Concentrate on academic preparation and continue to develop basic skills and co-curricular interests.
Consult your guidance counselor about taking the PSAT in October. The PSAT is a preliminary test that will prepare you for the SAT Reasoning Test. If you plan on taking the ACT, talk to your guidance counselor about taking the PLAN this fall. The PLAN is a preliminary standardized test that will give you some preparation for the ACT. PLAN does not have national testing dates, so ask your guidance counselor about test dates offered by your school. You need to register several weeks in advance for the PLAN and the PSAT, so consult your guidance counselor early in September. Take NCAA-approved courses if you want to play sports in college.
Take the PSAT for practice. The results will not be used for college admission. Sign up, if you have not done so already, for co-curricular activities that interest you. The level of involvement and accomplishment is most important, not the number of activities. Keep a record of your co-curricular involvement, volunteer work, and employment (all year).
November & December
Make sure you are "on top" of your academic work. If necessary, meet with your teacher for additional help. Save your best work in academic courses and the arts for your academic portfolio (all year). Receive results of PLAN and/or the PSAT. Read materials sent with your score report. Consult your guidance counselor to explore ways to improve on future standardized tests and courses to discuss which may be required or beneficial for your post-high school plans.
January & February
Keep studying! Volunteer-a great way to identify your interests and to develop skills. It is never too early to start researching colleges and universities. Visit your guidance office to browse through literature and guidebooks or surf the Web and check out college and university home pages.
Register for June SAT Subject Test. These are one-hour exams testing you on academic subjects that you have already completed. Among the many to choose from are biology, chemistry, foreign languages and physics. Many colleges require or recommend one or more of the SAT Subject Tests for admission or placement. You can take SAT Subject Tests when you have successfully completed the corresponding course in high school study (B+ average or better). Talk to your teachers and counselor about which tests to take. See your guidance counselor for advice. Continue to research career options and consider possible college majors that will help you achieve your career goals. Plan now for wise use of your summer. Consider taking a summer course or participating in a special program (e.g., for prospective engineers or journalists or for those interested in theatre or music) at a local college or community college. Consider working or volunteering.
Take the SAT Subject Tests that you registered for in April. If you work, save some of your earnings for college.
During the summer, you may want to sign up for a PSAT/SAT prep course, use computer software, or do the practice tests in books designed to familiarize you with standardized tests.
Make your summer productive. Continue reading to increase your vocabulary.