Detailed Freshman College Planning Timeline
- BEGIN A JOURNAL TO CHRONICLE YOUR 9TH-12TH GRADE YEARS. Start this year to record all of your extra-curricular activities, honors, and awards in a journal! Begin this list with items from the summer preceding your 9th grade year. Update this list consistently throughout the school years and your summers. You will reference this journal for future applications.
Be specific about your participation: hours per day, days per week, and weeks per year
Record your responsibilities for each activity. Use active verbs like “attend,” “help,” “prepare,” etc. (these may be placed in past tense for past activities)
Reflect: What did you learn? How did it affect you? Is there a future field of interest you would like to pursue related to this activity?
- START A COLLEGE FILE. Set up an accordion filer, binder with dividers, or a filer box where you can begin collecting college-related materials. In one section of this file consider keeping the work you are most proud of (1-3 pieces a year) for 9th-12th grades. Also collect report cards (with teacher comments) and any printed recognitions you have received. Collect information about opportunities, careers, and colleges that interest you. Here is an idea of the kind of categories you can create:
- “High School Career”
- Career Interests
- Pre-College / College Preparatory Summer Programs
- College / Univ. Info
- Financial Aid Info
- Scholarship Opportunities
- Other Opportunities (Volunteer / Research etc.)
- SET UP A PROFESSIONAL EMAIL. Create a professional email account specific for college-related emails only. Consider utilizing the email account’s filing feature to organize emails you would want to reference later. Also share this email address with your College Counselor so she can send you important information and opportunities.
Fall / Winter:
- DO WELL IN YOUR CLASSES. This is the first year of grades that will be recorded on your high school transcript which will be sent to colleges. Furthermore, this is the first year you begin to build a reputation with your future letter-of-recommendation-writers (your 9th-12th grade teachers).
- GET & STAY INVOLVED. Maintain any extracurriculars you already have and love and continue to grow in them. Additionally, explore other extra-curricular activities that pique or match your interests. Colleges will be looking for your ability to stay committed. Strive to stay involved with at least 2 extracurriculars total through your remaining “high school career”.
- CONTINUE TO TRY NEW THINGS. New things may be volunteer, research, or work opportunities, internships, clubs, sports, contests, and other school or non-school sponsored programs. Meanwhile, self-reflect how these activities may inform your future career interest. Visit the HLS Extracurriculars and Other Opportunities pages under the College Counseling Menu on HLS College Counseling’s home page.
Spring / Summer:
- START LEARNING ABOUT COLLEGES. Develop your awareness and understanding of post-secondary study options by attending College Admission Counselor visits and College Fairs (virtual and / or in-person). Likewise, visit the websites of various colleges or universities. Read emails from the HLS Office of College Counseling. Continue to explore the College Counseling Menu on HLS College Counseling’s home page.
- CONTINUE UPDATING YOUR JOURNAL: Add any new extra-curricular activities. Notwithstanding any family responsibilities, work, volunteer experiences, House projects or events, in addition to any new awards and honors you’ve received.
- MAKE YOUR SUMMER COUNT. The summer time is a great time for you to pursue or develop a specific interest. Visit the Volunteer, Research, & Other Opportunities for Upper School Students, the Pre-College Summer Programs & Courses for Upper School Students, and HLS Extracurriculars pages under the College Counseling Menu on HLS College Counseling’s home page. Fill your summer with activities like:
- taking a summer course at a local college
- participating in a summer program or camp (research / internship / volunteer programs or pre-college programs)
- acquiring a new hobby, skill, or interest and striving to grow proficient in it