College Planning

Freshman Year

  • Meet your high school counselor.

  • Challenge yourself academically.  Slightly lower grades in challenging courses are better than higher grades in easy courses.

  • Choose elecctives carefully, ensuring that they don't replace the college-preparatory courses you need.

  • Explore career possiblities in the Career Center

  • Start thinking about which colleges suit your career interests

  • Create a file to keep - report cards, record of honors and awards, list of extracurricular acitivites, clubs or sports involvement, volunteer work, community service, and paid employment

Sophomore Year

  • Sign up for the PSAT in mid to late September in the cafeteria or counseling office

  • Continue to explore career interests and information

  • Continue saving for college

  • Participate in academic enrichment programs

  • Consider summer programs such as NC Governor's School and Summer Ventures in Math and Science (must apply through the counseling office in the fall of sophomore or junior year)

  • In the spring, if you are interested in attending a selective college, register for AP, honors, and advanced courses for 11th grade, if available.

Junior Year

  • Keep meeting with your counselor at least once a year
  • Continue to take and plan challenging course
  • Create a free My CFNC account at, if you haven't already. 
  • Keep your grades up
  • Join a club
  • Register for a college admission test.  There are two types of college admissions tests, the ACT or the SAT.  You should be academically ready to take it by spring. Also take it early in your senior year.
  • Talk with your parents and high school counselor about colleges that interest you
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask on campus visits.  Juniors are allowed two college days that does not count against their attendance.  Forms are available in the counseling office.   
  • Continue to visit colleges and talk with college students
  • Start or update a resume
  • Consider putting together a portfolio that highlights your special skills and talents
  • Complete the college comparison worksheet 
  • Investigate scholarship opportunities
  • Volunteer for activities and clubs related to career interests
  • Get a part-time job, apprenticeship, or internship; or job shadow in a profession that interests you

Senior Year

  • Asign up for the ACT or SAT (if you didn't take it as a junior, or if you aren't satisfied with your score, or if you've learned a lot since you first took it.)

August – December

  • Visit with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements (Counselors will meet with all seniors 8/26/10 and 8/27/10)
  • Review your transcript and make sure everything is correct and that you have all of the necessary credits to graduate
  • Consider taking courses at a local university or community college
  • Keep working hard all year; second semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility
  • Ask for personal references from teachers, school counselors, or employers early in the year or at least two weeks before application deadlines. Follow your our procedure for requesting recommendations. Request for Letter of Recommendation Form
  • Visit with admissions counselors who come to your high school (Check out our bulletin board outside the counseling office for dates and listen to the announcements.  Also check out the TCR homepage calendar.)
  • Attend a college fair at the Asheville Mall on 9/23/10 from 6 - 9pm.  Meet admissions representatives from 130 institutions including military, community college, private, and public institutions.
  • Begin your college essay(s)
  • Apply for admission
  • Begin work on your resume
  • Avoid common college application mistakes 
  • Find out if you qualify for scholarships at each college you have applied to
  • Start the financial aid application process 
  • See your school counselor for help finding financial aid and scholarships.  Email if you would like to receive regular scholarship email updates.

January – May

  • Complete the FAFSA 
  • Ask your guidance office in January to send first semester transcripts to schools where you applied. In May, they will need to send final transcripts to the college you will attend.
  • Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll
  • Decide which college to attend, and notify the school of your decision
  • Keep track of and observe deadlines for sending in all required fees and paperwork
  • Notify schools you will not attend of your decision
  • Continue to look for scholarship opportunities
  • Keep track of important financial aid and scholarship deadlines
  • Compare financial aid packages from different schools
  • Sign and send in a promissory note if you are borrowing money
  • Notify your college about any outside scholarships you received
Last Modified on August 23, 2010