11th Grade Fall Semester:
Talk to Your Teachers and Counselors
Talk to your guidance counselor or teachers about the following:
Availability of and enrollment in Advanced Placement classes
Schedules for the PSAT, SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests, ACT, and AP exams
Discuss why you should take these exams and how they could benefit you.
Determine which exams you will take. (You can always change your mind.)
Sign up and prepare for the exams you've decided to take.
Ask for a preview of your academic record and profile, determine what gaps or weaknesses there are, and get suggestions on how to strengthen your candidacy for the schools in which you are interested.
Determine what it takes to gain admission to the college(s) of your choice, in addition to GPA and test score requirements.
Obtain schedules and forms for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, and AP exams.
Register for the PSAT exam offered in October. Remember that when you take the PSAT in your junior year, the scores will count towards the National Achievement Program (and it is good practice for the SAT Reasoning Test).
Take the PSAT. Narrow your list of colleges to include a few colleges with requirements at your current GPA, a few with requirements above your current GPA, and at least one with requirements below your GPA Your list should contain approximately 8-12 schools you are seriously considering. Start researching your federal financial aid options and private financial aid programs as well.
Begin scheduling interviews with admissions counselors. If possible, schedule tours of the school grounds on the same days. You and your parent(s) may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation, so that you do not have to miss school. Some high schools consider a campus visit an excused absence, however, so if need be, you may be able to schedule interviews and visits during the school year, without incurring any penalties.
Review your PSAT results with your counselor, in order to identify your strengths and to determine the areas that you may need to improve upon.
You will receive your scores from the October PSAT. Depending on the results, you may want to consider signing up for an SAT preparatory course. Many high schools offer short-term preparatory classes or seminars on the various exams, which tell the students what to expect and can actually help to boost their scores.