- Get involved in extracurricular activities that sound fun and/or challenging. Now is a great time to try new things and meet new friends. Colleges don’t care what activities you are involved in, they just want to see that you are involved.
- Meet with your guidance counselor to map out a preliminary plan for your high school career.
- Sign up online for the ACT or SAT Question of the Day…and DO the Question of the Day, every day.
- Make your studies a priority.
- Start a savings account for post-secondary schooling. Even a few dollars each week will make a difference. If you save $5 per week every week of high school, you will graduate with $1040 dollars!
- VOLUNTEER! To qualify for the MC Promise Scholarship, you will need 40 hours of community service by the end of senior year. Look for something YOU find meaningful and get involved. (It also looks great on college applications!)
- 25% of your volunteering commitment should be completed by end of Freshman year. (10 hours—at a minimum)
- Continue to explore new extracurricular opportunities. Think about getting a part time job on the weekends. Build that savings account! Saving $10 per week during high school = $2018!
- Meet with your guidance counselor early in the year to make any adjustments to your high school plan—you should always be tweaking it—and you should always be willing to switch gears to study what truly interests YOU.
- Pay close attention to your GPA. Classes will begin to get harder this year. So study! You will need a 2.5 gpa to apply for Promise.
- Take the PSAT 10 test. Use Khan Academy (free online help) to study for the PSAT you will take junior year.
- Begin surfing the web to “shop” for colleges and universities. Most schools have video tours of their schools, so you can visit virtually to get a general feeling of a school.
- You will begin to receive mail from colleges after you have taken the PSAT 10. Don’t just throw it away. Read it first. Your future school may be in that “junk mail”.
- Continue to VOLUNTEER! 50% (20 hours accumulated during high school) should be finished at the end of the school year.
- Sign up for and take SAT and ACT tests. You may want/need to take them more than once, so look at the schedule of testing early in the fall so you are prepared to retest, if necessary.
- Begin a dialogue with your parent/guardian about financial expectations. Who will pay for college? How much can you afford? Be realistic.
- Start looking at the MCHS Guidance site online for scholarships. You probably aren’t eligible for many until senior year, but this will give you a good idea of what scholarships you may qualify for senior year. Check in regularly. Guidance is constantly adding new opportunities. Make a list of those you will apply for next year and if they require an essay, start writing rough drafts.
- Sign up for an account on Cappex.com—it’s free. This is a great website for “shopping” for colleges. It has a plethora of information about the 3,500+ colleges and universities in the U.S., including your chances of getting admitted to the schools. You may find a school you have never heard of—which becomes your future home.
- Keep studying, saving money, and volunteering. All of these things will be SO IMPORTANT for your future—whatever you choose to do.
- Check in with your guidance counselor regularly, even if it is just to say hi. You may not need any changes to your high school plan at this point, but you will need to have a relationship with your counselor. You will be asking him/her to write a letter of reference for your college applications. It is really hard to write a glowing recommendation for someone they only see once a year.
- Speaking of letters of recommendation. Begin thinking about teachers, administrators, volunteer coordinators, coaches, bosses. Who knows you well enough to write a recommendation? You will need recommendations for college applications and for many scholarship applications. A good recommendation can make the difference between an acceptance and a denial.
- Start visiting college campuses. There are many right here in our backyard…visit them on a random weekend day.
- Late Spring, The Common App will release the prompts for the essays you will be writing in the Fall. Don’t wait until Fall…get writing now, or during the summer when you have plenty of time. Write, revise, rewrite and revise. Make those essays shine.
- Take as many dual credit/AP classes as you think you can successfully handle and still do well. (Key word: successfully.) Junior year has traditionally been considered one of the hardest years in high school—set your mind to being successful this year and you will be. Study!
- Get ready for Senior year! You are almost there.
- 75% (30 hours accumulated during high school) of volunteer hours should be completed by the end of Junior year.
- If you have been saving $5/week, at the end of this year, you will have $780!
- Seniors, it is time to apply for the Michigan City Promise Scholarship. The application will be available late fall.
