College Planning


Our Seniors' College Acceptances:

University of California at Irvine seal


Rawson Saunders Pre-Planning for College

Lower School (grades 1-5)

Rawson Saunders begins preparing students for college from the first grade onward:

  • Strong study and organizational skills are essential components of our curriculum from day one.
  • Our students become effective, proficient—and even excellent—writers through systematic instruction that evolves and expands with our students as they progress through their Academic Language Therapy and Language Arts programs.

Middle School (grades 6-8)

Middle School students refine and solidify their writing and study skills to fully prepare them for the demands of Upper School and beyond and also benefit from college visit experiences:

  • Writers' Workshop is a an intensive program for all Middle Schools students in which creative and critical writing skills are honed.
  • Rawson Saunders schedules college tours to coincide with Middle School school field trips (local and out-of-state) so that our Middle Schoolers can start to consider and compare options. 


Planning for College in the Rawson Saunders Upper School

9th Grade

School Year

  • Explore interests
  • Develop study skills
  • Make grades a priority
  • Start college résumé:
    • activities 
    • awards
    • clubs
    • community service
    • extracurriculars
    • honors
    • leadership
    • sports
    • talents/skills
    • work or volunteer experience


  • Volunteer or get a summer job
  • Continue to explore and develop interests
  • Apply for accommodations with the College Board (PSAT/SAT) and with ACT if planning on taking these standardized tests

10th Grade

School Year

  • Develop and expand interests
  • Maintain good grades
  • Increase involvement in extracurriculars
  • Demonstrate leadership
  • Update college résumé with this year's achievements
  • Take the PSAT


  • Arrange to have psychoeducational testing updated if needed (colleges require recent documentation—within the past 3 years—to qualify for accommodations)
  • Prepare for SAT and/or ACT test and register to take the test in the fall and/or spring
  • Research colleges and create a list by preference; note pros and cons
  • Volunteer or get a summer job

11th Grade

School Year

  • Narrow search, visit colleges, and speak with college reps
  • Make sure all graduation requirements are being met
  • Maintain good grades
  • Continue extracurriculars and look for new opportunities to demonstrate:
    • leadership
    • talents/skills
    • community involvement
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT test (with needed accommodations in place)
  • Consider which teachers to ask for letters of recommendation
  • Update college résumé with this year's achievements


  • Review Common App, Apply Texas or individual college application requirements and
    • Start college essays (review the prompts)
    • Begin applications
  • Register and take/retake SAT and/or ACT

12th Grade


  • Request required recommendation letters from teachers
  • Interview with college admissions reps (required if opting for test-optional)
  • Finalize résumé and essays (attending a college essay workshop is highly recommended)
  • Complete and submit applications—typically  November 1 for early notification; February 1 for regular notification
  • Complete the FAFSA with parents (required for need-based and merit aid) once applications have been submitted


  • Review acceptances—compare financial aid packages, support programs, pros/cons
  • Attend accepted student events to help determine the final decision
  • Commit to a college after carefully assessing all the options—decisions/deposits are typically required no later than May 1
  • Contact the support services office and provide documentation to request accommodations


Important Notes about Testing:



Psychoeducational Evaluations identify dyslexia and/or other learning differences. Colleges require recent documentation—within the last 3 years—to qualify for accommodations (such as extra time on tests). Arrange to have psychoeducational testing updated, if needed, by 11th grade.



Many colleges are now "test-optional" meaning students are no longer required to take or submit SAT and/or ACT scores to be accepted. Students will need to research the SAT/ACT policies of the colleges they are interested in attending and decide whether or not to:

  • Apply for SAT and/or ACT accommodations (9th grade)
  • Prepare for SAT and/or ACT testing (10th-11th grade)
  • Register for the SAT and/or ACT test (10th-11th grade)
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT (11th-12th grade)