Grade Level Information

Select your grade level from the tabs below to learn information regarding planning for post-secondary success.

College & Career Planning Timeline

Freshman year is critical in establishing a solid foundation for the remainder of high school. A student’s attitude, willingness to work hard, willingness to get involved in activities, and commitment to learning are all keys to success. The freshman year is a time when essential knowledge and skills are learned and developed and students explore their interests. Here are some things you can do to stay on track and to prepare you to be college and career ready.

Fall

  • Meet with your School Counselor to discuss your interests and your future goals.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities (both school and non-school sponsored). Make an effort to get involved with   groups, clubs, or teams that interest you. These activities are fun and make you a well-rounded student. Remember that colleges would rather see real involvement in one activity instead of a loose connection to several.
  • If you’re interested in playing sports in college, research the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility requirements. The NCAA requires completion of certain core courses; you can find the specifics at ncaaclearinghouse.net.
  • Explore your strengths by taking the Strengths Explorer assessment through your Naviance account. Take time to examine and understand the results of the assessment.
  • Take a Career Interest Inventory through your Naviance account and begin to explore and research your possible career interests.
  • Set goals to improve your time management, study skills, and work completion.

Early Winter

  • Build a Four Year Plan and Choose Classes for your sophomore year schedule.
    • Use the Course Planner in Family Connection to help plan for your diploma requirements and build your sophomore schedule.
    • Take challenging and rigorous courses that will set you apart from others especially in math and science.
    • Make sure you know which high school courses are required by colleges, and that you’re taking the right classes as early as the ninth grade. You can ask your counselor about what those “right” classes are.
    • Get to know the levels of courses offered by your school.
    • Interested in a Career & Technical Education program? Apply to Area 31 Career Center for your junior year. Visit their webpage to get more details on their programs. You will need to be on track with your credits in order to be able to attend the Career Center for a half day.
    • There are many dual credit courses available for the senior year, plan ahead and take courses to prepare you to take advantage of free college credits!
  • Build your credentials by beginning to create your Resume in Naviance. Keep track of academic and extracurricular awards, community service achievements, and anything else you participate in, so it’ll be easier to remember later. It’ll come in handy when you want to highlight your accomplishments—such as when you’re filling out college applications or creating a resume.

Late Winter

  • Start learning about colleges and post-secondary programs that have the options you are interested in. Use the college search tools in Naviance to check out possible matches for your interests. View college profiles and their websites. You may even want to start a list of colleges that might interest you.

Spring

  • Set goals to increase your GPA and work hard in your classes, colleges & post-secondary schools are encouraged by upward trends in grades, GPA, and standardized testing scores.
  • Use National Scholarship Search sites such as FastwebCollege Board’s Big FutureChegg or UNIGO or the Scholarship Search tool in Naviance to become familiar with the types of requirements and criteria associated with scholarships so you can begin to log the kinds of experiences you need to qualify for scholarships.
  • Social media posts –  be careful about the digital footprint you create in cyberspace when you make posts to sites such as Instagram and SnapChat. Colleges, universities, and prospective employers look at the web to examine the social media sites to see the profile left behind by students’ activity on the internet.

Summer

  • Make summer count. There are plenty of ways to have fun and build your credentials during the summer, such as volunteering, getting a job, or signing up for an enrichment program.

College & Career Planning Timeline

During your sophomore year you’ll want to stay on track with your high school classes and activities and begin to narrow down the plan for your future. A strong GPA and dedication to a few extracurricular activities throughout your high school experience will make you a desirable candidate for many colleges.

