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College Preparation by grade

8th GRADE YEAR

  • Develop and practice daily study habits.  You are best served to understand and practice these before entering high school.  Middle school students have time learn these skills.  In high school, the course load and pace quickens, meaning less time to learn skills that teachers expect to be already learned.  These skills include:
     
    • Attending school on regular basis
    • Getting to class on time
    • Being prepared in class with materials
    • Utilizing a daily planner
    • Completing homework on daily basis
    • Taking notes
    • Reading and outlining materials in textbooks
    • Studying for tests
    • Organizing notebooks
    • Organizing a study area at home
    • Using a study schedule
    • Planning for long-term projects
    • Prioritizing assignments
    • Managing personal time
    • Communicating with teachers
    • Communicating with parents
    • Communicating with friends
    • Becoming an independent learner
       
  • Understand the importance of the term “credit” and its relationship to graduation.
  • Understand the term “elective” and its relationship to college preparation.
  • Give time and consideration to your course selection during the pre-registration process done in February.
  • Attend “parent nights” in February to learn more about high school.
  • Attend “sports nights” in March, April and May to meet coaches and understand participation rules/expectations.

FRESHMAN YEAR

  • Attend EHS Soar Day in early August to learn basic high school logistics like following your class schedule, meeting your teachers and counselor, finding your locker, and taking a campus tour.
  • Review the general college entrance requirements and begin a four-year plan to take the required curriculum.  Keep in mind that a rigorous high school course load is the best way to prepare for college.
  • Research and identify extracurricular activities that interest you.  Find a way to become involved with your high school other than simply taking classes there.  Join a team, a club and/or student government.
  • Take care of your coursework while adjusting to high school.  Remember, your grades all go onto your permanent record called your transcript.
  • Utilize available resources to assist you with your coursework.  EHS has advisories built into its schedule, in which students can receive additional instruction from their teachers.  EHS also has free tutoring available after school.  Your high school counselor has other available tutoring resources she can provide you; make an appointment with her.
  • Begin to explore available career interests through online exploration (see Career tab of Counseling website) or with the assistance of your high school counselor.   It is important to understand the link between high school course work and its relation to your life in a broader sense.
  • Consider pre-registering for honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and/or dual credit (CNM OR UNM) courses for your sophomore year.

SOPHOMORE YEAR

FALL

  • Review your high school course selections and activity plans.
  • Take the PSAT in October.Taking the PSAT as a sophomore does not count as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT); it will provide you with practice for taking it as a junior, however, when taking the PSAT as a junior serves as the NMSQT. 
  • Register for the pre-ACT test, offered once a year at EHS.  This test predicts future ACT performance and has a career planning component. Ms. Velhagen will visit your English class to talk about both PSAT and pre-ACT.

SPRING

  • Pass the New Mexico High School Competency exams.  Students will have additional attempts to pass the portions of the tests which were not successfully completed the first time.
  • Attend the Pre-ACT and PSAT teachback sessions.  Your College & Career Counselor can provide you with information in how to utilize the feedback ACT & College Board provide.
  • Monitor progress with your four-year plan during pre-registration done in February.  Give serious consideration for course selection for junior year.
  • Start to think about colleges you may wish to attend after high school.
  • Start to develop a resume, including listing your activities and accomplishments.
  • Make plans for meaningful summer activities.  If working in the summer, start a college savings account.

JUNIOR YEAR

AUGUST

  • Review your high school course selections and activity plans.
  • Keep in mind that colleges look for the following:
    • Challenging coursework (Advanced Placement, Honors, and Dual Credit courses)
    • Strong GPA
    • Involvement in extracurricular activities
    • Leadership
  • Obtain a Social Security Number if you do not already have one.  You will need it to apply for college and financial aid.

