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Take It Step By Step

September

  • Visit your guidance counselor to map out a four-year curriculum that will put you into the most challenging courses you can handle.

October

  • If you’ve been wanting to start something new, now is the time. Join the school paper, learn to play golf, or try out the trumpet.

November

  • Remember to buckle down early, since even your ninth-grade As (or Ds) will count in the eyes of most college admissions officials.

December

  • It’s best to take the SAT as soon as you complete a specific course, like biology or geometry, for example—even if that happens to be in ninth grade. You can sign up now for the spring administration.

January

  • It’s never too early to start saving for college. You might begin by laying aside any money you received over the holidays. Take some time to think about why you want to go to college, which may have a huge bearing on where you should apply.

February

  • Colleges want to see passion and commitment. If there is something that really excites you, explore it. Too often, students wait until junior or senior year and then hurriedly—and unconvincingly—pad their résumés.

March

  • Don’t think about your college decision too much. Focus on your grades and your interests. If you learn how to handle school, extracurriculars, and a social life now, you’ll be ready to apply to college senior year.

April

  • Think about what classes you want to take next year. Besides four years of English and math, competitive colleges also look for advanced science and social science classes, as well as some foreign language courses.

May

  • If you’re old enough to get a summer job, try it. You can get good experience and save money for college. Not old enough? Consider volunteering or enrolling in an educational summer camp.

June

  • Research careers and talk to your parents or other adults about your interests and goals. Find opportunities to meet people working in the professions that you think may interest you.

July

  • Read for pleasure and, while you’re at it, learn the unfamiliar words. Vocabulary skills come in very handy on the SAT—and in college, too.

August

  • It’s ok to take some time off and relax, especially if you’ve been having a productive summer.

Information adapted from U.S. News and World Report.

Take It Step By Step

September

  • Visit your guidance counselor to map out a four-year curriculum that will put you into the most challenging courses you can handle.

October

  • If you’ve been wanting to start something new, now is the time. Join the school paper, learn to play golf, or try out the trumpet.

November

  • Remember to buckle down early, since even your ninth-grade As (or Ds) will count in the eyes of most college admissions officials.

December

  • It’s best to take the SAT as soon as you complete a specific course, like biology or geometry, for example—even if that happens to be in ninth grade. You can sign up now for the spring administration.

January

  • It’s never too early to start saving for college. You might begin by laying aside any money you received over the holidays. Take some time to think about why you want to go to college, which may have a huge bearing on where you should apply.

February

  • Colleges want to see passion and commitment. If there is something that really excites you, explore it. Too often, students wait until junior or senior year and then hurriedly—and unconvincingly—pad their résumés.

March

  • Don’t think about your college decision too much. Focus on your grades and your interests. If you learn how to handle school, extracurriculars, and a social life now, you’ll be ready to apply to college senior year.

April

  • Think about what classes you want to take next year. Besides four years of English and math, competitive colleges also look for advanced science and social science classes, as well as some foreign language courses.

May

  • If you’re old enough to get a summer job, try it. You can get good experience and save money for college. Not old enough? Consider volunteering or enrolling in an educational summer camp.

June

  • Research careers and talk to your parents or other adults about your interests and goals. Find opportunities to meet people working in the professions that you think may interest you.

July

  • Read for pleasure and, while you’re at it, learn the unfamiliar words. Vocabulary skills come in very handy on the SAT—and in college, too.

August

  • It’s ok to take some time off and relax, especially if you’ve been having a productive summer.

Information adapted from U.S. News and World Report.

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