Fall

  • Meet with your school counselor to discuss your interests and your future goals.
  • Stay Focused on Academics. An impressive academic record – challenging curriculum and strong grades – is the most important admissions factor at the majority of colleges. Think twice before dropping a foreign language or enrolling in an easier math class. A rigorous class schedule shows intellectual curiosity, a willingness to challenge yourself, and that you are comfortable with hard work. There are compelling financial benefits, too. A strong academic record can lead to merit scholarships. Credits earned from dual enrollment, AP, and IB classes can cut college costs.
  • Take on new roles. Stay involved with your extracurricular activities and work toward leadership positions in the activities you like best.  Seek out opportunities to develop leadership roles. Depth, not breadth, of experience is key.  Most colleges prefer to see fewer activities, but ones that really interest you, where you are involved in a significant way. Evidence of passion, leadership, initiative, commitment and meaningful engagement is important. You may also want to consider an internship, research position, job shadowing opportunity or part-time employment in an area that interests you. Become involved in community service and other volunteer activities. 
  • If you’re interested in playing sports in college, research the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility requirements. The NCAA requires completion of certain core courses; you can find the specifics at ncaaclearinghouse.net.
  • Examine how you use your time. Learn time management strategies that you can use throughout the year.
  • Investigate your Learning Style and practice Self Advocacy (use Naviance Student for various asessments tools on this)
  • Practice making good decisions utilizing the 7 – step decision-making process.
  • Use the PSAT Study guide to prepare for the PSAT test.
  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT during your school day in the fall. This is a practice for the SAT and can also help link you to scholarship money.
  • Set goals to improve your time management, study skills, and work completion. Goal Setting Worksheets are very helpful for this!

Early Winter

  • Build a Four Year Plan and Choose Classes for your junior year schedule.
    • Use the Course Planner in Naviance to help plan for your diploma requirements and build your junior schedule
    • Take challenging and rigorous courses that will set you apart from others especially in math and science.
    • Make sure you know which high school courses are required by colleges, and that you’re taking the right classes as early as the ninth grade. You can ask your counselor about what those “right” classes are.
    • Get to know the levels of courses offered by your school.
    • Interested in a Career & Technical Education program? Apply to Area 31 Career Center for your junior year.  Visit their webpage to get more details on their programs. You will need to be on track with your credits in order to be able to attend the Career Center for a half day.
    • There are many dual credit courses available for the senior year, plan ahead and take courses to prepare you to take advantage of free college credits!
  • Set Up a College Admissions Email Account. If you don’t have one already, set up an email account to use for college admissions. Avoid user names that an admissions officer might find silly, inappropriate or immature. With easy web access, Gmail is a good choice. You’ll often be asked for an email address when you attend university presentations, college fairs and when you register to receive scholarship and college admissions information.
  • Start Exploring Colleges/Careers. You may have a clear image of your perfect-fit school or trade  or no sense at all. Visit some college/trade websites and start thinking about what is important to you in terms of academics, size, prestige, location, cost, campus, activities, athletics and recreation. Take advantage of opportunities to join college mailing lists and request information from schools of potential interest. Jot down usernames and passwords in your college notebook. If you are in the geographic area of a college that interests you, check it out. It’s best to visit when school is in session, but you can get a feel for a college almost any time. Often, your campus visit can be more valuable if you take an organized tour and attend an information session. Eating a meal on campus, chatting with undergrads in the student union, visiting a dormitory, and sitting in on a class can help you get a better feel for the college. When you visit, be sure to sign in at the admissions office. Some colleges give preference to applicants who have visited the campus.
  • CreateKhan Academy account after receving your PSAT results to build an individualized practice plan to be more prepared for the SAT in your junior year. 

Late Winter

  • Read, Write and Build Your Vocabulary. One of the biggest factors in strong performance on the verbal portions of the SAT and the ACT is independent reading. Enhancing your skills during high school will not only help you perform better on college entrance exams, it will prepare you for success in college and beyond. Regular reading of challenging articles and editorials (e.g. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist) is proven to help students feel more confident with the reading passages given on the SAT or ACT.
  • Search for Colleges using the college search tools in Naviance to check out possible matches for your interests. View college profiles and their websites. You may even want to start a list of colleges that might interest you.

Spring

  • Set goals to increase your GPA and work hard in your classes, colleges & post-secondary schools are encouraged by upward trends in grades, GPA, and standardized testing scores.
  • Update your Resume in Naviance, write a cover letter and practice interview skills.
  • Visit a college or trade school campus. Learn more about how you can prepare for a campus visit.          
  • Understand the Cost of College. Get the facts about what college costs. You may be surprised by how affordable higher education can be. Start by reading Understanding College Costs.
  • Use National Scholarship Search sites such as FastwebCollege Board’s Big FutureChegg or UNIGO or the Scholarship Search tool in Family Connection to become familiar with the types of requirements and criteria associated with scholarships so you can begin to log the kinds of experiences you need to qualify for scholarships.
  • Review Your Online Persona. Examine your information on Facebook and/or other social networks. Consider updating or deleting content that might not be viewed favorably by college admissions officers.

