It is never too soon to start preparing, if you have decided to pursue your undergrad studies in the United States of America. There are so many options, to choose from – both in terms of course selection, and selecting the colleges to apply for admission.
It does help, if you start the US college admission research process soon.
If you can narrow down, your choices soon enough, and have your road map to US College admissions, your chances of getting into your dream college can increase dramatically!
Peek at this well-researched road map. It can save you a lot of stress and time.
Step-by-step Roadmap to US College Admission
Your journey to your dream US College, must be an exciting, but smooth roller-coaster ride. It is ideal to start planning, during the early high school years, as you get adjusted to the shift from middle school. Break down your preparation, into stages and focus on short-term goals.
Grade 9 and Grade 10 (Freshman and Sophomore year)
You have just started high school, and it will most probably, be a big leap from middle school years.
You may have to study, lots of material for each class, and spend a lot more time studying.
But remember these facts which are very important–
● From the very start of school, focus on cultivating good study habits. Make a schedule and stick to it.
● When in doubt, ask! Get your fundamentals right. Remember that you’ll be learning advanced concepts over the next few years, built on these basics.
It will help you immensely, to seek expert tutoring to help you to have a good grasp of the fundamentals
● You will not take any standardized tests like the SAT or ACT this year.
This is the time to build your portfolio, of extracurricular activities, join clubs or groups that interest you.
As a rule of thumb, choose quality over quantity and join a club you’d be with throughout the high school years.
Or play a sport consistently and excel in that sport. Volunteer for a cause, that you are passionate about.
● You can take the PSAT, in October during grade 10 (sophomore year) for practice.
Since the score on this PSAT doesn’t influence your college admissions, you shouldn’t worry too much about it.
Treat PSAT as a practice test ,for your SAT. The PSAT also has Math and Evidence-Based reading and writing sections.
The duration is 2 hours, 45 minutes and the maximum score possible is 1520.
American citizens, with a high Score on PSAT, can qualify for National merit scholarship.
Summer between Grade 10 – Grade 11 (freshman and sophomore years)
This is the best time for students to prepare for the SAT or ACT. Without the pressure of school work and tests, you can focus on practicing SAT sample papers regularly.
If you can score well on the standardized test in the first attempt, you can get it out of the way, and devote time to prepare for school tests and the SAT subject tests.
If you are not satisfied with the score and want to improve it, you will still have time for that. You can consult, with SAT advisors and have tutoring sessions, to improve your score.
Grade 11 (Junior year)
This is the year, for some serious research and hard work. By now, you have probably identified, the subjects that interest you most.
Create a list of possible majors at college.
● You may not be able to narrow down to your career choice yet, but this is a good time to take a career assessment test. meet the career advisors.
(Check out the links at the end of this article) to find your interests and match them with suitable careers.
The counselor at your school, can also help you with this.
● Based on your preferred majors, start researching on colleges, and create a list of prospective schools.
● You can narrow down the list, by taking care of other aspects such as tuition fee, location, diversity on campus, etc.
● American colleges, require a SAT score for sure. But some of them do accept ACT scores as well.
Though you can choose, which test score to send, keep in mind that some colleges accept only one of the two.
Find out which test score the colleges in your wish-list require.
Grade 12 (Senior year)
This is the last leg of the journey to college, and will be the busiest too!
You have to get ready, to juggle time between preparing for your school exams, your Aps, and writing those Personal Statements for colleges.
● Don’t slacken. Keep up your hard work and your GPA. If you’re struggling with a subject, don’t hesitate to seek personalized tutoring help.
● If you want to take your general SAT for one last time, do it now.
● Many students take their SAT subject tests(Mainly Physics) during senior year.
● Ask for letters of recommendation from teachers/School counselors early. Don’t wait for the last minute. Also remember to send a ‘thank you’ note to them!
● Submit your college applications on time. And you are good to go!
The 4-year-long process of planning for US College admissions, need not necessarily be a stressful one.
If you plan ahead, and follow the guidelines provided in this road map to US/abroad College admissions, you can find the journey enjoyable and exciting!