College Planning: Where to Begin

March 22nd, 2013 @   -  No Comments

If you are a high school student, sometimes the process of preparing for college can seem overwhelming. You’ve got to keep your grades up. There are extra-curricular activities to focus on. You must prepare for standardized tests like the SAT. Not to mention all of the decisions that must be made when it comes to actually applying to colleges.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to simplify things. And one of the best ways to simplify is to just… make a list. Identify your priorities and get to work. To that end, a recent article in South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel offers three helpful places to begin preparing for the college application process:

Begin the search. Students and their parents should compile a list of colleges in which they might be interested. The College Board’s, which houses data on thousands of colleges as well as financial aid options and other important information, is a good place to start.

Decide when to take the SAT. There are three opportunities to take the SAT this spring: March 9, May 4 and June 1. Many students choose to take the SAT during their junior year, so they have the opportunity to get their applications in earlier as seniors. Students who think that the SAT and college applications are beyond their reach financially should talk to their guidance counselor about applying for an SAT Fee Waiver, which covers the cost of two SAT administrations, two SAT Subject Test administrations, extra score sends and college application fees at participating colleges.

Create a study plan. There is no shortcut to performing well on the SAT. Students who perform best on the exam are those who take rigorous courses and complete a core curriculum in school. But there is value in becoming familiar with question format and practicing. The College Board provides free and low-cost resources on the SAT website, including practice questions, detailed answer explanations, a full-length exam, SAT Online Course and the Official SAT Study Guide. Students will also find recommendations on test strategy, personalized study plans and tips for test day.

Of course, there’s much more to it than that—but these steps are a good starting point for a high school student. If you’d like to learn more, or if you’d like some help preparing your own plan for choosing (and paying for) your college, please get in touch with us today!

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