Prepping for College: Start Early, Finish Strong

Posted: March 27, 2012 by silvervalleyub in College Info

Preparing for college doesn’t have to be a last minute scramble. Planning ahead, knowing options available to you, and doing a little work throughout high school can make getting to and succeeding in college easy. Remember, UB can help with EVERY step along the way!

As early as 8th grade, you can prepare for college by letting your counselor know you want to take courses in high school to prepare you for college. Join the SVUB Summer Institute: learn about what it takes to get into and succeed in college, meet new people, stay on college campus, & travel (2012 we will be going to Washington DC).

By 9th grade, you are pumped to start high school and get it over with! You know you have four whole years left until you are “done: with school, so why think about college now? Answer: Life starts when you are born, not when you decide to grow up. Taking tough classes to prepare you, developing study and work habits, volunteering and getting a job to learn more about what career you are (or aren’t)  interested in, and planning ahead will save you time and effort, as well as make you appear to be a responsible student worthy of scholarship funds and college admission.

  • Take interest and skills assessments to help you explore careers options.
  • Talk with Warren about career options and the education required for those careers.
  • Meet with your Warren to review your Academic Plan.
  • Talk with your parents about saving and paying for college.

By 10th grade, you are already bored with high school and looking for ways to break the monotony. Perfect time to get a job or volunteer somewhere. Join UB for college visits and summer program. Talk to anyone who is willing about what to do to get ahead. You may get tired of advice, but building your network of people and resources who can help you will only make your life easier and help you develop skills to do so all your life!

  • Talk with friends, teachers, counselors and your parents about college.
  • Create a Resource Network (take advice from, keep track of, and be nice to) of adults and peers who can help you. Be sure to share your accomplishments with them; they can provide references when applying for college or scholarship!
  • Take the PLAN to prepare for the ACT or PSAT to prepare for the SAT
  • Participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Meet with your Warren to review your Academic Plan.. Take the most difficult classes you can handle. Stay focused on your schoolwork.
  • Sign up for classes that will earn college credit during your junior year through dual-credit courses.
  • Explore internships and apprenticeships.
  • Attend SVUB Experience Summer Institute.

Sometime during 11th grade you will probably burn out. Its a tough year with lots of expectations for the future. If you have been planning since 9th grade, things are a little easier. If you haven’t, you have to figure out NOW how to prepare for college. Don’t stress. Learn as much as you can about preparing for college, which college you want to attend, financial aid, and available career options afterward. Now is the time, though, to focus on beefing up your transcript with good grades and tough classes and getting some good experience in a career field under your belt. Sign up and study for the SAT / ACT early and plan on taking it more than once (you can submit your highest score to your college).

  • Attend college and financial aid events.
  • Mentor others and have a mentor for yourself.
  • Take the PSAT in the fall to prepare for the SAT, and to identify areas where you need improvement.
  • Consider possible career options and investigate the type of education that is needed.
  • Request materials from schools that interest you and visit their websites.
  • Join UB for College Tours (usually in Spring and Fall)
  • Participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Request admissions and financial aid forms.
  • Sign up for classes that will earn college credit during your senior year through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual-credit.
  • Register for and take the ACT and/or SAT in the spring.
  • Meet with your Warren to review your Academic Plan. Take the most difficult classes you can handle. Stay focused on your schoolwork. Make sure you are meeting your high school graduation requirements.
  • Enroll in a summer enrichment program.
  • Get a job to earn and save money for college, or explore your skills through an internship or apprenticeship.
  • Research private scholarship options.

It’s 12th grade and the end is in sight! Make a goal of applying for at least 2 scholarships each month. Try to stay focused on the rigorous classes you are taking to finish your senior year strong! Apply to at least 3 colleges (Plans A, B, & C) NOW! Check out colleges of interest. Don’t feel pressured to decide on a major or career. Determine your interests and start there (the average college student changes majors 3 times). Finally, attend your college orientation in Spring to learn more and sign up for classes early. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice this year!

  • Stay focused on your schoolwork and take the most difficult classes you can handle. .
  • Determine the education necessary to get a job in your career field.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Volunteer in the community.

September – November

  • Arrange campus visits to those schools that interest you. It’s okay to go more than once.
  • Take or retake the ACT and/or SAT in the fall.
  • Meet with your Warren to review your Academic Plan.
  • Select the schools to which you will apply. Make a list of deadlines for each school.
  • Create a resume of your academic, athletic and work activities as well as other achievements. Prepare a portfolio if you’re interested in the arts.
  • Ask for recommendations (if required) from teachers, counselors and others (your Resource Network!) who can comment on your abilities and talents.

December – February

  • Apply to at least 3 that interest you. Some may have earlier or later deadlines. (UB will pay for your application fee! Make copies of each application.)
  • Attend a financial aid event if you haven’t already done so. Review a copy of Paying for College.
  • Apply for scholarships offered by the colleges to which you have applied.
  • Apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1. You and your parents will need the previous year’s income tax information to complete the it.
  • Review you Student Aid Report (SAR) for accuracy.

March – May

  • Apply for the Summer Bridge Scholarship Program
  • Have your final high school transcript sent to the colleges to which you’ve applied.
  • Choose a college and notify in writing those you don’t plan to attend.
  • Send in any required forms or deposits.


  • Attend Summer Bridge Program to earn up to 6 college credits before Fall, learn even more college success skills, and gain experience and $300 from an internship!
  • Review orientation materials from the college you selected.
  • If living on campus, check with the college for a list of what’s provided by the school and what the school expects the student to provide.
  • Contact your roommate.

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