SEPTEMBER

  • Identify sources for college and career information at your school.
  • Put together a “Wish List” of at least 10 colleges that you would like to attend.  Plan to apply to at least 3-5 schools (one of which needs to be either UNM, NMSU, or CNM).
  • Talk with your parents and your high school counselor about where you want to go to school.
  • Register for the PSAT.
  • Obtain dates for college fairs and “parent nights” at EHS.

OCTOBER

  • Take the PSAT.
  • Attend College Day and “parent nights” at EHS.
  • Attend college visits.
  • Attend the NM College Fair.

NOVEMBER

  • Look into eligibility requirements for federal and alternative student loans (See "FINANCIAL AID" tab.)
  • Attend college visits.

DECEMBER

  • Review your PSAT results.
  • Start planning to take the SAT or ACT college entrance exams.  All colleges & universities accept EITHER the ACT or SAT these days.  Pay attention to registration deadlines for the dates offered.

JANUARY

  • Start to narrow your college choices by researching and considering:
    • Programs of study (majors offered)
    • Location (city size, geographic region, weather, proximity to home)
    • School size
    • Tuition & housing costs
    • Scholarships offered
    • Housing options (on-campus versus off-campus)
    • Extracurricular activities offered (student life)
    • Internship, externship, research and employment opportunities

FEBRUARY

  • Study and register for the SAT/ACT.
  • Investigate private scholarships and other student aid programs (see "SCHOLARSHIP" tabs).
  • Visit a couple of websites listed on Scholarships and Financial Aid pages.

MARCH

  • Register and study for the SAT/ACT, if not already done.
  • Continue investigating outside funding sources.

APRIL

  • Start to schedule visits to each of the colleges that are on your list.  If appropriate, apply for an interview and/or overnight visit. Every college is happy to arrange a campus visit for you; contact their Admissions office.
  • Take your SAT/ACT test(s).

MAY

  • Take your SAT/ACT test(s).
  • Take your AP examinations.

JUNE

  • Last chance to take your first SAT/ACT test in your junior year.
  • Continue to work on math skills.
  • Obtain a summer job that might be related to your career interests.
  • If possible, save some money from your summer job to pay for college costs.
  • Consider scheduling a college visit to the more distant college(s) on your list.

SENIOR YEAR

AUGUST

  • Review your course schedule to make sure it fits into your academic plan and post-secondary goals.
  • Narrow your college choices to approximately 5-12 universities/colleges (at least one of which will be in-state)
  • Familiarize yourself with websites, admission & scholarship information from colleges in which you are interested.
  • Make a calendar of each school’s application & scholarship deadlines.  List tasks to complete on weekly basis on this calendar.
  • Review emails from scholarship web sources on regular basis.  See websites & search engines on the Scholarships and Financial Aid pages of the Counseling website.
  • Contact potential sources for your letters of recommendation.
  • Contact Ms. Velhagen or your counselor for SAT/ACT test dates.
  • Contact Ms. Velhagen or your counselor for a listing of universities/colleges visiting EHS.

SEPTEMBER

  • Meet with college representatives visiting EHS and at ABQ community events.
  • Visit EHS counseling department and Counseling website for scholarship opportunities.
  • Sign up for the SAT/ACT.
  • If not already done, contact teachers, counselor or other sources for letters of recommendation.
  • Visit your top college choices.  Interview some faculty, students, and staff.

OCTOBER

  • Complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1 at fafsa.ed.gov.  Keep copies of all forms you submit.  Once your FAFSA is submitted, you will receive an SAR (Student Aid Report) with your federal financial aid information.
  • Take/retake the SAT/ACT, if necessary.
  • Look at and review admissions applications.  Make note of deadlines and when the materials need to be submitted.
  • Work on admissions application essays (outline, rough draft, final draft).  Ask adults to provide constructive criticism.
  • Attend the College Day at EHS.
  • Attend the NM College Fair.
  • Find out which financial aid applications your college choices require and when the forms are due. FAFSA and CSS Profile are the two applications.
  • See Ms. Velhagen in Counseling to make an appointment for the UNM, NMSU, NM Tech, ENMU, Ft. Lewis, NAU and/or CNM onsite registration events: colleges come to EHS, waive the application fee, and you apply right there. You'll need your SS#. (If you don't have a SS#, see your counselor or Ms. Velhagen! There ARE scholarships available for students who are undocumented!)
  • Visit your top college choices.  Interview some faculty, students, and staff.
  • Inquire about housing options at each of your schools.  Obtain a housing application, if appropriate, and make note of the deadline to send in a deposit.

