Students and Parents are invited to an evening program called “Get the most of the High School Years,” which focuses on how students can prepare for high school and how parents can provide support as they make decisions regarding course selection and extracurricular activities.
Although Upper School students won't enter into the formal portion of our college counseling curriculum until their junior year, we know that students and families may have college-related questions well before that. As a veteran of the College Counseling department and a former admissions officer at a highly selective university, Dr. Cooper is uniquely well-qualified to offer advice and insight as well as address any questions that underclassmen and/or their parents may have. Prior to the all-class "college kickoff" meeting junior year, Upper School students and their parents who have questions about summer opportunities, future course selections, and/or strategic approaches to standardized testing are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Cooper to schedule an appointment. In addition, college admissions planning events and programs will be announced throughout the school year.
Dr. Cooper's approach is to provide information while encouraging students to remain engaged and active in their high school experience. Participating in a new club, sport or community service opportunity are just a few examples of how students can develop new skills and grow as a leader within our community.
In mid-March of the junior year, students meet in a classroom setting once every six days during the rotating 4th period to begin discussing the college process. The curriculum includes information that will help students get the most out of a college visit, design an impressive college resume and learn the best way to choose teachers for "teacher recommendations." Students also develop preliminary college lists and begin learning about the application process. In general, this is a time for juniors to speak with current seniors about their plans and think about who they are and why they want to go to college.
- Speak with current seniors about their plans.
- Think about who you are, what you care about, and why you want to go to college.
- Take the PSAT.
- Receive results of the PSAT shortly before winter break.
- If planning to take the SAT I on March 11, register by February 13.
- If planning to take the ACT on April 18, register by March 13.
- Attend initial evening college meeting with your parents.
- Explore summer opportunities. See Dr. Cooper and/or the RPS college counseling website for materials and suggestions.
- After completing student and parent questionnaires, meet with your college counselor to discuss goals and to establish draft list of colleges to investigate.
- Discuss senior schedule with your advisor and/or a member of the college counseling staff.
- If at all possible, visit some colleges during Spring Break. Keep a journal of your impressions, ask questions, and take pictures.
- Students, meet your college counselor for a mock interview; this gives you practice, and offers your college counselor an opportunity to gather information for your recommendation letter.
- Attend Junior Seminar.
- SAT Reasoning is on March 11; ACT is on April 9.
- If planning to take SAT Reasoning or Subject Tests on May 7, register by April 8th.
- Attend regional College Fairs
- If planning to take SAT Reasoning or Subject Tests on June 4, register by May 6. If planning to take ACT on June 11, register by May 6.
- SAT Reasoning/SAT Subject test date is May 7.
- Advanced Placement Exams are in the first half of May.
- Work on a list of colleges to visit during summer. Sign up online to request information. Set up visits and schedule interviews.
- Ask two teachers to sign the form that commits them to supporting your candidacy by writing letters of recommendations.
- SAT Reasoning/SAT Subject test date is June 4; ACT is June 11.
- Visit colleges! Update journal, compare colleges, discuss your reactions and opinions with family and trusted friends.
- Narrow list to about 6-10 colleges. Be sure to include a range of selectivity.
- Plan to draft application essays; the Common App goes "live" August 1; create an account and begin working on your first applications.
- Attend summer “Application Bootcamp” workshops at Rutgers Prep if possible.
- Plan fall visits (campus interviews, events, tours) & your testing schedule.
Through the first semester of the senior year, students continue to meet in groups as they focus on essay writing, information on completing applications and assistance in preparing for a college interview. Students also receive feedback on drafts of their essays and are encouraged to participate in a mock interview in anticipation of the college interviews to come.
In the spring of the senior year, students will meet for several seminars to address the issues related to leaving home and establishing independence as they begin a "new life" in college. Outside professionally trained speakers come to campus to address potential "pitfalls" that students will face in their residence halls and around campus.
- Sign up for email lists and & campus visits if you have not already done so.
- Watch for announcements re: summer essay workshops.
- Attend the Senior Retreat and Senior Seminar.
- Meet with college representatives who visit RPS. (A full list of scheduled visits will be accessible via your Family Connection account, which you’ll access after your Family Meeting.)
- Meet with your college counselor to finalize your college list.
- Begin writing application essays if you haven't already done so.
- Register by Sept. 1 for October 1 SAT; ACT exam is Sept. 10.
- Review transcript for accuracy; see "Mrs. I" to approve information or request additions or corrections.
- Confirm with the two teachers you spoke with in May that they are still planning to write your recommendations; provide them with your first application deadline.
- If planning to take SAT's on November 5, register by the end of September. (November is typically the last acceptable test date for early action/early decision applications.
- Begin to activate applications to colleges with rolling admissions.
- All applications with a college deadline of Oct 15 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff no later than October 1st.
- The fall SAT test date is October 1; ACT is offered Sept. 10 and Oct. 22.
- All applications with a college deadline of November 1 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff no later than October 17.
- If planning to take an SAT exam on December 3, register by mid-October.
- All applications with a college deadline of November 15 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff no later than November 1.
- Review final list of colleges with your college counselor.
- The November SAT I/SAT II test date is November 5.
- Applications with a deadline of December 1 must be submitted to a member of the college counseling staff no later than November 15.
- Applications with a deadline of December 15 must be activated in the Upper School Office no later than December 1.
- Applications with a deadline anytime in January must be activated in the Upper School Office no later than December 1.
- The SAT I/SAT II test date is Dec. 3; the ACT test date is Dec. 10.
- If planning to take an SAT test in January, 2016, register by mid-December.
- We strongly encourage students to complete all applications before the winter break in order to avoid a conflict with exams in January. (See reminder re: midyear grades under February.)
- Applications with a deadline of February 1 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff by January 13. All remaining applications must also be activated at this time.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS Profile (if required) if planning to apply for financial aid. International students should check their colleges' websites for Certification of Finances forms applicable to them.
- SAT I/SAT II tests are typically also offered in late January.
- REMINDER: Seniors' mid-year grades are sent by the College Counseling Office to all colleges to which each student has applied.
- Colleges will notify students of their decisions.
- Students may want to visit schools where they've been accepted.
- Make your final college choice. Inform only one college that you plan to attend. Send your regrets to the rest. In general, you should plan to notify colleges of your decision no later than May 1.
- Advanced Placement Exams take place in early May.
- Graduate! Your final transcript will be forwarded to the college you have chosen to attend.
We hope that you'll share your successes with us and return to Rutgers Prep to visit.