Spring Checklist_Kuder

Spring is a busy time for all of us, and it can be especially tough for high school students to stay on track if they're preparing for college. But there’s no better time to create a brighter future than by following this spring must do’s for high school students. Even if you aren’t certain that college is for you, it’s still important to prepare for what’s next, whether that’s the military, vocational school, an apprenticeship, or another path. Now, check those important to do’s off your list before the relaxing summer heat is upon us.

Freshman Year

This year has been all about getting used to the high school curriculum and all that it entails, so think about your future as a high school student and what you need to accomplish academically to graduate and be accepted into a college.

  • Plan to take a few honors classes your sophomore year if you’re interested in the AP track, or check off those elective classes you won’t want to do as an upperclassman.

  • Find ways to get involved with your high school or community. Look for activities that interest you enough that you’ll want to stick with them throughout high school. Clubs, sports, part-time jobs or volunteering will help boost your academic resume or brag sheet for college admissions and job applications.

  • Don’t have a brag sheet? Get one started now. Record your accomplishments and achievements in a Google doc, electronic portfolio, or other place where you can easily access and update it.

  • Schedule to take the PSAT sophomore year to help you to prepare to take the ACT® or SAT®.

  • Although college may seem like it’s an eternity away, the next few years will go by quickly and it’s very important to start talking to your parents about the financial aspects of it. Whether you need to start saving individually, apply for student loans, or look into scholarships and grants, start researching, get organized, and be aware of what’s to come.

Sophomore Year

Think about the classes you’ll take next semester. Junior year is a very important and challenging year as a high schooler and you need to do all that you can to prepare to avoid unneeded and unwanted stress in the future.

  • If you took a few honors classes sophomore year, don’t be afraid to take on the challenge of an AP course or add more honors classes to your plate.

  • If possible, take courses that offer college credit and look into dual enrollment courses that may be available to high school students at a local community college. The more college credits you can earn before college, the better. Here’s why:  

    • Receiving college credits for free or at a reduced rate could save you on tuition dollars down the road.

    • The more you challenge yourself now, the better prepared you’ll be for the transition to college and career.

  • Plan for and schedule ACT or SAT prep classes that are offered by your school. You may even want to look in to going to a tutor that specializes in college entrance exam prep. Then sign up for a time to take the ACT or SAT next fall or winter.

  • Make a list of colleges you are interested in attending and schedule visits to go and tour their campus and understand all that they offer.

  • Start looking at scholarships and grants for which you may qualify.

Junior Year

This may not be your last year, but you sure are getting close to it. Make your senior year the best one yet by completing these crucial steps so you can achieve your goals.  

  • After visiting a few colleges and universities, schedule more you would like to see or revisit the ones you enjoyed to truly make the decision on where you want to go.

  • Review your ACT or SAT test scores and see what more you need to do. Whether you would like to retake one or both, sign up for more prep classes, or just prepare a little harder on your own, be thinking about when college applications are due and the score you will be writing down. Continue pushing and trying to earn the highest grades you can, and even challenge yourself by taking harder classes. 

  • Build your resume and truly distinguish yourself from other college applicants by interning, mentoring, or leading in some way. Start building stronger relationships with your teachers so that you can be in a strong position to receive glowing letters of recommendation for summer jobs and college applications.

  • If you haven't already done so, request letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, or adult mentors who know you well and can speak to your abilities and achievements. 

  • Apply for more scholarships. Even if they aren’t offering as much money as you might be hoping for, money is money and it all adds up!

Senior Year

The future is exciting, but it’s important to plan accordingly so your big dreams can become a reality.

  • Determine which colleges you would like to go to and apply immediately. Celebrate acceptances and don’t stress about colleges that don’t accept you, just continue making improvements to your grades, activities, and yourself overall.

  • When you’ve committed to a college, find a potential roommate and start planning all the furnishings and supplies you’ll need to purchase. Use a college packing checklist to help stay organized.

  • Apply for last-minute college scholarships and keep saving as much money as you can manage.

  • Since it’s your last year, don’t miss out on basketball games, school dances, and all those things that make high school, well, high school. Enjoy your last moments and cherish your time with friends.

What else do you need to do to catch up on your college planning this spring? Let us know!

  1. college and career readiness

About The Author

Grace Winders

Grace Winders is a School-to-Work intern at Kuder. Currently a senior at Waukee High School, she plans to attend the University of Iowa in the fall of 2018.

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