How to Play the High School Game:
A Timetable for College-Bound Students
Before high school:
· Map out a high school course plan, concentrating on English, math, science, and social studies.
· Complete Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) during SCMS grade eight.
· Plan activities that will demonstrate leadership skills.
· Plan community service work to bolster credentials and “give back” to your community.
· Update high school course plan. (A Template is available in the guidance office and is also available on the guidance page of SCHS website.)
· Become familiar with “Pre-College Curriculum” to ensure that you choose the appropriate courses each year. (see SCHS Student Handbook—also available on SCHS website)
· A foreign language is not required to graduate from Spencer County High School; however, you will need two years of a language if you plan to attend a 4-year college or university.
· Strive for A’s in all of your classes. You earn scholarship money for your grades—KEES (Kentucky Excellence in Education Scholarship). Visit www.KHEAA for more information.
· Learn what a transcript is and how credits work in high school.
· Create and revise a list of school and outside activities, awards, recognitions. (I call this a “Brag Sheet.” Update this list each year of high school.)
· Create a folder to compile the handouts you will receive from Mrs. Gray and G/T Staff.
· The G/T staff, along with the counselors, set up a table in the cafeteria each Friday with information regarding scholarships, college information, summer enrichment programs, etc. Get into the habit of checking them out each Friday while you eat lunch.
· Get to know your counselor and other administrators in the building. It’s never too early to start networking.
· Read “An Instruction Booklet for the Parents of College Bound Students” or “An Instruction Booklet for College Bound Students” ($3.00 Woodburn Press, Ltd. PO Box 153, Dayton, OH 45419).
· Visit www.kheaa.com and review their resources for college planning, scholarships, and financial aid.
· Visit www.fastweb.com and set up a profile. This is a scholarship search engine.
· Plan to attend the UPS College & Career Expo at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville on Sunday, October 14.
· Plan to attend the Spencer County High School College and Career Fair on September 10th from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Parents are welcome to attend—please sign in at the main office for a visitor pass.
· Become familiar with the Governor’s Scholars Program via http://gsp.ky.gov. This will help you develop your 4-year high school course plan.
· Tour a nearby college, if possible. Visit relatives or friends who live on or near a college campus. Check out the dorms, go to the library or student center, and get a feel for college life.
· Investigate summer enrichment programs.
· Expect to see a letter from KHEAA in the summer, regarding the KEES money you earned for grades achieved during the freshman year.
· Take rigorous classes. Keep your grades up so you can have the highest GPA and class rank possible.
· Colleges aren’t looking just for good grades. Get involved in clubs and extra-curricular activities as well as community service projects. Work toward leadership positions in activities that you enjoy.
· Revisit and revise your “Brag Sheet” throughout the year.
· Complete your ILP (Individual Learning Plan) online at http://careercruising.com. Continue to explore interests and careers of interest.
· Investigate summer enrichment programs like PEPP. (See your science teacher or guidance counselor) PEPP is for students who are interested in careers in the medical field.
· READ, READ, READ! Ask a librarian or English teacher for a comprehensive reading list.
· Work on your writing skills—you’ll need them no matter what you do.
· Begin zeroing in on the type of college you would prefer (two-year, four-year, small or large, rural or urban, private or public).
· Visit a few more colleges.
· If you are interested in attending a military academy, such as West Point or Annapolis, now is the time to start planning and getting information.
· Consider taking SAT II Subject Tests in the courses you took this year while the material is still fresh in your mind. These tests are offered in May and June. For more information, go to www.collegeboard.com. If you plan to attend college out of state, the SAT and/or SAT II Subject Tests may be required. They are not required in most Kentucky Colleges and Universities.
· Start taking practice ACT exams at www.ACT.org. Most colleges in Kentucky require an ACT score of 20 and above. The highest score you can earn on the ACT is 36.
