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TCA’s 5-Year Timeline

Grade 8

  • Attend the grade 8-10 college counseling evening presentation in the spring.
  • Meet with your college counselor (optional) to discuss your high school curriculum, and potential extracurricular involvements.

Grade 9

  • Attend the grade 8-10 college counseling evening presentation in the spring
  • Meet with your college counselor (mandatory) in the spring of your freshman year to assess academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and begin to formulate a tentative college list.
  • Take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test) exam in October of your freshman year. We will examine your results and implications at your 9th-grade college counseling meeting.
  • Fast starts count! GPA construction begins in 9th grade…make sure you don’t waste your freshman year with academic immaturity. For undergraduate college admission, all 5 core academic disciplines (English, history, foreign/classical language, science, and math) count (grades 9-12) in the evaluation process.

Grade 10

  • Attend the grade 8-10 college counseling evening presentation in the spring
  • Meet with your college counselor (mandatory) in the spring of your sophomore year to continue to assess academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and test scores, and begin to formulate a more exact college list.
  • Take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test) exam in October of your sophomore year. We will examine your results and implications at your 10th-grade college counseling meeting.
  • Begin to visit colleges
  • Begin formal SAT/ACT preparation between the summer of your sophomore and junior year of TCA.
  • Investigate leadership opportunities (captain of an athletic team, the lead role in a play, president/vice-president of a club or activity, etc.).

Grade 11

  • Attend the 11th-grade college counseling evening presentation in January of your junior year.
  • Take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test) exam in October of your junior year. We will examine your results and implications at your 11th-grade college counseling meeting.
  • Meet with your college counselor (mandatory) in January-February of your junior year to continue to assess academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and test scores, and begin to formulate a defining college list that includes reach, slight reach, probable, and secure college options. Also, begin to identify colleges that may afford merit-based scholarships.
  • Discuss any financial aid concerns.
  • Take your first baseline SAT/ACT in the fall of your junior year (September, October, or November). Continue with formal standardized test preparation.
  • Attend weekly college counseling class/lunches with your college counselor to fill out the Common Application, work on college essay development, create a resume of activities, apply for Bright Futures, discuss financial aid qualification and application process, and understand how undergraduate college admissions counselors evaluate your application, explain institutional interests (those that have a specific talent or background that a college may desire), prepare for the interview process, and answer questions from unique personal/family situations.
  • Take your second SAT/ACT exam in the spring of your junior year (March, April, May, or June).
  • Attend your “Junior year exit” meeting to discuss a final list of colleges, examine test scores, assess potential Bright Futures qualifications, discuss potential decisions based on inside and outside the classroom achievement portfolio, identify possible colleges that might offer merit-based scholarships, create a summer “to do” list.
  • Attend the summer “application party” in early August before senior year.

Grade 12

  • Final Stage
  • Meet with your college counselor at scheduled and unscheduled periods (with or without parents but parents are always welcome)
  • Finalize your list of target colleges
  • Categorize reach, slight reach, probable, solid, and secure options per your college counselor (though this is a prediction and not an exact science from year to year)
  • Discuss application strategy: Early Decision (binding), Early Action, Early Action Restricted, Regular Decision, Rolling, and Regular Decision.
  • Develop final primary and supplementary writing mandates per college or university requirements
  • Complete Financial Aid application process, if pertinent.
  • Request teacher recommendations
  • Complete application submission and “send” process (complete with your college counselor). DO NOT apply and submit on your own. College counseling desires to manage your submission process to ensure quality control and avoid errors.
  • Add/delete colleges and universities as your senior year progresses and based on intrinsic interest
  • Manage defer/ waitlist challenges
  • Ask Mr. Runge about “Strong Advocacy”
  • Deposit to a college/university or commit to an alternate vocation/avocation/gap year program