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College Planning Timeline



  • Sign up for strong classes and make studying your number-one priority.
  • Work to your potential because the grades that you earn become part of your Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • Participate in extra-curricular activities.
  • Begin to work on your service-hour commitment for graduation.
  • Make your summer "meaningful".   Consider summer school, a part-time job, volunteer work, enrichment opportunities.
  • Sign up for strong courses for 10th grade.  Do you need to go to summer school?
  • When on vacation, drive through and walk around college campuses just to get the feel of a large school, a small school, a far-away school, different types of campuses, etc.

10th GRADE

  • Take strong courses and continue to work to your full potential.
  • Be a self-advocate, attend tutorials and do not let yourself fall behind in your classes.  Meet with teachers, when needed, to review course work, tests and other academic work to "learn from your performance".
  • Attend College Night.  Begin to consider the various types of colleges available and the types of programs that they offer.
  • Sign up for the PSAT through a summer mailing usually sent in late July by Sammie Walker, Testing Coordinator. 
  • Take the PSAT in October (10/21/03).  You do not need to take a preparatory course for this test in the sophomore year.
  • Students who qualify for Special Education or ADA accommodations and need those on the PSAT must see their counselor in late August or early September to apply for them.  Application deadline is usually around September 10th.  A student must be "using the accommodations on a regular basis in the classroom" to meet College Board guidelines for special testing.
  • Use the results of the PSAT to determine strengths and weaknesses in writing, verbal and math skills.
  • Begin to visit colleges informally whenever you are near one during a family trip or vacation.
  • Make your summer "meaningful".  Summer experiences are invaluable for personal growth and add depth to a resume.
  • Be your own best advocate.
  • Work on service hours.  Many college or scholarship applications have major sections or their focus on community service.
  • Take the TAKS seriously in February/April.

11th GRADE

  • Focus firmly on grades.  This is the last year to acquire a strong GPA for college admissions applications next fall.
  • Consider a PSAT prep course based on 10th grade results if they showed potential for National Merit consideration.  Otherwise, use the 11th grade PSAT as a baseline score from which to prep for next spring’s SAT’s and ACT’s.
  • Apply in early September for special test accommodations if you regularly use them in class & need them for the PSAT.
  • Attend College Night.  Talk to college representatives and begin to establish contact with various schools of interest to you.
  • Talk with college representatives when they visit the high school.  They can eventually be your "best friends" at the college admission selection table when applications are reviewed.
  • Sign up for the PSAT through a summer mailing usually sent in late July by Sammie Walker, Testing Coordinator.
  • Take the PSAT in October (10/21/03).  National Merit Scholarship Competition is determined from the junior-year PSAT.
  • Consider an SAT/ACT prep course after receiving PSAT scores in December.  PSAT scores can be used as SAT predictors within approximate ranges.  They can also indicate areas of strength and weakness that students can work on before taking the first SAT and ACT during the latter part of the junior year.
  • Complete a credit check with your counselor.  Get on the Internet and review specific course requirements for admission at colleges of interest to you.  You’ll be better prepared to select appropriate senior-year courses if you do this research early.
  • Register for strong senior classes.  Course selection is very important to most colleges.  They want to see you challenging yourself in the classroom.  Your senior year schedule will be submitted as part of your college applications next fall.
  • Sign up to take both the SAT and the ACT in the spring of the junior year.  You can retest in the fall of the senior year.
  • Check with your counselor for additional application forms if you regularly use and will need special test accommodations.
  • Take SAT II’s at the end of your junior year if appropriate (based on your future college plans).
  • Continue to work on service hours.  Consider running for leadership positions during your senior year.
  • Get on the Internet and "investigate" the college home pages. Go to         You can get to any college home page in the country through this website.
  • Visit college campuses.  Begin to narrow down choices. (Juniors are allowed 4 days for college visits. See Handbook for details.)
  • Take the TAKS seriously in February/April.
  • Make your summer "meaningful".  Consider internships, enrichment programs on college campuses, work experiences, etc.
  • Begin to develop your resume.

12th GRADE

  • Sign up for the SAT, ACT or SAT II’s if necessary.  Continue test prep if appropriate.
  • Make plans to visit college campuses of interest to you. (Seniors are allowed 4 days for college visits. See Handbook for details.)
  • Attend the senior group meeting with counselors for admission tips and to review the college application process at HPHS.
  • Become aware of application deadlines.  Meet with your counselor to finalize college application choices.
  • Follow application directions for each college and mail all applications on time (preferably by December 1st).
  • Check on the financial aid and scholarship process at the colleges you are considering.  Meet application deadlines.
  • Read the HPHS Senior Scot News every month to keep abreast of college admission information, scholarship opportunities, senior-year news, graduation information and transition tips for moving from high school to college.
  • Finish the senior year strong.  College admission is based on "successful completion of high school".
  • Enjoy your senior year!  You’ve earned it!                                                                                                    Revised 1/21/03

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