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  • Naisha Chowdhury

Navigating the College Search

What to do each year:

9th Grade:

  • Make a list of your awards, honors, extracurricular activities, and paid and volunteer work.

  • Consider participating in academic enrichment programs, summer workshops, and camps with specialty focuses such as engineering, history, arts, or science.

  • Pursue challenging coursework - colleges consider the rigor of your classes.

  • Build a routine, learn to manage your time, and develop study habits

  • Connect to a meaningful volunteer/community engagement opportunity.

  • Meet with your college counselor.

10th Grade:

  • Meet with your college counselor to discuss colleges and their admissions requirements

  • Plan to use your summer wisely: Work, volunteer, or take a summer course (away from home or at local college)

  • Utilize college search engines such as College Board’s “Big Future”

  • Continue to take challenging coursework

  • Participate in ACT/SAT Prep workshops - PVS sophomores are required to take the ACT or SAT by the end of the academic year

  • Continue to engage in a meaningful service/community involvement opportunity

  • Continue to track awards, activities, and community involvement

  • Attend college fairs

11th Grade:

  • Go to college fairs and college-preparation presentations hosted by college representatives

  • Continue preparing for and taking the ACT/SAT

  • Continue to take challenging coursework

  • Get information about federal student aid programs at

  • Continue engagement in a meaningful service/community involvement opportunity

  • Continue to track awards, activities, and community involvement

  • Research internships/summer programs

  • Prepare Common Application Essay

12th Grade:

  • Work hard all the way to graduation---second-semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility

  • Revise your Common App essay and any supplemental essays

  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities, and seek leadership roles if possible.

  • As soon as possible after its Oct 1 release, complete and submit your Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at, along with any other financial aid applications your chosen school(s) may require. You should submit your FAFSA by the earliest financial aid deadline of the schools to which you are applying, usually by early February.

  • Some schools will require you to complete the CSS Profile, which provides a more comprehensive overview of the family’s financial situation.

  • Apply to the colleges you have chosen. Prepare your applications carefully. Follow the instructions, and PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DEADLINES!

  • Well before your college application deadline, ask your counselor and teachers to submit the required documents to the colleges to which you are applying.

  • Apply for scholarships and for individual schools’ scholarships. Be sure that you have options.

College Visits:

Our Falafel and the Future Program continues virtually this year! For the past three years, this program has enabled us to connect our juniors and seniors to college admissions counselors from around the country. This year, because our sessions will be virtual, we are able to invite sophomores, juniors, seniors, and parents. Please contact Mrs. Alejo ( if you are interested in attending these sessions. We will post monthly schedules for college visits in each Panther's Post issue.


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