College Planning To-Dos

Opportunities: Preparing for College guide and workbook

These links take you to an excellent college-planning tool produced by the Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) Group: English version (2021-22), versión en español (2020-21)

Timeline for College Planning

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Every Year | Freshman Year | Sophomore Year | Junior Year | Senior Year

Every Year

  • Do your best in all class work; establish and maintain strong study habits and time management skills.
  • Participate in student/parent college and career planning opportunities including the Beyond South evening presentations.
  • Develop a reading plan that includes newspapers, magazines, and books. Reading a variety of sources and materials helps prepare you for the SAT and ACT reading sections, college application essays, college, itself, and being a knowledgeable member of society.
  • Be sure to track all activities on your Activity Record when you’re working on your Career Center projects. You will need the information later for scholarship, college, and job applications.


Freshman Year

  • Enjoy school! This is a place where you are developing as a student and a person.
  • Take your grades seriously. Freshman year counts!
  • Visit the Career Center and familiarize yourself with its resources for planning your future. This includes the College and Career Center web pages and the Career Center Check In in South’s e-newsletter.
  • Join or start a club. Try new extracurricular activities; it’s a great time to explore.
  • Keep your attendance record up and your behavior record clean.
  • Explore some community-service activities. Not only does this help out your community, it also builds your resume.
  • Attend Freshman/Sophomore Night in December.
  • Make sure you complete your Freshman Project in the Career Center.
  • Visit college campuses when your travels take you near them.
  • Begin having open and honest discussions with your parents about college financing.
  • Review your curriculum plan in the winter. Ensure that your scheduling requests for sophomore year meet your career/education goals.
  • Use your summer well: volunteer, work, travel, develop new skills, read.


Sophomore Year

  • Stay focused on your schoolwork.
  • Consider your interests and how they relate to possible career options.Image result for college clip art
  • Use the Career Center resources to research post-high school opportunities.
  • Continue to visit colleges when your travels take you near them. Learn what your preferences are for different college characteristics.
  • Involve yourself in meaningful community service.
  • Take the PSAT at school in October. Review results when they’re publicized in December. Focus on areas to improve to prepare for the SAT. Don’t forget to link your PSAT results to the Khan Academy for free, customized SAT prep.
  • Attend Freshman/Sophomore Night in December.
  • Complete your Sophomore Project in the Career Center beginning in February/March.
  • Plan junior year courses carefully. College entrance requirements may differ from high-school graduation requirements. Also, some courses required for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Projects or Career-Aligned Mastery (CAM) Projects (two of the Senior Project options) may need to be taken in the junior year.
  • Consider applying for the National Honor Society in March. It requires a 3.6 GPA, evidence of community service, leadership experience, and good character.
  • Attend your Sophomore Conference in the Career Center in the spring.
  • Take AP Tests and SAT Subject Tests in the spring of the same year you take those classes.
  • Plan interesting summer activities, including new learning opportunities, volunteering, work, and plenty of reading.


Junior Year

  • Participate in extra-curricular, community-service, and leadership activities that reflect your academic, personal, and career choices.  Keep track of the hours you spend on these activities. In the time of Covid, this recommendation becomes more difficult, but not impossible. You may have to be creative to find safe ways to stay active.
  • Research colleges. Use college websites, reference books, virtual college fairs, alumni interviews, reputable social-media sites, college search sites like Big Future College Search, and subjective college review sites like Unigo.
  • Research careers. Use Elevate Lane County’s website and calendar to register for career activities that interest you.
  • Attend virtual college and career visits, mostly during trimester 1.
  • Investigate college costs and financial-aid and scholarship opportunities on your colleges’ websites, at Financial Aid Night (live on October 7, 2021 or as a recording), or with the career center webpages.
  • Take the PSAT during the school day on October 13, 2021 if competing for a National Merit Scholarship or if you want to practice for the SAT. Find your PSAT results in your College Board account in early December, and link them to the Khan Academy to generate a customized study program for the SAT.
  • Review the SEHS Virtual Junior/Senior Resources page with your family beginning Wednesday, October 27.  They’ll include recordings/readings to help prepare you for life after South.
  • Complete your Junior Project Canvas course beginning in November. It contains great opportunities to explore your education and career plans. Plus, it’s a graduation requirement!
  • Sign up during trimester 2 for your Junior Conference/Interview in the counseling center (to take place after winter break) with your counselor, Juli McGlinsky (A-F), Michael Leahy (G-N), or Shantel Buss (O-Z). Parents are welcome.
  • National Honor Society applications usually are available in early March. If you have a 3.6 GPA, volunteer experience, and leadership experience, consider applying.
  • If you decide to apply to a school that will require an SAT/ACT, plan to take one by spring break of your junior year. Also plan to take one if you want to apply to highly-selective, highly-competitive schools, even if they don’t require the tests, if you think you can get a high score.  (None of the Oregon public colleges and universities require an SAT/ACT anymore.) Watch the ACT, SAT, and SEHS websites for updates. Plan to take AP, and/or IB exams in the spring.
  • Participate in virtual or live campus visits and other events offered by schools you’re interested in. 4J’s spring and summer breaks are a good time for live campus visits, especially if the college is in session when you’re visiting.
  • Attend Willamette Valley College Info Night in the spring (date and place TBD) to explore Oregon college options.
  • Attend the Rising Senior meeting in April. It will give you important information about your senior year, including Senior Project expectations.
  • Begin identifying teachers from whom to request recommendations next year. Some teachers are asked to write many letters of recommendation. You may need to arrange with these teachers during the spring of your junior year to be on their list of recommendees for next year.
  • Plan meaningful summer activities. Get a job. Do community service. Travel. Participate in an internship. Retake the SAT or ACT if necessary. Start writing college essays. The Common App opens in August.


Senior Year

  • Use your SEHS Senior Planning Timeline to guide you through post-high school planning.
  • Get organized; develop a schedule with application deadlines, scholarship due dates, etc.
  • Attend Financial Aid Night in October.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in October. This includes creating your electronic signature, also known as your FSA ID. Check college websites to see if your schools also require the CSS Profile.
  • Male students must register at age 18 for the Selective Service before submitting the FAFSA. You may do this via a link within your FAFSA.
  • Sign up for and attend your Senior Conference.
  • Complete your Senior Project early.
  • Take or retake the SAT or ACT in the fall if necessary.
  • Attend Junior/Senior Night in October.
  • Attend college visits in the Career Center during the fall. Ask thoughtful questions of the college reps, and remember that the rep you’re talking to may be the person who reads your application for admission.
  • Narrow your list of colleges to five to ten schools including ‘Reach,’ ‘Probable,’ and ‘Safety’ schools.
  • Arrange with teachers for letters of recommendation at least two weeks (and preferably four weeks) before you need them.
  • If you plan to apply to a four-year college/university, visit the CLASS OF 2021 page on South’s website and follow the process laid out there. This is where you’ll arrange for any communications between your colleges and SEHS required by your applications (transcripts, letters of recommendation, matching the Common App to Naviance, etc.). Leann Hollenbeak (, 541-790-8013), Counseling Center secretary, is also available to help with this process.
  • Complete admissions applications and essays.
  • Keep your Naviance account current.
  • Regularly check the scholarship postings (found on school bulletin boards, in South’s e-newsletter, in announcements, and on South’s scholarship webpage).
  • Update colleges with your grades after applying. Colleges may rescind acceptance if grades drop.
  • Write thank-you notes to those who wrote recommendations, offered you scholarships, or otherwise supported you.
  • Choose your college; notify all schools that accepted you. Send deposits and final transcripts.
  • Good luck! You’re off on a new adventure!
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