· See counselor or G/T advocate and continue researching colleges/universities using books and materials from guidance counselor, G/T advocate, libraries and/or the internet. (www.gohigherky.org, www.ncaaclearinghouse.net, www.careersandcolleges.com, http://publicschools.spencercounty.ky.gov/sch/schs/)
· Plan to attend the Spencer County College and Career Fair on September 6th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
· Treat your college selection process like a research paper: Make a file and gather information about college application procedures, entrance requirements, tuition and fees, room and board costs, student activities, course offerings, faculty composition, accreditation, and financial aid.
· Prepare to take the PLAN (preliminary ACT test). This test is provided at NO COST to sophomore students at SCHS. Visit www.act.org for practice tests.
October – November
· You may wish to take the PSAT/NMSQT, the preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test and the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in October. Experts recommend taking it twice--once for practice as a sophomore and again in the junior year, when the score counts. (Preparation courses and computer programs are available at bookstores and online at www.collegboard.com). The 2011 test date is Wednesday, October 12 at 8:00 a.m. Register in the guidance office. The deadline and cost will be announced.
· Plan to attend the UPS College & Career Expo at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville on Sunday, October 9.
· PSAT scores should be in. Counselors and G/T staff will help interpret the scores.
· Consider looking for college and university summer programs for high schools students. The G/T advocate is a local resource.
· Revisit your Academic Planner and talk to the counselor, G/T advocate, or AP teacher about taking Advanced Placement (AP) or dual credit courses during junior year.
· Pre-register for junior year classes. Remember to choose challenging courses.
· Study for final exams!!!!
· Look for your KEES letter from KHEAA to come in the mail.
· READ, READ, READ
· Update your “Bragg Sheet.”
· Stay involved in extracurricular activities and community service.
· Strive to get A’s---study, study, study! A tougher course load may pay off with scholarships and may give you a better chance of being admitted to the college of your choice.
· Check your GPA. Even if your grades haven’t been that good so far, it’s never too late to improve. Colleges like to see an upward trend.
· Take a long hard look at why you want to continue your education after high school so you will be able to choose the best college or university for your needs. Don’t forget to explore trade and technical schools.
· Update your ILP @ http://careercruising.com/ilp.
· Use www.act.org practice tests to study for the ACT.
· Update your list of colleges that meet your most important criteria (size, location, distance from home, majors, academic rigor, housing, and cost). Weigh each of the factors according to their importance to you.
· Continue visiting college fairs. Speak to college representatives who visit our high school for cafeteria visits.
· If you want to participate in Division I or Division II sports in college, start the certification process. Check with your coach/Athletic Director or go to www.web1.ncaa.org for more information.
· If you haven’t already done so, become familiar with the Governor’s Scholars Program via http://gsp.ky.gov. Watch for application deadlines!!!
· Be sure to ask your guidance Counselor or G/T staff about test dates for the PSAT, ACT and SAT. You’ll need to register up to six weeks in advance. Registration information, dates, and deadlines are available at the following websites:
o ACT: www.act.org
o SAT: www.collegeboard.com
· Continue to work on your college exploration research.
· Begin planning college visits. SCHS fall, winter, and spring breaks are good times to use; however, you may receive one excused absence per year for a college visit. Avoid college visits when the college is on break.
· If taking an AP course, you will be asked to make a decision regarding whether you plan to take the AP exam in May. Only those who take the exam will be given AP credit on their transcript.
· Plan to attend the Spencer County High School College and Career Fair in September. Parents are welcome to attend—please sign in at the main office for a visitor pass.
· Take the PSAT on October 20th. You will get the results by Christmas.
· Applications for the Governor’s Scholars Program are available in the guidance office and/or at the “Friday Table” in the Cafeteria.
· Plan to attend the UPS College & Career Expo on October 14th at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.
· Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) applications usually become available by mid-to-late November.
· Begin the application process if interested in the service academies (West Point, Annapolis, etc.)
· The deadline for submitting GSP applications to the guidance office is usually right before Christmas Break.
February - March
· Update your Academic Planner and pre-register for senior classes.
· Take the ACT in March--all juniors will be required to take the ACT at SCHS at NO COST.
