It is never too early to start planning for your future. Here are some guidelines by high school year that may assist you in exploring career and college choices. The underlined words are links to resources to support you - from SAT prep to financial aid webinars to MHS school counseling-specific forms. No matter what you plan to do after high school, school counselors are here to support you.
Meet your school counselor to review course options that are appropriate and challenging.
Begin to understand that what you do in school matters, even this early.
Stay involved by signing up for extracurricular activities.
Participate in leadership and community service activities.
Look at general college requirements and explore college websites to gain insight.
Work on a financial plan for college that will work for you and your family.
Create a MEFA Pathway account, which you can use for career interest inventories, college searches, and much more.
Stay busy over the summer! Participate in camps or activities, get a job, and do summer reading.
Begin to discuss plans with your school counselor, whether you are thinking about college, careers, or the military.
Choose electives that reflect your interests and are challenging.
Take practice college entrance exams, like the PSAT. MHS offers this to sophomores who choose to take it in October.
Stay involved with all extracurricular, leadership and community service activities.
Take the time to look more closely at some colleges and careers that interest you. Maybe visit a school.
Start the college search by narrowing down options based on your interests, where you might want to go to school, and more. College Board and MEFA Pathway both have search functions.
Stay busy over the summer! Participate in activities, camps, internships, and jobs.
Meet with your counselor to start making specific college and career choices.
Choose classes and electives that reflect interests and are challenging.
Take the PSAT when it is offered at MHS in October.
Consider preparing for the PSAT or SAT through Khan Academy.
Visit colleges by attending college fairs, open houses and scheduled tours. Juniors are allowed two (2) excused absences for college and career fair visits in the 2nd semester.
Sign up for collegeboard.org and take the SAT and AP exams in the spring. Sign up for the ACT at actstudent.org.
If you receive free/reduced lunch, talk to your counselor about a fee waiver!
If you are considering the military, take the ASVAB test.
View our postsecondary planning presentation
Parents can make an appointment with their student's school counselor.
Start narrowing down your college list. Detailed college information can be found at the US Department of Education College Scorecard page.
As you are making your list, you could save money through NEBHE's Tuition Break if your intended major is not offered at a public university in Massachusetts.
Begin work on the college essay and your resume over the summer.
Establish a Common App account after Aug 1.
Begin applying for scholarships. Register on websites like FastWeb and Going Merry.
Stay busy over the summer! Participate in activities, internships, and jobs.
Continue to take interesting, yet challenging courses. Consider classes like VHS and Dual Enrollment.
Grades count...all year!
Follow checklists for whatever pathway you are planning to follow:
Stay organized! Have a calendar with important dates, identify a dedicated location to keep all materials, and work with your parents.
Listen to the announcements and check Google Classroom for visits from college representatives in the career center throughout the fall.
Take SAT and ACT tests in the fall and AP exams in the spring.
If you do not want to take the SAT or ACT, or do not like your scores, consider applying to test optional schools.
Complete your brag sheet and transcript request form so your counselor can write your letter of recommendation and send your transcript to schools, programs, and/or scholarships.
Ask your parent/guardian to complete the caregiver brag sheet.
Ask teachers for college recommendations early.
Work with your school counselor to make sure you have all the information you need to complete college applications.
Finalize your essay(s). Make sure at least one person proofreads each short answer or essay in your application.
Continue applying for scholarships. Check Google Classroom for local scholarship opportunities.
Attend MEFA financial planning webinars and utilize additional MEFA resources
In October, begin work on your FAFSA.
Step 1: Create an FSA ID
Step 2: Complete the FAFSA
Check colleges for additional financial aid requirements, such as the CSS profile or institutional forms.
If interested in the military, meet with recruiters to begin the process.
Talk with your parents and counselor about early action and/or early decision.
Plan official visits to colleges and interview whenever possible.
Think about supports you might need in college, such as for your mental health and/or disability support (if you have a 504 or IEP currently).
Compare financial aid packages. Check out MEFA webinars for help in determining how much you will need to pay.
If your financial situation is different than it was when you completed the FAFSA or you simply need more aid, consider appealing the financial aid package.
In the spring, share college acceptance information with your counselor for assisting in making your final decision.
Colleges need to be informed of your decision by May 1 and you will need to put down a deposit to hold your spot.
Send thank you notes to teachers who wrote recommendations for you.
Enjoy your summer and get ready to enter your post-high school life.