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Higher Education in Maryland

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What should I do now?



9th Grade                                                                               

  • Start to consider your goals and what kind of education you'll need to reach them.
  • Enroll in challenging courses.  Get help when you need it.
  • Develop good study habits.  Ask your teachers or counselors for hints on how to do this.
  • Take advantage of school programs such as tutoring, writing centers, and summer enrichment programs that can help you do your best.
  • Talk to adults in your school and community about their college experiences.
  • Get involved in school life.  Participate in extracurricular activities.

10th Grade                                                                                  

  • Enroll in challenging courses, especially those courses colleges consider for admission.  Plan ahead: make sure you will have completed algebra II and geometry by the end of the 11th grade.

11th Grade                                                                                  

  • Enroll in an SAT prep course if offered.
  • Talk to your guidance counselor about colleges you might like to attend.  He or she may have information available to help you develop a plan to get there.
  • Research schools at the library and on the internet.
  • Investigate financial aid opportunities:  scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • Take the PSAT in the fall for more practice.
  • Take the SAT in the spring.
  • Collect all the information you can from those colleges you are interested in.  Attend college open houses if possible to visit colleges in your area.  Begin to rank the colleges you think you'd like to attend.
  • Start to put together your resume.  Organize the information that is likely to be requested on college applications.
  • Check out the college application process.  This summer, start working on any essays you might need to write (it is never too early to start).
  • Continue to do your best in your classes.  Enroll in AP courses in your best subjects if they are available.
  • Search for various scholarship programs.
  • Learn about the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Choose courses for your senior year that are challenging and that showcase your academic abilities.
  • Look for summer internships that will provide you with the opportunity to explore your interests and gain experience.

12th Grade                                                                                  

  • In the fall, complete college applicants for at least 4 to 6 schools you would like to attend.  Request letters of recommendation from your teachers as the applications require.  Let your school counselor know when you are submitting these so he or she can submit transcripts and letters of recommendation.
  • In the fall, retake the SAT if you think you can improve your scores from last year.
  • Get organized!  Set up your own system of tracking deadlines for making decisions, finishing tasks, and mailing out appropriate materials such as test registrations, college applications, financial aid forms, etc.
  • Check with your guidance counselor to find out when college representatives are visiting school.  Meet these representatives to get more information about schools that interest you.
  • Check with colleges you apply to about their financial application deadlines.
  • Visit the top schools on your list.  Attend their scheduled "open house" days so you can take advantage of the activities they've scheduled to introduce you to the school.
  • After January 1st, encourage your parents to complete the FAFSA.  Submit it before March 1st.
  • Seek out and submit scholarship and grant applications from the federal government, state agencies, private foundations, and individual institutions.
  • As you begin to receive letters from colleges, organize them.  Make your final decision.
  • Enjoy your last year of high school!

Need more help?
Start preparing NOW.  Start thinking about your goals and dreams.  What do you want to achieve, and what do you need to achieve? Use your resources.  High school guidance counselors, college admission officers, librarians, and the internet all can provide you with more information.  Here are some interesting books and websites to check out about colleges and getting money for college:

The Kids College Almanac:  A First Look At College by Barbara C. Greenfield and Robert A. Weinstein.

The U.S. Department of Education offers numerous publications and Web sites to help you:  http://www.ed.gov

www.CollegeIsPossible.org is a Web site for parents and students with links to more sources of information.

The College Board provides information about the SAT plus lots of other general information free to parents, students, and colleges:  www.collegeboard.com

The Maryland State Department of Education's Web site, www.marylandpublicschools.org offers information geared to parents, students, and teachers.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission offers information about colleges and universities and financial aid:  www.MDgo4it.org

The Maryland Business Roundtable for Education has a great Web site for teens, www.BeWhatIWantToBe.com, that lets them explore exciting careers and what it takes to qualify for them.

FAFSA on the Web:  http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. This form can be completed online or a paper application can be obtained by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID.

For general information on federal student aid go to http://studentaid.ed.gov

FastWeb lists thousands of private scholarships:  www.fastweb.com

www.finaid.org is a comprehensive site for financial aid information.

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