Are you on track for college?

Bernt Rostad

Gina Mahaz, Staff Reporter

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High school can be stressful. Classes are getting harder, after-school activities take up homework time and sleep is becoming a luxury so the last thing we need is to be stressing about college, right?

Even if it may seem too far in the future to be concerned with (or too close to even believe), there are things you can do now to make college process easier on your parents, teachers, counselors, and yourself. Here’s a timeline by grade as to roughly where you should be in the college process.

Freshman Year

  • Start thinking about your future

Although college is still a few years away, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your life. Take classes that feed your interests and try for advanced classes if possible.

  • Get involved in extracurriculars

Now is a great time to join a sport or other outside activity. Colleges appreciate commitment to things you love, so pick an activity and stick with it.

Sophomore Year

  • Get involved in the Mercy community

Colleges want to see leadership, so consider running for Student Council, HRC or a club leader. You can also become involved in community service opportunities, whether at Mercy or not.

  • Get to know your counselor

If you haven’t already, stop by your counselor’s office to get acquainted. A good relationship with your counselor becomes more important junior and senior year, so now is a good time to let her get to know you better.

Junior Year

  • Keep your grades up

This is by far the most important year in your high school career. Colleges look for an upward trend in GPA, and they also like to see AP and Honors courses as well.

  • Start looking at college options

By now you should have thought a little about what your goals for the future are and what you’re interested in. Start researching colleges and visiting campuses to get a feel for which one is right for you.

  • Take the ACT/SAT

Mercy holds the ACT in March, but many people take it more than once. Look up when the test dates are in your area and start preparing for the test (the ACT prep course Mercy offers is a good idea.) If a college you are applying to requires the SAT, make sure you take it as well.

Senior Year

  • Keep in close contact with your counselor

Your counselor will talk with you about your options and will get you on track for admissions.

  • Get your paperwork together

Start getting your teacher recommendations as soon as possible, and do not wait until the last minute to submit your applications!

  • Apply for scholarships

Start applying for scholarships or financial aid to cover the costs of a pricey tuition.

  • Don’t slack off

So you’re accepted, now what? It can be tempting to let your grades slip in these last few months, but colleges have been known to revoke acceptances if your grades drop too much. Hang in there!

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