Graduating seniors are nearing the finish line of college planning. Though it may seem like the hard work is finished, it's no time to give in to "senioritis."
More and more colleges and universities are carefully monitoring grades and extracurricular involvement throughout senior year. Keep up on schoolwork and extracurricular leadership roles.
Decisions still need to be made. Financial aid offers will arrive soon, if they haven't already, and this may impact attendance decisions. Review offers--and all of the other decision-making factors--when choosing a school. It is possible to appeal a financial aid package, but often the first offer will be the best one.
Start thinking about how to spend your summer after graduation. Would a job provide more perspective on a future career? Is volunteering a wise use of time? How about getting a head start on your freshman year by taking courses at a local college that will transfer to your institution of choice? Now is a good time to decide how you'll spend your time between graduation and the fall term.
Checklists for high school juniors and seniors
The school year may be coming to a close, but there's still college planning work to do! Keep the following in mind:
For juniors:List, compare and visit colleges
Take the ACT test
Prepare a target list of college campus visits
Prepare questions for each visit
Compare college costs
Visit ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,la9u,36qx,a96a,h1i7 ) www.actstudent.org/college/11.html for more college planning resources
If not already done, complete the FAFSA right away and submit it for financial aid consideration
Watch for the Student Aid Report (SAR), which should arrive in your mail about four weeks after the FAFSA is filed
Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll
Track important financial aid and scholarship deadlines, submitting forms as needed
Compare financial aid packages offered by different schools
Decide which school to attend and notify the school
Track and observe deadlines for submitting all required fees and paperwork to the school
Notify the schools you will not be attending of your decision
Read, sign and send in the promissory note if borrowing money
Notify the college you will be attending of any outside scholarships you receive
Have your counselor send your final transcript in May or June to the college you will be attending
Choosing a career is a big decision, but you don't have to sweat it--planning for your future is not something you do once. It's a continuous process.
One way to start is by exploring your career options in the "world of work." Sign up for a student account and use the interactive World-of-Work Map which graphically shows how occupations relate to each other based on work tasks.
When you receive scores from one of ACT's assessments, you also receive a personalized report that suggests map regions and career areas on the World-of-Work Map for you to explore.
The World-of-Work Map covers all U.S. jobs. A career area's location is based on its primary work tasks--working with:
Data: Facts, numbers, files, and business procedures
Ideas: Knowledge, insights, theories, and new ways of saying or doing something
People: Care, services, leadership, and sales
Things: Machines, tools, living things, and materials such as food, wood, or metalMath and science required for fastest growing careers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, 15 of the 20 fastest growing careers of the next decade require math and science proficiency. Some of the fastest growing fields include network systems and data communications analysts, home healthcare providers, computer software engineers, medical assistants, veterinarians and financial analysts.
Though not all of these positions require four-year degrees, they do require strong abilities in math and science. ACT recommends students take a minimum of three years of math (Algebra I and higher--not including general math, business math or consumer math) and at least three years of natural sciences (Earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, etc.)
Look at your EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT scores for some guidance in career planning. Consult your school counselor for suggestions on classes to enhance your knowledge set. Visit ACT's World-of-Work Map at ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,2jz0,h0j8,a96a,h1i7 ) actstudent.org/wwm/to see careers that align with your skills and interests. Use this information to plan beyond high school and into a career.
ACT helps parents prepare for college, too
College planning can be difficult not only for the student, but for parents, too. For parents who need tips on sorting through the ins and outs of college planning, we offer ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,cks8,jd2h,a96a,h1i7 ) act.org/path/parent as an online guide to understanding this process. The website offers college and career planning checklists, frequently asked questions about the ACT, and other general information that parents may find helpful in assisting a student transitioning into college.
In addition to the various college and career planning resources, actparent.org also provides access to current and past issues of the monthly ACT Parent newsletter. ACT Parent provides timely information on financial aid, testing and more. While visiting the website, parents can sign up to be one of the first to receive the electronic newsletter in their e-mail inbox each month.
Parents are among the most influential people in a teenager's life. At
(http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,cks8,jd2h,a96a,h1i7 ) act.org/path/parent, gain the knowledge needed to become a mentor for your teen through this time of discovery and decisions.
ACT also offers a newsletter for Spanish-speaking parents. It's called Padres ACTivos and you'll find it at ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,6139,8x3m,a96a,h1i7 ) act.org/path/spanish/news.
ACT is on Twitter!
Follow us on Twitter for daily updates on upcoming registration deadlines, test taking tips and other helpful "tweets." Sign up and follow ACTStudent today at ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,1m3f,1dfw,a96a,h1i7 ) http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,5z8l,a6ly,a96a,h1i7
Test date reminder
The next national ACT test date is June 12, 2010. The registration deadline is May 7. Late registration is available May 8-21. Register online today at ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,5j2f,3fm4,a96a,h1i7 ) actstudent.org.
Online registration for the 2010-2011 test dates will be available beginning mid-July at ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,5j2f,3fm4,a96a,h1i7 ) actstudent.org.
An optional Writing Test is available in addition to the multiple-choice achievement test. Go to ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,9dmq,85d8,a96a,h1i7 ) actstudent.org/writing to find out about the Writing Test, including the colleges that require it.
What should I take to the test center?
Be sure you take these items to the test center:
Your test center ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,dg3m,jg71,a96a,h1i7 ) admission ticket.
( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,eo7l,dqde,a96a,h1i7 ) Acceptable identification. You will not be admitted to test without it. (Your admission ticket alone is not sufficient identification.)
Sharpened soft lead No. 2 pencils with good erasers (no mechanical pencils or ink pens). Do not bring highlight pens or any other kinds of writing instruments; you will not be allowed to use them. If you registered for the ACT Plus Writing, your essay must also be completed in pencil.
A watch to pace yourself. The supervisor in standard time rooms will announce when five minutes remain on each test.
A ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,7ucj,dha6,a96a,h1i7 ) permitted calculator, if you wish to use one on the Mathematics Test. Not all calculator models are permitted. If you use a prohibited calculator, such as the TI-89, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored.
Pack the night before and make sure everything is ready to go, especially your calculator, if you plan to use one. You don't want to forget anything or risk not being admitted to test.
Do not bring any of the following:
food or drink (including water)books, dictionaries, notes, scratch paper, or other aids
highlight pens, colored pens or pencils, or correction fluid/tape
any electronic device other than a permitted calculator (examples include timer, cell phone, media player, PDA, headphones, camera)
tobacco in any form
For additional information, see ( http://email.act.org/ct.html?rtr=on&s=x8pa2h,k2y,di,i86p,2hp3,a96a,h1i7 ) prohibited behavior at the test center.