High School Exit Plan

High School Exit Plan

The end of the year is only a stone’s throw away. Students will soon be finished with their 10th or 11th grade school year and will begin their next school year.

Before all that though, students and parents will want to collaborate to create an exit plan. This plan is a checklist of all the things to get students in position for college.

While college is still years away for current 10th grade students, the college process begins early. Students who want to get into a competitive institution need to begin breaking down their checklist.

Exit Plan For 10th Graders

When Do I Begin Looking At Colleges?

Now is a great time to begin looking into potential colleges. Students usually want to apply to colleges at the beginning of their senior year, so starting now gives a little over a year to look around.

When it comes to colleges, there are a lot of factors to consider.

What schools offer a good program for the major you want to study? How far are you willing to travel when going to college? Do you want to go to a major university or keep to a smaller school?

These are all relevant questions for those searching for a college that fits them. Really take some time to consider what type of experience you'd like to have. If you start looking now, you won’t have to rush to find what you're looking for.

Files To Obtain

There is a handful of paperwork students need to have ready for their college applications. While you won’t have an ACT or SAT score yet, there are some other files to begin compiling together.

Students will want to have all of their honors and awards ready for submission. 

Students will also benefit from finding adults willing to write them a strong recommendation. Asking a teacher ahead of time means that you're not competing for their time with other students.

And lastly, you’ll want to write down all of your activities. Colleges only have so much information on their applicants, so things like after school activities, community services, volunteer work, and afterschool jobs are helpful. These activities aid in painting a bigger picture of a student and will distinguish them from a crowd.

Looking For Scholarships

The importance of taking some time to look at scholarships and apply cannot be overstated. Going to university is an expensive choice, so looking into ways to pay for that education is incredibly helpful.

Even if you or your family is well off, scholarships are still taking a load off of you and your parents. There are thousands of scholarships out there, and whether you find them on a website online or through your school, you’ll want to apply to some of them.

While some scholarships that ask for an essay take a little longer than others, you will get compensated for your time if you apply to enough of them. Your future self will thank you.

Exit Plan For 11th Graders

What Do I Need To Do To Get Ready For College?

Now that juniors are all done with 11th grade, they're all set until graduation, right?

While there is certainly less to do for older students, there are still a few ducks they’ll want to get in a row.

A great place to start is by seeing what they have already done. 

Most juniors should already have their records ready for their college applications in the fall. They will need to provide their extracurricular activities, any awards, any honors, and at least one good recommendation.

If students already have all of these, then that's great! If a junior finds they could use an update, now is the time to get that information.

Standardized Test Scores

Another major element of the 11th grade exit plan is obtaining an ACT or SAT score.

Many of you may already be familiar with test optional college policies, which have been popularized over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many colleges have decided to move toward test-optional policies, meaning that students don’t have to submit an ACT or SAT score to apply for admission.

While this may sound like it is taking a load off of high school students. Things do not look to be changing this way long-term.

Many test Optional schools are shifting back to requiring an ACT or SAT test score for admission. As elite schools such as MIT, Purdue University, and Yale revoke their previous test-optional policies, many others schools are announcing intentions of following suit.

While certain colleges might still maintain their test-optional policies, this demonstrates a larger trend toward testing requirements.

Eleventh grade students will want to make sure they have a test score they are happy with. If they have not already taken the ACT or SAT exam, now is the time to get started. If a student has a score and wants to improve it, now is the time to schedule that retake. 

Deciding On A Path

Probably the most important thing for a junior in high school to do is to find out what they would like to pursue. Students who intend to go to college will begin applying soon, and will need to know where they want to apply to.

While hopefully students have already put some thought into this, now is the time to really sit down and pick a concrete option. A big decision like this can be intimidating, but spending too much time thinking it over without committing to an option will get you nowhere.

To pick out a school, students will want to decide what they would like to study, where they would like to go, and what type of budget they have available.

Taking the summer to go on college campus tours is a great way to get started on this choice.

Concluding Thoughts

Fortunately for 10th grade students, there is still plenty of time. If you get a head start and distribute the load, these tasks won't feel especially difficult at all.

Rather than rushing to find all the right things once you're ready to start applying, take a little time to get ahead of the curve and have your ducks in a row. Utilize your 10th grade exit plan for an easier college pathway.

Even eleventh graders have a fair bit of time to execute their exit plan. These students won’t be able to spread out their workload as much, but if they get started now, it will prevent a last minute crunch come september.

Regardless of current standing, it is not too late to adapt your exit plan. For more information about crafting a roadmap, check out our fillable workbook.

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