Jill Haley: ‘Beyond High School’ | TheUnion.com

Jill Haley: ‘Beyond High School’

Jill Haley
Columnist

Photo for The Union John Hart

Nevada Union High School sponsored an evening of information called "Beyond High School" last month. For those of you who were not able to make it, or need a recap, here are some of the most important information you should know.

Choosing the right high school courses is a must. Colleges require a sequence of classes, called "A-G classes," to be eligible for admissions. These courses include world language, lab science, math, history, English and the visual and preforming arts. Without these required classes, four-year colleges will not consider you as a potential candidate for admissions.

Consult your high school's website to access their list of A-G classes.

College admissions tests are still required for most four-year colleges. Students must take either the SAT or ACT to be admitted. These tests are given throughout the year at area high schools. Colleges do not have a preference of which test you take.

A good schedule to follow is for students to take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) in October of 10th and 11th grade. This test will not be seen by colleges and is a good way for students to practice for the real thing. The PreACT can only be taken in the 10th grade year is practice for the ACT test and has a career readiness section.

Students can begin taking the actual SAT/ACT in the winter and fall of the junior year. If students are not satisfied with their scores, they can then re-take the tests in the fall of their senior year.

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The College Board (SAT) and Khan Academy have teamed up to provide test prep to all students at no cost.

Of increasing importance in the college admissions process is the college essay. Required of all colleges who do holistic review, such as the University of California, the essay can be pivotal in admissions.

The essay sets students apart from other students with similar GPAs and test scores. Remember that the whole purpose of the essay is for a college to get to know your unique abilities and how you might contribute to their campus.

Extra-curricular activities are important to many colleges. Students will need to record the activities and the hours they spent participating. Any leadership roles or honors will stand out on the application.

As some colleges become more selective in who they admit, students are applying to more colleges. More than half of all seniors submitted seven or more college applications.

With so many applications coming in, college admission's folks are unsure who will accept their offer of admissions. This has brought about the use of wait-lists. Nearly half of all the colleges and universities now use wait-lists putting many students in limbo.

Starting early on the college search and applications is a must as many application dates continue to get earlier. Rising seniors should plan to spend the summer before their senior year working on parts of the applications such as the essay.

There are many wonderful colleges out there and a lot of valuable resources to help you through the process.

Jill Haley is a retired high school counselor who now works as an independent college counselor. She can be reached at http://www.getyouintocollege.com or jillncca@gmail.com.

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