Our students are well positioned to be accepted into great colleges. We help remove the barriers to applying for college by providing exceptional college counseling without cost to every student. We coach students to take initiative and find their voice, and it makes a difference during college admissions. We provide course selection help, test preparation, financial aid resources, and we have a dedicated college counselor to demystify the process.
Meet with College Counselor, Maiya Marshall
7th & 8th Grade – Begin & Build
- Begin thinking about the high school classes that will prepare you for college. Take classes that will challenge you but will allow you enough time to start extracurricular activities, continue the ones you are already doing, and get rest.
- Review the course offerings in the PCS Course Catalog. Ask your Academic Advisor if you have any questions.
- Develop good study habits and time management skills.
- Practice setting and reaching goals.
- Try clubs and sports at PCS, just show up. Learn to be consistent if you want to actively participate.
- Get started on your community service and submit hours by May 1st each year.
- Enroll in a summer enrichment program.
- Talk with your parents about saving and paying for college.
9th Grade – Explore
- Log into your Scoir account. You will receive an email to set up your account. Email invitations expire in 7 days and users need to be re-invited afterwards. Ask Ms. Marshall if you need to be re-invited.
- Take a look at your 4-year plan. It’s linked in your Scoir profile and is updated for you each year. The Google Doc is shared with you and your parent(s)/guardian(s) as well.
- Consider if you want to take an AP language course.
- Attend evening presentations on academics and the college process.
- Continue exploring extracurricular activities. Find clubs and activities that excite you and that align with your values, skills, and interests.
- Develop your time management and study skills.
- Make sure you are caught up on your community service hours. You can also get ahead on your community service requirement.
- Begin adding activities to your profile in Scoir.
- Plan your summer. Think of programs or activities of interest.
- Athletes: Familiarize yourself with the NCAA and NAIA requirements if you think you want to compete in college: https://www.collegedata.com/resources/prepare-and-apply/7-tips-to-prepare-for-the-athletic-recruitment-process
10th Grade – Expand
- Continue existing extracurricular activities or get involved in new ones. Find a few activities to focus on and deepen your involvement. Possibly take on a
leadership role. Continue adding activities to your profile in Scoir.
- Stay focused on your academics. Sophomore year is important to college admissions officers and sets the tone for junior year.
- Consider taking the PSAT 10 (Preliminary SAT) in October at PCS. This exam will be for practice only and scores are not reported to colleges but will be on your Scoir Profile with the rest of your standardized test scores.
- In January you will select classes for 11th grade. Consider challenging yourself to take high-level coursework in subjects you excel in.
- Schedule 1-2 college tours locally or when you are on vacation.
- At the end of the school year, take a full-length practice ACT and SAT to get a feel for which test format you prefer. These are available online and through test prep companies.
- Consider taking a class college in a subject of interest at Cabrillo or another community during the summer. Courses at California community colleges are free for high school students.
- Continue pursuing your interests over the summer. Take on a job, volunteer work, internship, or a self-directed project.
- Athletes: If you think you may play Division I, II, or III sports in college, register for the NCAA Clearinghouse, the NAIA Eligibility Center, and learn about the academic requirements: https://www.collegedata.com/resources/prepare-and-apply/7-tips-to-prepare-for-the-athletic-recruitment-process
11th Grade – Engage
All Year Long
- Focus on your academics. Junior year grades are the last ones UCs, CSUs, and Early Action/Decision colleges will see.
- Plan to take an official campus tour of colleges you are interested in or attend virtual tours and information sessions. When possible, visit campuses when college students are on campus to get a true feeling for campus life.
- Continue to participate in activities outside of class; it is not too late to get involved.
- Attend evening presentations on the college process.
- Deepen your involvement and take on leadership roles when possible.
- Update your activities resume with activities you participated in over the summer.
- Revisit your 4-year plan course plan and make adjustments where you feel they are needed.
- Show demonstrated interest to colleges by signing up on Scoir for admission representative visits in the fall.
- Take the PSAT in October to be considered for National Merit Scholarship. PCS offers PSAT/SAT prep classes twice a year.
- Sign up for AP tests and take them in May.
- Determine your standardized testing plan. Will you submit test scores or apply as test-optional? Remember that UCs and CSUs are test-blind.
- If you do decide to take standardized tests, establish your test prep schedule and take multiple full-length practice exams in advance of exams.
- Consider taking the SAT/ACT in winter or spring: sign up on the appropriate testing platform or through PCS.
