COLLEGE & CAREER PREPARATION GUIDE

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1 HARVESTCHRISTIANACADEMY COLLEGE & CAREER PREPARATION GUIDE A year by year guided plan to assist in preparing for college and career

2

3 Harvest Christian Academy, a ministry of Harvest Bible Chapel, exists to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great Commission. We believe that every student can acquire success when they BELIEVE IN CHRIST WALK WITH CHRIST WORSHIP CHRIST AND WORK FOR CHRIST This College Preparation Guide has been produced as a tool to assist our students and their parents in planning and preparing for college.

4 FRESHMAN YEAR Start now to build your college and career portfolio. This is the year you need to actively explore a career path that meshes well with your God given interests, talents and giftedness. We are here to help you start that search NOW so that your 4 years here at HCA will prepare you fully to transition into the college and/or career you feel lead to. Don t wait until your junior or senior year. FALL Make a Plan for Your High School Path. Make an appointment with Student Services sometime this fall to discuss your high school path and the requirements needed to: Graduate Apply for National Honors Society, Run for Student Council AP Class requirements Become a Distinguished Scholar Start Strong and Finish Strong All of these involvements will help you stand out in job and college interviews. Grades Matter. Keep your grades up in all of your classes so that your GPA will reflect well in your college applications. Strong grades and high grade point averages in high school very often lead to financial scholarships from your college of choice. Get Involved! Step up and out and get involved in theater, a sport or club. Sign up to serve at school, church or community. Serving pleases the Lord, impacts lives and reflects well on college applications. Keep Track. Write down hours and descriptions of all your service activities, leadership positions and extra curricula s. Consider going to the college fairs in your area. WINTER Make Time! Take time to ask God to begin to reveal to you the abilities, passions, and personal qualities He created in you and help you form your career and college goals. Explore! Over winter break take one or two career assessment tests. These are designed to take your strengths and interests and supply you with career opportunities that utilize those assets. Start at Those students who took the PSAT can use the access code from the PSAT score report to sign in to My College QuickStart for help with test prep and also to explore lists of suggested colleges majors and careers. (

5 WINTER CONTINUED Go on line and research those careers that may interest you and begin to talk to people you know who work in those areas of interest Get Exposure. In February and March begin to search for work, internship or volunteer positions in your community or church that you can be involved in over your summer break. SPRING Plan for Next Year. Meet with Student Service to plan your course selections for next year that will move you along your high school goals. Apply for the work, internships and/or volunteer positions that you identified in your search above. To add to your career experience and/or collect college credits early consider getting involved in summer vocational type camps or signing up for summer high school programs offered at colleges SUMMER Do summer reading to get ahead! Continue to narrow down your career choices and discussing them with your parents. If your career choices require further education begin to discuss college options and financing with your parents then begin to look for colleges that you can afford and that offer classes and majors in your career choice. Start with colleges in your state. HELPFUL RESOURCES Websites College admission tests and a wealth of other helpful info: Occupation Database and Career Assessment: College Search: Financial aid & scholarships:

6 SOPHOMORE YEAR Widen your career vision and up your involvement. Your sophomore year is when you can apply for NHS membership and take more challenging courses. Seek God for His plans for your career and college plans and begin to narrow down your goals. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. FALL Push Yourself. Make sure that you re enrolled in challenging classes that will prepare you for career and college requirements. Take the PSAT test in October. The test is offered on campus at HCA in October for sophomores and juniors. College Search. Begin to search out colleges in order to determine required courses and college entrance test requirements for those colleges that might be of interest. Consider going to college fairs in your area. Stay Involved. Keep up with your log of your service activities, leadership positions and extracurriculars (including everything from sports to work.) WINTER Plan your Future. If you have not yet done so take one or two career assessment tests. These are designed to help you identify your strengths and interests and supply you with career opportunities that utilize those assets. Those students who took the PSAT can use the access code from the PSAT score report to sign in to My College QuickStart for help with test prep and also to explore lists of suggested colleges majors and careers. ( We strongly encourage you to take sample college entrance exams (SAT & ACT.) The more you practice them the better you will do and the better you do the more scholarship money a college will offer you. Learn about college costs and how financial aid works. Determine how much money you ll need for college, whether you re on track to save enough, and what you need to do to reach your goal. Talk to your parents about financing college!

