February-March College Readiness Plans

Testing: College admissions testing is upon us. The results can make or break admissions to match colleges. 

a.      Help students develop their testing schedules: SAT. ACT. SAT Subject Tests, AP tests.

b.    Plan for students to take each one, except the AP tests, at least two times this spring.

c.    Sophomores and juniors should take subject tests for courses they are taking this year. Don’t have them wait as knowledge slips away

A.    The ACTs are offered in February, April, and June.

B.    The SATs are offered in March, May, and June.

C.    The SAT Subject tests are offering May and June.

D.   The SAT Subject Tests are offered in March, May, and June. Go tohttp://www.compassprep.com/admissions_req_subjects.aspx to see which colleges still require SAT Subject Tests.

E.     AP tests are offered only in May.

d.    Learn about fee waivers. They enable students to take each test twice, except AP tests, for free

e.     Please have your students record their usernames and passwords on computers, cell phones, and emails. Mac users use Stickies or Notes

f.      Continue or start a test prep class. Princeton Review,http://www.princetonreview.com, offers good beginning classes. There are free test prep programs online such as http://www.number2.com/

Senior year schedules:

Many schools have kids pick classes for senior year. Make sure kids do not give up core content areas. Kids need a full schedule that is as hard and challenging as possible. If students give up a foreign language or math-remember that they have to take placement tests the end of senior year, and these are very hard if students miss a year. Also students need to pick up some other content area—another social science or science-so their schedules are full.


Make sure kids make their FB pages private. They should take off their last names as well. The pages should show no information to anyone who is not a friend. Colleges and school college counselors will occasionally check FB pages. I recommend taking away the last name and just using your first and middle names.

Activity development:

 Please make sure you encourage students to take on leadership roles in their activities. Colleges are looking for kids who take initiative and who are leaders. Don’t give up activities. Look for ways to expand current organizations and lead them in new and creative ways.

Powerful summers:

Remember colleges expect students to be as busy as possible. Use summers for taking college classes, working, volunteering, doing an internship, studying for the SAT/ACT. There are great programs for urban kids. Ask your counselor for ideas. Applications for many programs are due soon. See our tips for powerful summers.


College research:

Students need to start researching colleges and developing lists

  1. Under-represented students can join the Center for Student Opportunity’s Opportunity Scholar Program. They register and get access to colleges that are actively recruiting them.http://www.csocollegecenter.org/
  2. Wintergreen has some reasonably priced maps and other resources to find colleges around the country.http://store.wintergreenstore.com/maps2.html
  3.  The federal government supports the College Navigator-a basic search:http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/. The College Board released the free and easy to use Big Future: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  4. Buy the 2013 Fiske Guide and Steven Antonoff’s College Finder for your classroom. Also get the Center for Student Opportunity Guide. It comes with free lesson plans.
  5. The Fiske Guide now offers College Count Down, its interactive and amazing website. It has resources students, parents, and educators.http://www.collegecountdown.com/
  6. Get a map of colleges for your wall.http://www.collegemaps.com/gw/collegemaps.html
  7. Complete campus tours online http://www.ecampustours.com/  orhttp://www.campustours.com/ give a good overview of the campus, but then plan to visit during Spring Break or Summer vacation.
  8. There is no substitute for an on-campus visit.  Go directly to colleges own websites to schedule appointment for tour and information session. See my tips for college visits.
  9. Tell students to sign up for email from colleges they are interested in. Demonstrated interest to them counts! Also find colleges on FB and YouTube.
  10. Explore other great college information sites, including Cappex (http://www.cappex.com), College Week Live (http://www.collegeweeklive.com), and Unigo (http://www.unigo.com)

Spring vacation college visits

Tell students to visit colleges during spring vacation and other school days off. Avoid weekends unless colleges have special weekend programs. Book tours, information sessions, class visits, overnights, interviews, and visits with current students. See our attached tips. See if you can get a bus to visit a couple of local colleges. NACAC college fairs occur around the country this spring.

I hope these tips are helpful.


About rjoseph

I am the creator and visionary behind this site. I want to do everything I can to help students consider college as an option, even when they may be the first in their family to go or may not have the funds at hand. Don't let anyone tell you that you don't have the right or the ability to go to college.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *