- Take the PSAT.
- Register carefully for second semester courses. Take the most demanding program you can manage successfully. Your junior year academic record is vitally important. Evaluate it and try to strengthen skills in areas that are more difficult for you. Pay particular attention to English and math skills.
- Begin building a college list by consulting books that provide information about a wide range of colleges. Also consult websites like www.collegeboard.com.
- Participate in visits that college representatives make to ICJA. Prepare a list of questions in advance based on what matters to you.
- Investigate and attend area college fairs.
- Explore taking an SAT/ACT review course.
- Consider taking the December or February ACT and/or the December or January SAT I.
- Students who are registering for a non-Saturday test date for the first time must do so on paper rather than online. Along with the paper registration materials, each student must send a letter that verifies that his or her religious beliefs prohibit Saturday testing. A letter and paper registration materials are available in the Guidance office.
- Explore taking an SAT/ACT review course.
- Schedule and take the April and/or June ACT and/or the March, May, and/or June SAT I.
- Certain selective colleges require students to submit the results of two or three SAT IIs (Subject Tests). Check the requirements at schools that interest you. Consider taking the SAT II if you will be completing an AP course or a course sequence at the Honors level. Note that certain SAT IIs are not offered on all SAT testing dates.
- Start drafting personal essays and building an academic resume of your activities and interests.
- Register carefully for senior year courses. Take the most demanding program you can productively handle. Register for at least four college prep courses each semester (five courses if you are considering highly selective colleges).
- Visit colleges. At each visit, fill out a visitor card, attend an information session, and take a campus tour. To get a feel for each campus, eat in the cafeteria, visit the library, talk with students in the student union, visit the Hillel, etc. Schedule a formal interview, if offered. Meet with a faculty member if you have a particular area of interest.
- Look for a summer job, investigate summer programs at colleges, or consider a summer program in Israel or elsewhere.
- Watch your mail for a copy of the Student Information Questionnaire that will provide background information for the teachers and the college counselor who will prepare your recommendations.
- Schedule an appointment with the college counselor and your parents.
- Start to identify and meet with teachers and others you will ask to write your letters of recommendation. The most helpful letters are those written by teachers who know you the best, and who can include specific examples of your contributions and achievements.
- Important: Submit a “Transcript Release, Recommendation Authorization, and Waiver of Right to Inspect Recommendations” form signed by student and parent (if student is under 18). Without this signed form, ICJA cannot lawfully release student transcripts and recommendations to colleges and scholarship programs.
- Draft your personal statement and supplemental essays, and update your resume with your summer activities.
- Arrange for teachers to write recommendations. At least one month before the recommendation is due, supply each teacher with a stamped envelope addressed to the college’s Director of Admissions along with the recommendation form from each college, if one is supplied. Ask teachers to mail their recommendations directly to the colleges.
- Begin to formulate your short list – the schools to which you will apply.
- When you have finalized your college list, obtain applications by going to college websites–some applications can be downloaded, many can be filed online. If you apply online, be sure to make a copy of the completed application for your file.
- Begin submitting applications. For each application to be processed, complete a College Application Processing Form and an Application Checklist form. Bring them and the materials you want ICJA to submit to your meeting with a college counselor. Be sure you have completed all student portions of every form. All materials must be submitted at least three weeks before the college deadlines. It is your responsibility to pay attention to all deadlines.
- Register for the SAT/ACT for September through January. Early action/ early decision candidates must make sure scores will reach colleges in time for early review. When in doubt, contact the college admissions office.
- Request that “official” ACT/SAT scores be sent to colleges that have not received them. You may do this online or by obtaining additional score report forms in the ICJA College Resource Center.
- Visit college reps at ICJA.
- Visit selected college campuses.
- Be alert for scholarship opportunities: Utilize reliable search engines such as www.fastweb.com Do not pay anyone or any company for scholarship/financial aid assistance.
If you have a clear first choice college and don’t have to compare financial aid offers, submit an early decision application.
- Apply to rolling admissions institutions. Remember that getting applications in early (preferably by mid-October) is crucial at colleges and universities that have rolling admissions policies, including many state universities.
- If you are considering a “gap year” program, continue to follow the regular college application process. Once you have been admitted to the college of your choice, request a deferral for a year. Be certain of the deferral policies of each of your colleges. Not all colleges grant deferrals, in particular for candidates admitted via early decision.
- All colleges require financial aid applicants to complete the FAFSA. Complete the FAFSA online www.fafsa.ed.gov. Some colleges also require financial aid applicants to complete a second form, called the CSS Profile, generally within a few weeks of the application deadline. Go to www.collegeboard.com. If you will be applying for financial aid, ask your parents to assemble the information needed to complete the FAFSA and CSS Profile, as appropriate.
- Continue the application process. Watch deadlines, especially priority deadlines and Early Decision, Early Action, and Single Choice Early Action deadlines. Submit all applications to the college counseling office at least three school weeks (not including school vacation days) before the college deadlines.
- Follow up on requested recommendations.
- Notify the College Counseling staff if seventh semester grades are to be sent to colleges. If you have not done so, submit the Mid-Year Report form.
- Submit all applications with a January deadline to the College Counseling office by December 1st.
- Notify the College Counseling staff of all Early Decision/Early Action responses. Withdraw other applications if you receive a binding Early Decision acceptance.
- When specified, apply for housing as early as possible. Check refund policies.
- Study for final exams; seventh semester grades are important.
- Send thank you notes to individuals who wrote your recommendations.
- Submit all applications with a February 1st deadline by January 11th.
- Notify the College Counseling staff of all college responses (acceptances, denials, waitlists, withdrawals, deferrals) and all scholarship offers.
- Register for AP exams.
- Continue to notify the College Counseling department as you receive college decisions, scholarships and financial aid packages.
- See the college counseling staff to analyze your options.
- After comparing acceptances and financial aid packages, make a decision.
- Submit intent to enroll form and enrollment deposit to the college you plan to attend. Make necessary housing arrangements.
- As soon as possible, inform other colleges that have accepted you that you will not attend. Note that students must declare their intentions by May 1. Watch this deadline very carefully.
- If you receive notification that have been placed on a “wait-list” for one or more schools you would like to attend, accept that opportunity if you like, but be certain to send a deposit to a college that accepted you outright.
- Notify the College Counseling department of your decision.
- If you plan to pursue a gap year program, you must get a deferral in writing from the college you will attend the following year.
- Request that your final transcript be sent to the college you will attend.
- Take AP exams.
- Don’t succumb to senioritis. Colleges have been known to revoke admission if there is a serious decline in grades.
Graduation! Remember that even after you graduate, the ICJA Counseling Department is available to offer advice about choosing majors or transferring schools.