College Preparation Checklist
Take challenging classes in core academic subjects
Start thinking about what you want to do
Ask your guidance counselor or teachers what AP courses are available, whether you are eligible, and how to enroll in them
Get involved in school- or community-based activities that interest you or let you explore career interests
Start a list of your awards, honors, paid and volunteer work, and extracurricular activities
Talk with one of your parents about finances and saving for college
Look into summer opportunities: volunteering, classes, or camps (anything aside from just sitting all day!)
Consider taking a practice Preliminary SAT (PSAT) or PLAN exam.
Think about what classes you enjoy and what careers could stem from that field of study.
Ask your guidance counselor or teachers what AP courses are available, whether you are eligible, and how to enroll in them.
Update your list of your awards, honors, paid and volunteer work, and extracurricular
Meet with your school counselor or mentor to discuss colleges and their requirements.
Plan to use your summer wisely: Work, volunteer, or take a summer course (away or at a local college).
Take the PSAT. You must take the test in 11th grade to qualify for scholarships and programs associated with the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Start working on your official resume’- use list of awards and activities
Begin thinking about which teachers you have connected with the most and could write a letter for you
Register for and take exams for college admission. The standardized tests that many colleges require are the SAT, the SAT Subject Tests, and the ACT. Check with the colleges you are interested in to see what tests they require.
Use the U.S. Department of Labor’s scholarship search to find scholarships for which you might want to apply. Some deadlines fall as early as the summer between 11th and 12th grades, so prepare now to submit applications soon.
SUMMER BEFORE 12 TH GRADE:
Narrow down the list of colleges you are considering attending. If you can, visit the schools that interest you.
Contact colleges to request information and applications for admission. Ask about financial aid, admission requirements, and deadlines.
Decide whether you are going to apply under a particular college’s early decision or early action program. Be sure to learn about the program deadlines and requirements.
Use the FAFSA4caster financial aid estimator, and compare the results to the actual costs at the colleges to which you will apply. To supplement any aid FAFSA4caster estimates you might receive, be sure to apply for scholarships. Your goal is to minimize the amount of loan funds you borrow.
Meet with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements.
If possible plan visit schools you are interested in, environment is very important
If you haven’t done so already, register for and take the standardized tests (SAT/ACT) required for college admission. Check with the colleges you are interested in to see what tests they require.
Apply to the colleges you have chosen. Prepare your applications carefully. Follow the
instructions, and PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DEADLINES!
Well before your application deadlines, ask your counselor and teachers to submit required documents (e.g., transcript, letters of recommendation) to the colleges to which you’re applying.
As soon as possible after Oct. 1, complete and submit your Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA), along with any other financial aid applications your school(s) of choice may require.
Complete any last scholarship applications.
Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll.
Review your college acceptances and compare the colleges’ financial aid offers.
Contact a school’s financial aid office if you have questions about the aid that school has offered you.
Work hard all year—second-semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility.
When you decide which school you want to attend, notify that school of your commitment and submit any required financial deposit. Many schools require this notification and deposit by May 1.
Mentoring and College Prep Programs
*For programs that require tuition, we recommend that students apply for financial aid/fellowships to cover the cost.
Description: Minds Matter’s mission is to transform the lives of high achieving high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success. At Minds Matter we believe that no student dedicated to earning a college education should be hindered by his or her socioeconomic status. We equip highly-motivated, low-income students with the tools & resources needed to gain admission & graduate from four-year colleges. High school students are admitted as sophomores and spend three years in the program, receiving:
- Free, 1.5 hour ACT prep course from our professional partners (The Princeton Review)
- Weekly 2 hour mentorship from two dedicated young professionals
- Paid tuition for college summer programs at leading universities
- 3-year writing, public speaking, and professional development program
- Expert guidance from our affiliate college preparatory partners
- Full support in the college application process
Maintain a strong overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher
Are committed to pursuing a college education
Are in the Class of 2019 or Class of 2020 (majority of spots are open for Class of 2020)
Qualify for free or reduced lunch under federal guidelines
Demonstrate strong academic potential, motivation, maturity, and responsibility
Are active in extracurricular and/or community activities (part-time jobs included)
Description: A national college success nonprofit, SUMMER SEARCH helps low-income students develop the skills they need to become college-educated leaders who give back to their families and communities. Our program aims to strengthen non-cognitive skills that are critical to success in school and in life. We partner with high schools to identify sophomores to enroll in Summer Search’s long-term program, which runs through college graduation (7-9 years total).
- Be a sophomore in high school.
- Attend a partner high school or be affiliated with a partner community-based organization.
- Qualify to receive free or reduced lunch according to federal guidelines, shown in the table below.
- On their 9th grade transcript, candidate must have no more than two Fs as final grades in the following classes: English, Science, Math, Social Science, and Foreign language.