- August 1 The Common Application (application accepted by most colleges) becomes available. Tick tock…get busy! It is still summer so you should have plenty of time to work on it. Start filling out the application and finalize that essay you wrote this summer. Senior year is about to start and time will fly by.
- November 1 is the priority application deadline at most universities for maximum consideration for financial aid and scholarships. Please do NOT wait until 11p on 10/31 to upload your documents. There are approximately 2.3 million seniors applying to college each year. Computer systems are notorious for crashing at deadline time. (Get those applications finished and turned in early!!!!)
- Meet with your guidance counselor to verify you are on track to graduate.
- File the FAFSA not later than March 10. Make a copy of the confirmation email you receive and attach it to your Promise Scholarship application.
- Finish your 40 high school volunteer hours. Then you can start on the 40 hours you will need for the Promise Scholarship that are due Aug 31.
- Begin asking those you would like to write recommendation letters if they are willing. Ask early! There are 400 other students in your MCHS senior class that may be requesting letters from the same teachers/counselors/coaches.
- Remember…a great rec can mean the difference between a YES and a NO…give your recommender plenty of time to write a letter that will help get you the YES.
- Start a PRO/CON list for schools. Beyond the typical, here are some random, but important, things to consider when thinking about schools: what is the climate like? Can you live in that climate and walk to class in it (extreme heat/cold) for 4 years? Is the school too close/too far from home? When you visit the school, can you picture yourself going there? Food…is it good? Or awful? Most people eat at least 2-3 times a day. Dining hall food is more important than you might think. Would you feel safe living on the campus and walking around the campus at night after a late study session at the library? Is it a commuter campus? If you are not a commuter, will the campus empty out on the weekends?
- DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. If you apply to a reach school and you are not admitted, it is ok. Or maybe you got in, but were not awarded enough aid to afford the school. With thousands of US schools to choose from, there are plenty that would love to have you as a student, plenty that will meet your financial need, and plenty where you can be very happy. So cast a wide net and be open to different opportunities.
- Keep an open mind! Jeffrey Brenzel, former Dean of Admissions at Yale University, had this to say:
“Perhaps you feel absolutely certain of the kind of school you want to attend, and you have a list of such places where you have a reasonable chance of admission. Even so, I urge you to apply to a couple of schools that do not fit the profile, but that you find interesting for one reason or another. Why? I have often seen students respond to a college very differently once they have been admitted in the spring than they did when visiting the prior summer. Students change in some important ways during their senior year in high school as they look outward to the rest of their lives, and they learn a great deal about colleges along the way. Give yourself the option in the spring of heading in a direction you did not anticipate in the fall.
Finally, once you have finished your applications, relax. You will very probably gain admission to some of your chosen colleges. You will probably have a few campuses to revisit as you make your final selection. You will also be prepared to attend college with the understanding that its rank does not correlate with what you are going to do there and how fulfilling the experience will be. What you accomplish in college – and in the years after – will instead be a function of how well you engage the incredible variety of opportunities and challenges that college presents.”
- And that savings account? By graduation, you could have at least $1000 if you saved at least $5/week since Freshman year!
(ONLY MCHS SENIORS MAY APPLY)
Step 1: Click here to download and complete the Michigan City Promise Scholarship application.
Step 2: Click here to complete the FAFSA (Deadline March 10th). Print and submit the confirmation page to include with your scholarship application.
Step 3: Click below to download form to complete your 40 hours of community service and submit verified hours with application.
Step 4: Obtain homestead exemption from the LaPorte County Auditor’s office and submit with application:
LaPorte County Auditor’s Office
555 Michigan Avenue Suite 205
LaPorte, IN 46350
(219) 326-6808 ext. 2252
Step 5: If parent is not legal guardian, provide proof of legal guardianship.
Step 6: Once available, provide a letter of acceptance/admission to an accredited Indiana college, university or post secondary education program.
Step 7: Once available, get copy of official final transcript from the Michigan City High School registrar office. Cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be 2.5 or higher.