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How to Prepare for College in 12th Grade

How to Prepare for College in 12th Grade

Your senior year of high school is the perfect time to prep for your next four years at a college or university. So there's a lot to do to prepare! Here's how to start getting ready.

1. At the beginning of your senior year, ask to see a copy of your high school transcripts. You want to see what will be sent out to colleges, so there are no surprises.

2. Update your resume, if you need to.

3. Attend college fairs to learn about any other colleges that may be a good match for you.

4. Sign up for any additional SATs or ACTs you might need to take or retake. Make sure your scores are sent to the colleges you are applying to when you register for the test. You also should want the highest scores for merit, academic and organizational scholarships. 

5. There are more scholarships available to you this year than ever before. Fill out as many applications as possible.

6. Start working on your college applications. If the schools have rolling admissions policies, the applications may come online as early as July or August.

7. Have a teacher, parent or mentor take a look at your college application essays. Your essay needs to answer the question asked in the prompt. Make your essay about you.

8. Once you send your applications, be proactive!  Check your status online or by email with the school. Do not assume that you aren’t missing any data. Schools misplace checks, transcripts and applications all the time.

9. If you haven’t yet, visit the schools.

10. Send your transcripts to the colleges. A transcript has all your high school information like credits, grades, honors classes and your GPA.

11. Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your college plans to make sure you’re on the right track.

12. Have your parents fill out the FAFSA Form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at fafsa.gov. Starting in 2016, the FAFSA opens October 1 so get started early. You won’t receive your financial aid package from colleges until you have been accepted to the school and FAFSA has been completed.  

13. Don’t let senioritis get in your way! Keep in mind that senior year grades are very important. A college can rescind your offer if you don't perform as expected senior year.

14. If you have been deferred by a school, find out why. If it's because of your test scores, you may still have time to retake the tests. If it's because of your GPA, send the schools an updated copy of your transcript if you retook any classes. 

15. Once you are admitted to a school, send in your housing application for priority housing.

16. If you'll be living off campus, make your housing arrangements. The housing department at the school is a good source of information if you need help figuring out where to live off campus.

17. At the end of your senior year of high school, make sure you have your final transcript sent to the school you are attending.

18. Submit your deposit. Many schools require this to be done by May 1. 

Barbara DiAlberto has been a College Advisor and Consultant for 18 years, both in the school system and privately. She has helped thousands of students get into college. As the Territory Manager for The Princeton Review, Mrs. DiAlberto is still helping students get into college.

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