UW Tacoma takes pride in serving students who are the first in the family to attend college. Many UW Tacoma staff and faculty are also first generation. Read about the diverse experiences and strengths they bring to our learning community. Get advice about what it takes to achieve your dreams!
It's never too early to think about college. We've compiled information about steps you can take from grades 6 through high school (9 - 12) to help prepare for college.
Grades 6 - 8
Talk to friends and family about careers and possible school choices.
Take English and Algebra I or another rigorous math course and aim for good grades.
Take a language other than your first language.
Discuss your financial situation with your family to see how they can assist you in paying for your education. Work together to establish a savings plan in which you can participate.
Explore out-of-school or summer learning experiences that can help you explore potential interests or careers.
Join clubs, play sports, and volunteer. This is a good way to develop and expand your interests.
Grades 9 - 10
Build a flexible schedule allowing for study time, extracurricular activities, and your other interests. ) Use a day planner, calendar, or electronic organizer to help you get organized.
Get involved only in extracurricular activities in which you have a genuine interest and those to which you are willing to make the necessary time commitment.
Start building relationships with people who will be able to write strong reference letters for college admissions and scholarships. (teachers, coaches, principals advisors, and employers.
Make a four-year schedule that increases your eligibility to attend the college of your choice.
Start developing a resume by keeping a scrapbook of your accomplishments including articles about yourself, awards that you have won, and activities in which you have participated.
Take your family with you to talk to your counselor about your interests, postsecondary possibilities, and career information.
Find out about summer jobs and how to gain the skills necessary to obtain one.
Look into volunteer opportunities that will expand your experience and skil
Visit the high school guidance counselor or college counseling office and explore college catalogs, websites, and other college materials including financial aid information.
Reevaluate your high school course selection to make sure it meets your college requirements.
Try to complete most of your academic requirements (CADRs) by your junior year.
See your counselor to take interest inventories to discover which careers might be a match for you.
If pursuing athletics, check out NCAA requirements.
Continue participation in summer learning experiences to explore career options.
Fall (August - December)
Attend sessions with college representatives who visit your high school. you may find it helpful to visit local college fairs.
Develop a list of possible postsecondary schools. Your counseling office and/or school library may have books and materials to help you. Send for admissions literature and applications from the schools that are on the top of your list. USE THE INTERNET!!
Talk with an admissions counselor to determine if there are any institutional scholarships for which you could apply.
Begin researching private sources of financial aid such as scholarships for which you could apply.
Request financial aid bulletins from all potential schools. Estimate the costs for each school and begin identifying ways to meet them. Many civic, fraternal, and religious organizations offer postsecondary scholarships.
Spring (January - May)
Schedule campus visits. Consider an overnight trip that would allow you to get a feel for life on campus
Contact the institutional financial aid office for the names and addresses of possible scholarship sources.
Start developing portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talents required for college admission and/or scholarships.
If you plan to play sports in college, write to college coaches at your target schools. Include a schedule of your athletic events for the upcoming year. Register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse.
Develop a resume of your sports accomplishments including a highlight tape and relevant articles about your successes.
Summer before Senior Year
MOST IMPORTANT TIME OF COLLEGE ENTRANCE PREPARATION
Practice writing online applications and filling out rough drafts, without submitting them.
Review applications, especially essays. Ask others to proof the essay for any grammar, content, or punctuation errors.
Read all college mail and send reply cards back to schools of interest.
Apply for those scholarships whose deadlines are in the fall. You may be too busy once school starts.
Make sure you continue to meet high school graduation and college admission requirements.
Register for the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if needed.
Make copies of your admissions and financial aid forms. Practice filling them out before doing the final one.
Meet with visiting admissions representatives from the schools that interest you.
Arrange visits to schools you are considering and schedule admissions interviews if required.
Make the final preparation of your portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talent required for admission and/or for scholarships. Finalize your resume to send with your applications.
SUBMIT YOUR COLLEGE ADMISSIONS APPLICATIONS. WATCH OUT FOR DEADLINES!!
Talk with your family about what type of budget you'll be on your freshman year.
Keep records of everything you submit.
Identify at least two of the following to write strong recommendation forms for you: a teacher, an extracurricular advisor, a counselor, a principal, or an employer. Give the recommendation forms at least one month before they are due and provide them with the deadline and where they can find out more information about what the college or scholarship program is looking for in their awardees. Follow up on the progress of these recommendations.
If seeking athletic scholarships, contact the coaches from the schools you are considering and include a resume of your accomplishment.
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