Start looking into scholarships: This is where the money is people, so look into it, see what you qualify for, and pay attention to deadlines.
Contact Colleges: Contact the colleges that you are interested in, to get more information on them, for example, what you need to even get into the college.
DON’T GIVE UP: This is the year that grades are most important because, these are probably going to be the last grades that the college will see, so “Go big or Go home”.

Senior: Well you made it, you literally are less than 6 months away from saying goodbye to high school forever.

Narrow down colleges: Narrow down your top 3 colleges.
Start college visits: Well lets say you have narrowed down your colleges to your top 3, this is the step, that should put everything into perspective.
Enter FAFSA: This will help big time, this helps find out how much financial support you will receive.

College Applications: Get these filled out, and pay attention to deadlines. This is how you will have any chance of getting in.
Scholarships: Look, look, look, these things give money. Pay attention to deadlines.
Request transcripts and letters of recommendation: With letters of recommendation, this will help the colleges help understand what kind of student you are. The transcripts will be the grades you worked so hard to get.
Meet with counselor: Your counselor will help make sure you have all the credits you need to graduate.
Register for Federal Aid Pin: This will also help with financial need.

College Acceptance: Keep you eyes open for those acceptance letters.
Make your final decision: This is it, this is the time to make that decision that will change your life forever. So choose wisely.
Be happy with your choice Whatever you choose, choose it because YOU want it, not anybody else.

Well this is the checklist that will make that dream of starting your life on a good note possible. My final words to you, are not to be afraid, and to NEVER give up just because your dream is to far away and too big to tackle, life has this crazy way of always having everything work out in the end.