A student’s guide to navigating college planning

Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

From freshman year all the way to the end of senior year at a college preparatory school, the focus is college.

Freshmen and sophomores are thinking about the college process; however, junior year is when the college process really starts to become active.
College Counselor Kelly Smith said, “Right now, juniors have begun College Planning class for the second semester, and we will be doing a lot of things to prepare them for the college application process senior year.”
Outside of college planning, juniors can be partaking in outside activities to college plan. Mrs. Smith said, “Now is a great time for juniors to start planning college visits, especially since Spring Break is right around the corner.”
When discovering what colleges may be a good fit for a student, Mrs. Smith shared some aspects students should consider. She said, “Size and location are great places to start. Students should also consider possible majors or areas of interest such as sports or the arts.”
It’s a “great idea” to visit schools because it’s a “great way for students to see if a school is the right fit for them as well.”
Additionally, “Students should use a combination of their research, input from their families, and guidance from their college counselors to help develop a great list of colleges for them.”
The JC college counselors also strongly recommend students have a testing plan and start preparing for the SAT and ACT tests.
When to comes to studying for the SAT and ACT, there are lots of great options for support and resources. For example, some options that require money are through classes and tutors.
However, one free option that the college counselors recommend is through Khan Academy. This sight gives personalized test prep based on practice tests and PSAT and SAT scores through College Board.
As time progresses over spring and summer, juniors can continue to college plan. Mrs. Smith said, “Students should continue researching colleges and planning some visits.”
They should also prepare to take the SAT or ACT exams at least once or twice during the spring and summer.
To ease the stress of college planning, students will also be meeting with their college counselor this spring to discuss potential plans and get recommendations on what to look for in a college that may be a good fit for them.
When it’s finally time for working on college applications the fall of senior year, Mrs. Smith said that students will be prepared for what the college process will bring.
Mrs. Smith said, “There’s no magic number to how many schools someone should apply to. Typically, we see students applying on average to about six to eight colleges.”
Senior Mark Ghattas said, “Overall, the college process can be overwhelming, but, just remember, all your hard work will pay off in the end.”