- In addition, for NYC applicants only, students must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident.
E^3 Mentoring Program for women in STEM
Description: Our mission is to build awareness about the lack of minority women in STEM fields, eliminate barriers of opportunities, foster learning and academic success, and cultivate leadership by bringing together the top leaders of today with the striving leaders of tomorrow.
E^3: Empowering, Encouraging, Eliminating Barriers is a one-on-one mentoring group for motivated, underprivileged, and/or disadvantaged female students in grades 9-12. We are a student run organization consisting of college mentors and high school mentees. There are weekly meetings on Saturdays every month from February to the end of April (time and place to be determined).
Student Success Jobs Program (SSJP) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Description: The Student Success Jobs Program (SSJP) is a year-round internship program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital designed to introduce 100 Boston high school students to medical, health, and science professions. Students are matched with health care professionals who provide mentoring and serve as role models.
Grades: 10 and 11
- Eligible to work in the United States
- Interested in math, science, and/or health
- Willing to learn
- Committed to participating in all aspects of the program
- Able to work 7-10 hours a week after school
- A student at one of the 8 partnering BPS schools below:
- Boston Latin Academy
- Community Academy of Health and Science
- Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers
- Fenway High School
- John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science
- Madison Park Technical and Vocational High School
- New Mission High School
- Urban Science Academy
Questbridge College Prep Scholars Program
Description: The QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program gives outstanding low-income high school juniors an early advantage in college admissions. College Prep Scholars are uniquely prepared to gain admission and full scholarships to top-tier colleges through QuestBridge. The majority are also selected as Finalists for the National College Match. Being selected as a College Prep Scholar is a notable distinction that celebrates your achievements and gives you an early start in applying to college.
All College Prep Scholars will receive:
- An invitation to a QuestBridge National College Admissions Conference: Learn from admissions officers at top colleges
- The distinction of being a College Prep Scholar: Our college partners are among the nation’s best institutions, and they all identify College Prep Scholars as outstanding potential candidates to highly selective colleges
- A head start on applying to college: Use your College Prep Scholars Program application to apply to top colleges through the National College Match in your senior year
Eligibility: Any high school junior, regardless of citizenship, currently attending high school in the U.S. is eligible for the College Prep Scholars Program. Additionally, U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents living abroad are eligible for the program. International students living outside the U.S. are not eligible.
Harvard Pre-College Program
Description: Join other intellectually curious high school students on campus at Harvard, where you can explore topics as wide ranging as American law, philosophy, computer programming and public speaking. During your two weeks at Harvard, you attend class for three hours a day and participate in college readiness workshops or team-building events. In the evenings, you eat in the dining hall, finish homework in your dorm and attend social activities.
Grades: 9 and 10
- Will graduate in 2019 or 2020
- Are at least 15 years old by December 1, 2017, and will not turn 19 years old before July 31, 2018
Cost: The application fee is $50 and nonrefundable. The 2017 fee for the Harvard Pre-College Program session was $4,500. We will post 2018 fees this fall.
The Pre-College Program cost includes:
- Course tuition
- Housing and all meals
- Co-curricular activities—transportation, and most entrance fees
Financial aid: A limited number of scholarships are available to Harvard Pre-College Program students who demonstrate financial need.
Upward Bound at Boston University
Description: Students participate in a College and Career Day where they hear from several professionals and participate in a college fair. Rising seniors also have an opportunity to do a paid internship during their final UB summer program. Students participate in both the school year and summer components upon entry to the program until high school graduation.
Eligibility: In order to be eligible to participate in the Upward Bound program, students must meet all of the following criteria:
- Meet low-income guidelines or be a potentially first generation college student (neither parent has a bachelors degree)
- Attend a target high school (Community Academy of Science and Health, Brighton, English and Snowden) or live in a target neighborhood (Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan and Roxbury)
The Posse Foundation
Description: The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The Foundation extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. The Foundation’s partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships.
- Be nominated by their high school or a community-based organization.
- Be in the first term of their senior year in high school.Depending on the Posse city, nominations are often taken between the spring and early August before the new school year begins.
- Demonstrate leadership within their high school, community or family.
- Demonstrate academic potential.
Summer University at Johns Hopkins
Description: The Johns Hopkins Summer University Program offers qualified high school students the opportunity to take freshman- and sophomore-level credit classes in arts and sciences and engineering. The program lasts 5 weeks and residential students must be full-time students and enroll in two classes, for up to seven credits.
- You must be at least 16 years old by June 30, 2017
- Have completed your sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school
- Have achieved at least a 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale)
- How to Apply To College
- All about college planning and federal aid
- College Board Planning site
- College Fit Search
- Federal Aid Application
- Federal Aid Estimator
- Massachusetts Office of Student Financial Aid
- Scholarship search tool