· Consider lining up a summer job, internship, or co-op
· Read the 2011/12 Guide to Higher Education for Seniors in Kentucky. This resource is developed by KHEAA and is available at www.kheaa.com.
· Review for AP exams and final exams.
· Create a resume on your ILP.
Take rigorous classes; strive for A’s. Colleges expect you to have a competitive schedule. Your senior year is not a good time to slack off. Avoid senioritis at all costs!!!!
· Participate in clubs and extra-curricular activities as well as community service projects. Demonstrate initiative, creativity, commitment, and leadership in each.
· Revisit and revise your “Brag Sheet” throughout the year.
· Complete your ILP (Individual Learning Plan) online at http://careercruising.com. Be sure to update your resume.
· Plan ahead. Keep a calendar just for college and scholarship application deadlines.
· Keep visiting prospective colleges.
· Prepare admission essays if the colleges you are interested in require one.
· Print extra copies or make photocopies of every application you send
· Start thinking of teachers, employers, counselors, etc. whom you would like to use for recommendation letters. Allow those writing a recommendation at least a two-week notice and provide a copy of your “Brag Sheet” as well as pertinent information (such as To whom does the letter go? To what address should the letter be sent? Are there specific criteria that should be addressed in the letter of recommendation?) All letters of recommendation should be sealed in an envelope with the signature of the one making the recommendation across the back flap. Best practice: provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope so your teachers can send the recommendations directly to the colleges. Talk to your recommendation writers about your goals and ambitions.
· Transcripts: Requests for transcripts to be mailed to colleges must be made through the registrar, Mrs. Hayden. Please allow 2 to 3 days minimum for processing.
· When you receive notice of receiving a scholarship or an acceptance letter from a college, be sure to bring a copy to the guidance office.
· If you are a male, make sure to register with the selective service. Federal aid can be withheld if you are not registered. (You can register online at www.sss.gov )
· Did your March ACT scores meet the requirements of the college you are interested in? If not, register at www.act.org to retake the exam.
· Double-check that your courses meet graduation requirements.
· Check out any college nights or conferences you can get information on. The UPS College & Career Expo is October 9th at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville.
· Plan to attend the Spencer County High School College and Career Fair on September 6th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
· Start filling out your college applications.
· Keep looking for scholarships via search engines like Fastweb.com and pay attention to scholarship announcements that are advertised by your counselor.
· Check for scholarship opportunities offered at the college of your choice. Check to see if the scholarship application is separate from the admissions application.
· Make sure you know whether the college you are applying to requires letters of recommendation and/or an essay. Then get busy and plan ahead to give everyone plenty of time to write good letters and to give yourself plenty of time to write an outstanding essay.
· Keep up your grades! Don’t slack off!
· Download a FAFSA (free application for student aid) worksheet from www.fafsa.ed.gov. You may submit this application any time after January 1st of your senior year. Most colleges will not finalize your admissions placement until the FAFSA has been submitted.
· Keep working on your essay and check on your letters of recommendation.
· Good luck on semester finals!
· Check deadlines—some colleges have December as their application deadline.
· If you plan to apply for an ROTC scholarship, remember that your application is due by December 1.
· Most college application deadlines are in these two months. Don’t miss out!
· January is Financial Aid Awareness Month! Pay attention to your counselor announcements and emails. We usually host a financial aid workshop in January. Be sure to attend!
· March 15 is the priority deadline in Kentucky to file the FAFSA.
· Are you taking any AP classes? Start getting ready for finals.
· College Award Letters are usually sent out in April. If you’ve been accepted to more than one college, compare the award letters carefully and choose the one that best fits your needs and goals. There are good comparison tools to use at www.kheaa.com and in your guidance office.
· Request that your final transcript be sent to the college you will be attending.
· Notify the colleges you have decided not to attend. This will enable the college to offer any aid you turned down to another student.
· Study for final exams and AP exams!!!!
· Send thank you notes to those who have helped you along the way.
You are about to begin one of the greatest adventures of your life.