College Planning

   

Important Notes about Testing:

 

PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL TESTING / EVALUATIONS

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.

 

SAT AND ACT STANDARDIZED TESTS

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)

  

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 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

Summer

  • 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

Summer

  • 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

Summer

  • 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

Fall

  • 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

Spring

  • 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

  

How to narrow the search and make the big decision:
 
  • Compare student support services and programs—accommodations for learning differences, academic success mentors and guidance, options for tutoring, study labs, writing centers, counseling, as well as accessibility to health services
     
  • Compare the programs related to your interests
     
  • Review the general requirements for graduation and specific requirements for possible majors/minors
     
  • Compare costs—tuition, room/board costs, and amount of financial aid available
     
  • Compare housing/dorm options—spend the night if possible
     
  • Consider the size of the school—number of students, size of the campus, student-teacher ratio, and average individual class size
     
  • Explore extracurricular opportunities on campus and ways to get involved—clubs, sports, affinity groups, Greek life
     
  • Consider the diversity of the student body and faculty
     
  • Inquire about study abroad and research opportunities
     
  • Attend events—campus tours, information sessions, special events, accepted student days—and talk to admission reps, current students, and faculty
     
  • Consider the location and distance from home
     
  • Explore the surrounding town/city and nearby amenities