Although it is very important to start thinking about college right from the beginning of high school freshman year, the most crucial time to become focused and to explore all of the options is junior year of high school. Junior year grades are the last complete year that colleges evaluate to determine if the student meets their requirements for admission. Consistently maintaining good grades is necessary for colleges to consider a student. Of course, grades must continue to be satisfactory throughout senior year, or an acceptance can be revoked.
Some specific suggestions for career and college planning throughout the entire junior year are the following:
Search for colleges. Research some college choices through websites or printed guides. Attend college fairs and do college visits. Try to get a feel for which colleges seem like a good fit. Ask a lot of questions of admissions and financial aid representatives and school or private college counselors. Find out what the requirements are for admission to the college. A great web resource for researching colleges is www.bigfuture.org.
Discover career interests. Discuss possible career pathways with a career counselor by utilizing career interest inventories. Some possible websites to investigate are www.pacareerzone.org , www.bigfuture.org, and www.careercruising.com. One of the most important tasks is to create a resume. A high school resume should include educational background, school activities, volunteer service in the community, awards and recognition, hobbies, work experience, and college and career goals. Colleges are looking for commitment, leadership, and dedication to extracurricular activities—not the quantity of activities, but rather the quality of involvement is important. Another website that includes the latest career information is www.onetonline.org .
Prepare. Be sure to be on track with credits required for graduation. The high school transcript will list all of the student’s grades, courses, and test scores. Students should consider taking advanced and/or accelerated courses and college courses through a dual enrollment program. The University of Scranton, Marywood University, Penn State Worthington Scranton, Keystone College, Lackawanna College, Johnson College, and McCann School of Business and Technology have course offerings available to high school students.
In addition, students should prepare to take the SAT or ACT, and possibly the SAT II. By researching college requirements, students should check to see what tests are required for admission. Students should never take standardized college admissions tests without serious preparation. Check out www.collegeboard.org and www.actstudent.org for additional information.
Pay for Higher Education. When researching colleges, families must consider cost. Just because a college sticker price may seem out of reach, do not remove it from the student’s college list. Financial aid and scholarships are available from many sources to help fund a post-secondary education. It is essential for students and parents to attend a financial aid workshop to get a basic understanding of the process. Some websites for financial aid and scholarships include: www.fafsa.ed.gov, www.bigfuture.org, www.fastweb.com, www.cappex.com, and the smart phone app, Scholly.
NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates – Excellence in Career and College Preparation – is available to help students find their ideal career and college major. Services include aiding in the college admissions process, arranging career shadow experiences, advising students on college admissions testing, resumes, essays, financial aid and scholarships.
Contact Jennifer Severini-Kresock, who is an experienced private career and college counselor, at (570) 702-5700 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on this article and on career and college preparation services.
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