7 WINTER CONT. Begin to get in some college visits while they re in session. Find out about college from college friends who are home for the holidays. SPRING Plan for Next Year. Meet with Student Service to plan your course selections for next year that will move you along your career and college goals. Apply for the work, internships and/or volunteer positions that might be in your area of career interest so you can begin to see if this is a career you would enjoy. Continue to add to ptential career experience and/or collect college credits early consider getting involved in summer vocational type camps or signing up for summer high school programs offered at colleges SUMMER Do your summer reading to get ahead! Work, volunteer or intern in positions that relate to your area of career interest. Explore Colleges. Make a spreadsheet to compare colleges you have interest in. Include things like: Yearly cost with and without housing Scholarship offers Size Pros and Cons Christian or Non-Christian / Public or Private Location Set up college campus visits for the fall. USEFUL RESOURCES Websites College admission tests and a wealth of other helpful info: Occupation Database and Career Assessment: College Search: Financial aid & scholarships:

8 JUNIOR YEAR Challenge yourself to do hard things. Do the right thing and trust God with the outcome. Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped. FALL Get Ready! Sign up early to take the PSAT/NMSQT at HCA in October. Refine your list of possible colleges that meet both your career goals and your financial capital. Start Thinking about Financial Aid Talk to your counselor about college plans and attend local college fairs and financial aid night at Harvest. Use financial aid calculators to estimate your aid eligibility and college costs. WINTER Testing Plans! Plan your spring testing schedule. Go online to register for the SAT at and/or the ACT at Choose your testing site and dates carefully being mindful of your own busy schedule. Look for Scholarships Now. Begin to research scholarship opportunities through scholarship searches on the web such as fastweb.com. SPRING Prepare! Prepare for AP Exams. Do well on these exams and receive college credit. Visit the prep center at collegeboard.com and/or actstudent.org for practice tests, and sign up for the official problem of the days! Take sample SAT/ACT test several times. Consider a prep class if you need more accountability. Meet with Student Services to discuss your career and college plans. They will direct you in course selections for your senior year that will best meet your goals. Explore Colleges. Make a spreadsheet to compare colleges you have interest in. Include things like: Yearly cost with and without housing Scholarship offers Size Pros and Cons Christian or Non-Christian / Public or Private Location

9 Plan ahead for Summer& Senior Year Review your senior year class schedule with Student Service & Guidance. Continue to challenge yourself and don t coast! Plan summer activities early. Enrich yourself by volunteering, getting an interesting job or internship, or signing up for special summer learning programs that will give you experience in your field of interest. SUMMER Visit colleges. Take campus tours and schedule interviews with admissions counselors. Prepare a list of questions to ask while there. Request applications from colleges to which you ll apply. Check important dates; some colleges/universities have early dates or rolling admissions. USEFUL RESOURCES Websites College admission tests and a wealth of other helpful info: Occupation Database and Career Assessment: College Search: Financial aid & scholarships:

10 SENIOR YEAR Embrace your future with growing maturity This is the year of final decisions, deadlines and taking action. This is your future so embrace the opportunities, step out in faith and trust the Lord. 1 When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. Corinthians 13:11 FALL You should have a short list of colleges that fit your career and financial goals. Get an application and financial aid information from each college on your list and visit as many as possible. Be sure you make an appointment with Student Services and Guidance Department to discuss your latest career and colleges of choice. If you are having trouble deciding they will be there to help you narrow your choices. Make a master calendar and note: Test dates, fees, and deadlines College application due dates Required financial aid applications and their deadlines Recommendations, transcripts, and other necessary materials Ask for recommendations. Give each person the required forms and a stamped, addressed envelope. Write application essays and ask teachers, parents and friends to read first drafts. Get financial aid information. Attend financial aid info events in your area and/or at HCA. Tap into scholarship searches on the web, review scholarship books, and keep in touch with your counselor about local and state funding sources. WINTER Application details. Most regular applications are due between Jan1 and Feb 15. Keep copies of everything you send to colleges. (Sometimes you can use an essay more than once!) Have your high school send your transcripts to colleges. Contact colleges to make sure they ve received all application materials.

11 Financial Aid: Apply Early! Submit your FAFSA as soon after Jan 1 as possible. Financial awards are made until the funds are depleted! Men 18 years or older must register for the selective service to receive federal financial aid. Many priority financial aid deadlines fall in February. To get the most attractive award package, apply by the priority date. Keep copies of everything you send. SPRING When letters start rolling in. You should get acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-april. Compare awards from different colleges. Talk to financial aid officers. Not enough aid? Ask if other financing plans are available! Visit your final college before accepting. You must tell every college of your acceptance or rejection of offers of admission or financial aid by May 1. Send a deposit to the college you choose. Wait-listed? If you want to enroll if accepted, tell the admissions director your intent and ask how to strengthen your application. Need financial aid? Ask if funds will be available to you if you re accepted. SUMMER Next Steps Ask your high school to send a final transcript to your college. Start preparing for the year ahead! USEFUL RESOURCES Websites College admission tests and a wealth of other helpful info: Occupation Database and Career Assessment: Financial aid & scholarships:

12 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; Psalm 25:5

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