NOVEMBER

  • Read financial aid information from all colleges to determine what information is required for completion and when the applications are due. (Sometimes FAFSA is al that is necessary, while some private/out-of-state colleges also require the CSS Profile online application through College Board.)
  • Prepare your college applications, including getting any necessary recommendations.  You may need your counselor to complete a section of the application.  If so, give her advanced notice (minimum two, ideally three weeks).
  • Obtain official transcripts from Carol Ellis, EHS Registrar.  You will need to complete a ¼ sheet form to get this done.  Forms are found outside her office.
  • Visit the Counseling website and counseling department to view available scholarships.  Apply by the deadline for appropriate scholarships.
  • Turn in the scholarship application for UNM and NMSU, especially if you are applying for the Regent’s and/or Presidential scholarships (due December 1).

DECEMBER

  • Some college deadlines start this month.  Complete those applications! 
  • Parents will need to save their last (year-end) payroll stub in order to complete the FAFSA.
  • Visit the EHS counseling department and Counseling website for scholarships.
  • Apply for outside scholarships.

JANUARY

  • Once transcripts have been updated with fall grades, prompt your counselor to complete a Mid-Year report for each of your college choices on CommonApp or SendEDU.
  • UNM's Priority FAFSA Deadline falls in the first week January. Check with your other college options for their deadlines, and get that FAFSA submitted!

FEBRUARY

  • Complete your FAFSA, if not already done.  Once your FAFSA is submitted, you will receive an SAR (Student Aid Report) with your federal financial aid information.
  • Check to see that Mid-Year reports/transcripts have been sent to your college choices.
  • Begin to rank your finalized list of colleges.
  • Complete housing applications and send in appropriate materials.

MARCH

  • Complete your FAFSA, if not already done. Once your FAFSA is submitted, you will receive an SAR (Student Aid Report) with your federal financial aid information.
  • Submit tax forms to the financial aid office if requested.  Follow up with each office to make certain that your application is complete.  Find our what else you need to do to establish and maintain your eligibility for financial aid.

APRIL

  • Watch the mail and email for college acceptance, scholarship award letters, and/or financial aid award letters.  Compare the scholarship awards and/or financial aid awards you receive.
  • Make your final decision and send in a deposit by the posted deadline.
  • Check with the college you’ve chosen about the details of signing and returning financial aid award letters.
  • Notify other schools that you will not be attending.
  • Watch for important deadlines at your chosen college (housing, financial aid, etc.).

MAY

  • Take AP examinations.
  • Finalize summer job plans.
  • Keep safe and make smart decisions.

JUNE

  • If going off to college, think about what to pack, remembering to prioritize these items:
     
    • School supplies, including computer
    • Personal care items
    • Towels, washcloths
    • Bedding (sheets-- often in longer dorm-bed size; blankets)
    • Beanbag chairs
    • Lamps and extra light bulbs
    • Floor rug
    • Crates for make-shift shelves
    • Clothes for upcoming seasons
    • Prescription medications
    • DVDs/CDs and players
    • Hobby-related items
    • Photos, posters
    • TV
    • Small refrigerator, microwave
    • Plastic utensils and paper plates
    • Tissues and toilet paper
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Cell phone & charger
       
  • Set up a bank account at a local bank.
  • Determine transportation plans, including purchasing a parking permit.

College Preparation Links

www.collegeboard.com
www.gocollege.com
www.petersons.com
www.collegeview.com
www.usnews.com/education

See "College Resources" and "Career Resources" for much more!