Start looking for scholarships now – even if you aren’t the star student or star athlete. Some scholarships aren’t based on merit. And some application deadlines are early in the senior year, so you will want plenty of time. You can find scholarships anywhere:
Ask your counselor
Look for newspaper announcements of scholarship recipients
Ask family members to find out if there are scholarships offered by their employers or by organizations they belong to. If you have a job, ask your employer about scholarship opportunities available to you through your company.
Talk to seniors about scholarships they received.
Keep saving money for college. If you haven’t been saving, start now – every little bit helps.
Classes and Tests
Make sure you’re taking the challenging courses that will put you on track to be college-ready. These include challenging core courses (math, English, science, and social science) and the right electives (foreign language, computer, arts, etc.).
Talk to your counselor to make sure you’re on track.
At the end of the 11th grade year, select 12th grade courses that will keep you on track to be college-ready. EVEN if you have completed all the courses needed for graduation and for college, you should still take advanced courses your senior year. With math and other subjects, you use it or lose it.
If you excel in a subject, take the AP exams at the end of the year. Even if your school doesn’t offer AP courses, or if you home-school, you can still take the AP exams.
Take the PSAT/NMSQT or ACT PLAN Assessment test in the fall. They are great practice for college entrance exams (SAT or ACT), and good scores could earn you a scholarship. The National Merit Scholarship program is based on the PSAT.
Take the ACT in the spring of 11th grade, if possible. Some colleges, especially out-of-state, prefer or require the SAT I, so be aware that you may need to take it as well.
Stay focused, and keep up your grades. High school grades are very important to some schools.
Career and College Prep
Continue to learn about colleges in Mississippi.
During the spring and summer, try to visit the campuses of the colleges you’re interested in.
Continue talking to your high school counselor, your family, and your friends about your plans for the future. Ask your high school counselor for suggestions of colleges you should consider based on major, scholarships, and location.
Update your college file at the end of each marking period. Now create files on each school that appeals to you, and include the catalogs you pick up at college fairs, campus visits, or receive via mail.
Keep using the online Choices program, offered through Mississippi’s public high schools. It offers a lot of useful career planning info.
Research the admission criteria for your top school choices. Evaluate where you stand in relation to those requirements.
Learn as much as you can about the careers that interest you and the skills you’ll need to succeed in your choice career.
Look for job-shadowing opportunities, such as “bring your child to work day.”
Sign up for career-based programs and summer camps for high-school students at Mississippi colleges – there are lots of fun options.
Out of the Classroom
Participate in music, art, clubs, sports, or other activities, and pursue leadership positions when possible. Extracurricular activities help you figure out what you do and don’t like. You’ll meet new people, learn new things, and develop skills in leadership and teamwork. They also make you a well-rounded person.
Volunteer. Volunteering is not only a wonderful way to give back to the community, but volunteering gives you an avenue for exploring different types of work environments.
Try to limit TV, video games, and computer time. Sounds like no fun, but your future successful self will thank you.
Look into summer camps and other programs held at Mississippi colleges and universities. Being on a university campus is fun, and you’ll likely learn a lot about yourself.
Attend college fairs and presentations by college representatives. Listen to your school’s announcements for information about dates for these events.
Fill out inquiry cards from colleges so they can mail you a catalog and an application.
Visit college campuses. While you are there, take campus tours, visit with advisers and faculty, and pick up enrollment and financial aid information.