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Preparing for College

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

College planning begins long before high school graduation day. Consider the steps provided below for students in grades 9-12 a roadmap to successful college preparation, selection, and enrollment. In addition to that timeline, below are some resources that you may find useful in the college selection and application process.


  • College Prep Checklist for Seniors

  • College Prep Checklist for Juniors

  • College Prep Checklist for Sophomores

  • College Prep Checklist for Freshmen

College Selection

The best place to start is in The Jones Center. Use our library or an iPad and start searching. Talk with our Guidance Director and other counselors, administrators, and faculty about schools FACS students have attended and enjoyed. Meet with college representatives who visit The Jones Center. Then begin traveling. Go to local college fairs. Plan some campus visits. If you find a college or university you like and that you believe will fit your budget, request an overnight visit while classes are in session. Once you’ve narrowed choices, use the College Evaluation Chart below to contrast and compare.

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College Application

Once you’ve selected some colleges and universities you like, consider applying to several. Begin applying in August of your senior year, when many schools offer free application. Make sure at least one application is to a school that is a “safe bet” (that is, one at which you are sure to be admitted and able to afford) and that at least one application is to a school that is a “reach” (a dream school you just might get into and just might have enough money for). When you apply, pay attention to due dates for scholarship applications (some schools consider enrollment application and scholarship application together; some require a separate scholarship application). If you must write a scholarship essay, go to a favorite teacher or mentor and ask for feedback.

Here’s an important tip: Keep in contact with enrollment representatives at colleges and universities to which you apply. Email them after you’ve applied. Email again after you’ve submitted your scholarship application. Send them your resume. Keep them in the loop if you win an award or if your ACT score goes up, so that they can add information to your file. Make them understand your desire to attend. Your representatives are your best advocates with the scholarship office. Often, persistence literally pays.

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