Summer

  • Use Your Summer Wisely. The summer between sophomore and junior years is the perfect time to prep for entrance exams and enhance your resume. There are many options to consider including: specialized academic programs and enrichment, camps and athletic programs, volunteer opportunities, internships, or a summer job.

College & Career Planning Timeline

Junior year marks a turning point. This is because for most students and families. It is when post-secondary planning activities kick into high gear. Here are some things you can do this year to stay on track for your post-secondary plans.

Fall

  • Continue to adapt and revise your resume through your Naviance Student account.
    • Include your abilities & talents, activities that you have been involved in, leadership roles you hold, community services performed and any references you have.
    • Go to this link for tips!
  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT during your school day.
  • Begin researching colleges & post-secondary schools that have the programs you are interested in.
    • There are many resources and tools available through Naviance Student that allow you to save your searches and find everything you need in one spot.
    • Start Scheduling Campus Visits
      • Use this map to locate colleges in Indiana
      • Check out the Campus Visit Guide before you go to know what you should be looking for
  • Explore internship and job shadowing experiences in the fields you are interested in.
  • Set goals to increase your GPA and work hard in your classes. Colleges & post-secondary schools are encouraged by upward trends in grades, GPA, and standardized testing scores. 
  • Sign up for EVERYTHING! You can learn a lot by signing up for college, scholarship, internship and career options.
    • Beware – your email box will fill up, so check often! 
    • Sign up for a free email account (create a professional username) that you will have all of these types of items emailed to. Then, set a time each week to review the information so you do not miss an opportunity.
Early Winter
  • Plan for your senior year schedule
  • Use the Course Planner in Naviance Student to help plan for your diploma requirements and build your senior schedule.
  • Take challenging and rigorous courses that will set you apart from others..especially in math in science.
    • There are many dual credit courses available for the senior year, plan ahead and take advantage of free college credits!
  • Interested in a Career & Technical Education program?
    • Apply to Area 31 Career Center for your senior year. Visit their webpage to get more details on their programs.
  • Begin planning and forecasting your financial need for post-secondary options.

Late Winter

  • Sign up to take the SAT and/or the ACT
  • What’s the difference? Learn more
    • ACT – visit actstudent.org to register
      • Cost = $60 (no writing) & $85 (includes optional writing)*
      • *See ACT website for most up-to-date pricing
    • SAT - visit collegeboard.org to register
    • Practice…practice….and practice more! Research shows the more comfortable students are with the test and format, the higher they will score.
      • Students can utilize Khan Academy for free & personalized SAT prep
    • See your school counselor if you receive textbook assistance, free/reduced lunch, or are a 21st Century Scholar for a free test fee waiver

Spring

  • Finish courses strong, this will be the last semester of grades that colleges and schools will see when you send your transcripts with your applications in the fall.
  • GPA is one of the important pieces colleges look at for admission.
  • Use National Scholarship Search sites such as FastwebCollege Board’s Big FutureChegg or UNIGO. Be sure to check out your Naviance Student for scholarship search opportunities!
  • Put out a social media post that explains to your social network what you are hoping to study after high school and that you would appreciate if anyone would keep you in mind for internship opportunities, scholarships that they are aware of, or if they have connections that would be useful to you. It is amazing what can come of letting people know your dreams and desires!

Summer

  • Register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center & National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)  if you are an athlete planning to continue playing a sport in college.
  • Create your FSA ID: before you can begin filling out your FAFSA you must get a username and password.
  • Find a part-time job and start saving for your future. This is also a great way to build up your resume prior to applying to your college & post-secondary schools.
    • Many summer camps look for high school aged students for paid/volunteer opportunities – Camp Page is a great resource to locate these types of opportunities
  • Update your Colleges I am Thinking About and move the ones you will apply at to Colleges I am Applying To in Naviance Student. This helps your counselor understand your plan as you move in to your senior year…and allows them to send a transcript at your request.

