Your 11th-grade year is a pivotal time:
- Take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) to qualify for scholarships.
- Research what standardized tests are required by the colleges that you are interested in. The SAT and ACT are most common, but many selective schools also require SAT subject tests.
- Explore the scholarships you might qualify for using the tools listed in the Resources
- Put together an application schedule for the next two years. Use these checklists to start, but also include the deadlines for the colleges and scholarships you are applying to, and your testing dates, once you register for them.
- Register for the standardized tests you need to take.
- Start keeping an eye out for any college nights or college fairs in your area. You should attend with your parents or guardian as it’s a great opportunity to talk about which schools might be best for you and how you can all work together to get you there.
- If you’re able, start visiting the colleges you have put on your preferred list. See the College Visit section for more.
- Talk to your guidance counselor about financial aid options and scholarships, based on your personal situation.
- Look into local scholarships as well. Start by googling for articles on past awards by local civic, corporate or nonprofit organizations. Even if local scholarships pay smaller amounts, it is possible to be awarded multiple scholarships and the support can add up.
- Assume leadership roles in your extracurricular activities if you haven’t been able to yet.
- Meet with your guidance counselor to plan your courses for your senior year and discuss your college applications.
- Do not overlook preparing for any AP exams you will be taking in the spring: these tests may determine whether or not you get college credit for these courses. Do not wait until the last minute to prepare. Take advantage of any extra study sessions or support your teacher offers.
- Form a study group with your gifted peers and review the entire year’s curriculum. You’ll do better on your end-of-year exams as well.