College Planning

Your best online college planning resource is Family Connection, which you can access through your Blackboard account.  Use this resource to explore and search for colleges, link to college websites, save your prospective college choices, explore majors and careers, compare your academic credentials with the GPA and SAT scores of admitted students at a particular college by viewing Scattergrams, register for college admissions office visits to the Career Center, and much more.

College Planning Timeline

Freshman Year                 

  • Get to know your school counselor
  • Aim for high grades; pay attention to your school work
  • Get involved with extra-curricular activities and volunteer service
  • Discuss your academic and career planning with your family
  • Make course selections that suit your academic abilities and interests
  • Start your activities list/resume

Sophomore Year  

  • Take the practice PSAT in October
  • Stay in touch with your counselor; develop relationships with your teachers
  • Start thinking and talking about your possible career interests
  • Continue your commitment to your classes, activities, and service
  • Start the college exploration process; visit some campuses if possible
  • Plan to take classes that are challenging but allow you to maintain a balance
  • Explore your interests, both during the school year and over the summer
  • Update your resume with new activities, honors, etc.

Junior Year

  • Register for and take the PSAT in October
  • Attend college fairs, information sessions, and open houses as appropriate
  • Participate in college visits to the Career Center in the fall
  • Continue your exploration of careers that might interest you
  • Continue your commitment to your classes, activities, and service
  • Continue developing relationships with your counselor and teachers
  • Talk with your family about college costs; attend Financial Aid Night
  • Take both the SAT and the ACT in the spring to see which suits you better
  • If you are taking AP classes, consider taking 1 or 2 SAT Subject Tests in May
  • Do your college research; visit colleges; narrow your list
  • Discuss your plans for classes and college with your counselor and your family
  • Make academic choices that challenge you but don’t overwhelm you
  • Attend the spring series of College Planning Workshops for juniors at MHS
  • Ask your teachers for recommendation letters
  • Keep your resume/activities list up to date

Rising Seniors (summer)

  • Plan for a meaningful summer job, internship, or volunteer activity
  • Complete your senior packet forms
  • Register (and prepare for) one last SAT or ACT to take in the fall
  • Prepare your final list of colleges you plan to apply to
  • Complete your college visits, if necessary
  • Check the websites of your colleges for deadlines and requirements
  • Get a jump on your college essays
  • Consider attending the Common App Workshops held at MHS in Aug/Sept

Senior Year

  • Return your senior packet materials to your counselor the first day of school
  • Complete your spreadsheet/list of colleges with deadlines and requirements
  • Remember that scholarship deadlines sometimes come first
  • Register (last chance) for any SAT/ACT/Subject test you still need to take
  • Continue to discuss/refine your academic and career plans
  • Follow up on your teacher recommendations
  • Submit your transcript request form to your school counselor
  • Keep your grades up—colleges can rescind offers if you slack off senor year
  • Work diligently (well before the deadline) on your applications
  • Be sure a trusted adult (teacher, counselor, etc.) proofreads your essays
  • Thank your teachers and counselor for their recommendation letters
  • Send your official SAT/ACT scores to your colleges
  • Submit your college applications well in advance of deadlines
  • Attend Financial Aid Night if appropriate; file the FAFSA in January
  • File the CSS Profile only if required by your colleges
  • If you are admitted Early Decision, withdraw your other applications
  • Review your acceptances and award packages in the spring
  • Make your final choice and deposit to that college by May 1
  • Complete your Senior Survey in May (where MHS will send your final transcript)
  • Enjoy Prom and Graduation!

Resources

  • Bigfuture - This is the College Board college planning tool
  • VA Wizard - Virginia Education Wizard college and career planning
  • NACAC - See the schedule of the national college fairs (including visual and performing arts fairs) sponsored by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling
  • CommonApp  - Complete your Common Application online at this site
  • NCAA  - To play Division I or II sports at the college level, you must register with the NCAA Clearinghouse and meet the minimum requirements for scholar/athletes
  • SCHEV - College planning resources from the Virginia State Department of Higher Education
  • Academic Common Market  - If your major is not offered at a Virginia public institution, you may be able to study at in-state tuition rates in another state

Resources for Students with Learning Disabilities

College Partnership

Virginia Community College System

Guaranteed transfer agreements between NOVA and four-year Virginia colleges/universities