College & Career Planning Timeline

Fall

  • Update and revise your resume through your Naviance Student account.
    • Include your talents and abilities, activities you have been involved in, leadership roles, community services performed, barriers you have overcome, accompishments received, references you have and jobs you’ve held.
    • Go to this link for tips!
  • Find at least 3 adults to write a letter of recommendation
    • Who should you ask?
      • Someone who knows your character and accomplishments and someone you have a positive relationship with.
    • What types of information is included in a letter of recommendation?
      • Your skills and accomplishments, attributes, personal characteristics and goals
    • Steps to request a letter of recommendation from a teacher
      • Ask them in person first and provide them with a resume, a brag sheet, or any information that will help them write effectively about you
      • Ask two weeks or more in advance of when you need the letter submitted
      • Log in to your Naviance Student account and make the official written request      
  • If you are a 21st Century Scholar:
    • Log in to your Scholar Track account to make sure you have all steps completed for the Scholar Success Program.
    • Keep your cumulative GPA at 2.5 or above.
  • Sign up to re-take the SAT and/or the ACT.
    • What is the difference? Go to this link to find out!
    • ACT – visit actstudent.org to register
      • Cost = $60 (no writing) & $85 (optional writing)*
      • See ACT website for most up-to-date pricing
    • SAT - visit www.collegeboard.org to register
    • See your counselor if you receive textbook assistance for a free test fee waiver!
    • Practice…practice….and practice more! Research shows the more comfortable students are with the test and format, the higher they will score.
  • Attend a College & Career Fair if you are still unsure as to which schools or post-secondary path is the right fit for you!
    • Check out the Indianapolis National College Fair here!
    • Other fairs will be advertised through Canvas
  • Begin the college application process.
    • Check with the colleges you plan to apply – be sure to know the application deadlines!
    • Understand the requirements needed for each school.
      • For example – some schools require an essay or letters of recommendations whiles others do not. Be prepared.
      • If you used a fee waiver for the SAT – check your collegeboard.org account to get your free application waivers for college applications!
    • After you apply for college, request your transcripts through Naviance Student.
    • Log on to your ACT/SAT account to send your test scores to the colleges you’ve applied to.
  • College Go Week is in September yearly
    • Check to see if any of the schools you are applying to waive their fees during College Go Week by going to this link!
  • Begin the Financial Aid process
    • Start looking into the Free Application Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opening October 1st. FAFSA is due on or before April 15th!
    • Create an FSA ID in order to gain access to Federal Student’s Aid online system
    • Need assistance with completing the FAFSA?
    • Visit the College Cost Estimator to estimate the net price of attending an Indiana college
  • Search for Scholarships
    • Log in to your Naviance Student accountScholarship List
      • On the top right of your home page, click the menu option (3 horizontal lines) and choose "Colleges"
      • Scroll to "Scholarships and Money" and select "Scholarship List"
        • Scholarships will be added throughout the year so check back often!
        • You may also select "National Scholarship Search" to find scholarship opportunities
    • Look at your college’s website for school specific scholarships
    • Check out any of the following websites to search for scholarship opportunities:
  • Playing a sport in college? Be sure to have an account with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athlets (NAIA)
  • Start looking into apprenticeship options or trade career options post-high school if college is not on your radar.
  • Log in to your Naviance Student account to research careers and complete career interest inventories
  • Order your Cap & Gown for Graduation through Herff Jones
    • Orders will be taken in the fall on campus, if this date is missed you will need to contact them directly to order

Spring

  • Keep up your grades
    • Even though you are a senior – your grades, courses and GPA all still count!
  • Submit the FAFSA
    • Be sure to complete the FAFSA on or before the March 10th deadline (check your school – they may have an earlier deadline than March 10th!)
    • Keep an eye on your Student Aid Report (SAR) to arrive 4-6 weeks after completion
    • Be sure to make any corrections by the deadline given
  • Continue to search and apply for scholarships
    • Keep checking your Naviance Student account for additional opportunties
  • Choose your school or post-secondary training program
    • Accept the school of your choice, if you have received multiple acceptance letters
    • Respond and decline the schools you choose not to attend
    • Send in any payment/requirements by the deadlines given
    • Watch for housing and academic information for the school