Freshman and Sophomore College Planning
With the assistance of your school counselor, review your high school graduation requirements and develop a four-year academic plan. Colleges look for students who meet and exceed the requirements set by their high school.
High school course rigor is a key factor in college admissions. Are you choosing advanced courses, honors, or dual enrollment classes? Are you choosing electives that stretch your mind and help you develop new abilities? Colleges are more impressed with respectable grades in challenging courses than outstanding grades in easy courses.
Visit the Florida Shines website. This is a hub for college and career-related information and resources. You can learn about college requirements and the college application process for all Florida public and private colleges/universities. This site helps plan your post-secondary future. https://www.floridashines.org/
Big Future is a college research and planning tool offered by the College Board. It is a search engine and planning tool for colleges/universities throughout the U.S and the World. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/
Assemble a file of important documents. This should include awards and honors, school and community service, evidence of paid work, letters of recommendation, classroom products or projects of note, research, or any descriptions of what you have accomplished either at school or in the community. These will be a basis for your personal resume on the college application.
Become active and stay involved in clubs activities and sports you enjoy. It is important to pursue activities outside of the classroom since colleges look for more than academics. It is better to be more deeply involved in fewer activities than lightly involved in too many.
Learn what college resources are available by meeting with your school counselor and college/career advisor. Visit Florida Shines https://www.floridashines.org/ and Big Future https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org websites for timelines, resources, links and answers to questions related to the college planning process.
Begin your college search. Create a list of colleges and universities that interest you by exploring different types of schools. Decide which characteristics are most important to you such as the size of the school, distance from home, majors/ programming offered and extracurricular activities. Discuss the list with your parents/guardians and counselor.
Research the costs associated with attending college. Talk frankly about costs as a family and research resources that are available to help pay the cost. There are net price calculators that can help estimate costs for all colleges and a FAFSA estimator to help determine your financial aid eligibility.
Net Price Calculators: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/tools-calculators#
There are many other tools and websites that help to investigate financial aid eligibility and scholarship opportunities.
Florida Office of Student Financial Assistance: http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org
Florida Bright Futures: https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/SAPBFMAIN/SAPBFMAIN
Continue to participate in extracurricular activities, enrichment programs, workshops and research opportunities
Assemble a resume based on all activities both in and outside of school.
Explore the SAT and ACT, noting the differences between the two exams. Determine a schedule for testing during your Junior year and start preparing. If paying for the test is a financial hardship, ask your counselor about fee waivers. Use the free web-based study resources:
College Board/SAT website https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat
ACT website http://www.act.org/
Khan Academy SAT prep https://www.khanacademy.org/sat
Be sure to take challenging courses during your junior year.
Attend various Career and College Planning events and local College Nights and Financial Aid Workshops at your school and in the District.