Click Here for answers to help “Demystify the College Planning Process” from our expert panel.
Top 5 Smart Cookie Learning Tips for College Planning
1. Be proactive and become a savvy shopper.
Determine what you want your college experience to be and then decide which
college best suits your needs. We recommend that students visit college
campuses throughout their high school years. Start by visiting local campuses
to determine your ideal environment (big vs. small, urban vs. rural, etc.). Click
here for a list of useful websites to assist with your college search.
2. Maintain your GPA. If you are struggling and getting less than a B in any class, get help and keep semester grades up. Your high school transcript and GPA are the most critical part of your application. Private colleges will look at freshman grades, while UC and Cal State schools will focus more on sophomore and junior grades. Challenge
yourself and take the most demanding academic program you can effectively
3. Fulfill all standardized testing requirements. Almost every 4-year institution will require either an SAT or ACT score, and the more selective 4-year colleges will require as many as 3 SAT Subject Tests. Most students begin taking the SAT or ACT exams in the spring of their junior year and then, depending on their scores, may retake either exam the fall of their senior year to achieve their desired test score. We encourage
students to take a practice SAT or ACT exam before taking the actual exam. For
most students, this means taking a practice exam either the spring of their
sophomore year or the summer or fall of their junior year. We also provide
comprehensive and personalized test prep programs. Click here for details.
4. Know your application deadlines and make sure you are prepared to meet them. Early action/early decision applications are typically due on Nov. 1, while UC applications are due November 30. The regular admissions deadline for most private universities is Jan. 1. We highly recommend that students planning to apply to competitive 4-year colleges enter the fall of senior year having prepared the following:
-Solid drafts of their personal statements, which are a required part of the application for both the UCs and private colleges. Many colleges will also require supplemental essays.
-Materials and a personal resume that teachers and counselors can use to write letters of recommendation. Private colleges will often require 2-3 letters of recommendation.
5. Feed your mind over the summer. Keep your mind sharp by reading, writing, and filling in any knowledge gaps over the summer. Summer is an excellent time for enrichment. Click here for more about the importance of summer learning.