- Start a list of preliminary schools you are interested in by following them on Scoir. You can condense the list next year.
- Athletes: Double-check that your classes meet NCAA Clearinghouse requirements. Complete the online recruitment forms for each college you're considering. Make your sports resume and recruitment videos. Correspond with coaches periodically to show interest.
- Fine and Performing Arts Students: Work on portfolio or audition materials throughout junior year. Sign up for Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs like National Portfolio Day: https://nationalportfolioday.org
- Schedule a meeting with you, Ms. Marshall, and your parents to start talking about the college process.
- Spend time on Scoir and other college resources researching potential colleges and their admission requirements.
- Continue to add schools to “Following” on Scoir.
- Visit and tour college campuses during breaks or take an online virtual tour.
- Start to research college scholarships.
- Request letters of recommendation from two academic teachers (one STEM, one humanities) after Spring Break.
- Investigate and secure summer experiences.
- Athletes: Send your sports resume and video to college coaches and fill out athletic recruitment surveys on the college websites.
- Fine and Performing Arts Students: Explore how the audition and portfolio process for college admissions. Continue to build your portfolio and audition videos.
- Participate in summer experiences: research, internships, college coursework, work, travel, volunteer work
- Finalize your college list. Make sure it reflects a balance of admissions possibilities (Likely, Target, Reach)
- Research the type of applications required for each school on your list. Understand the requirements and deadlines.
- Enter dates and deadlines into a college application spreadsheet to organize your information
- Create a scholarship spreadsheet
- Continue adding your extracurricular activities to Scoir.
- Begin to think about your personal statement (Common App) or Personal Insight Questions (UC) and create summer drafts.
- Start your application process. Many applications open on August 1st.
Senior Year – Execute
All Year Long
- Keep up your grades. Acceptances are conditional, and colleges expect the GPA you applied with to stay roughly the same.
- Continue to participate in extracurricular activities outside of class.
- Attend college representative visits.
- Check your application portals and email regularly.
- Send colleges any additional information they request promptly.
- Finalize your college list, requirements, and deadlines for each college you are applying to.
- Decide if you are applying Early Decision (ED), Early Action (EA), or Regular Decision (RD) for each college.
- Work on your applications.
- Keep a log of the different websites and username/password data for each college application portal.
- Complete the Transcript Review Form to make sure it’s accurate.
- Take the ACT/SAT one more time (if needed).
- Add all colleges/universities you are applying to under “Applying” in Scoir.
- Request/Confirm teacher recommendations and send formal requests through Scoir. Be sure to complete your letter of recommendation surveys.
- Send official transcripts from any other schools you have taken coursework to colleges that require official transcripts at the time of application.
- Send ACT/SAT scores through the College Board (SAT) or ACT official sites to colleges you are applying to if needed.
- Sign up for AP exams.
- Take the ACT/SAT for the final time, if needed
- Finish your college essay(s) and personal statements
- Complete and send out all EA and ED applications by late October (Typically Nov. 1 deadline)
- Review and submit financial aid information. FAFSA opens on October 1st. Apply by your school deadlines and/or FAFSA deadline. AHS automatically uploads Cal Grant eligibility for you
- Fill out the CSS Profile if needed for your colleges
- Submit CSU and UC applications by the November 30th deadline (good idea to send by Thanksgiving)
- Regular Decision (RD) deadlines are typically around January 1. Complete and send out all RD applications no later than mid-December
- If you applied to a college EA or ED, you should receive admissions decisions around mid-December
- If accepted ED, pull all other submitted applications
- Thank all of your letter of recommender writers
- If deferred, send an email to the admissions representative. Reaffirm your interest in the school and offer them any updates to your application (awards, achievements, etc...)
- Start to receive RD admissions decisions. CSUs and UCs typically announce decisions in mid-March
- Colleges have until April 1st to release decisions
- Evaluate financial aid packages and scholarship offerings
- Update Naviance with application decisions received
- Plan visits to accepted colleges if needed to make your final decision. Attend admitted student day if offered admission to learn more about a college before accepting
- Accept admission to your college of choice by May 1st or earlier. May 1st is a national acceptance date. Once you accept an admission offer, you should let other colleges know that you do not plan to attend
- Enroll and submit a deposit by May 1
- If you have been waitlisted, make sure to let the school know you are still interested by writing a Letter of Continued Interest
- Complete senior exit survey in Naviance
- Sign up for campus housing if you plan to live on campus
- Sign up for College Orientation Sessions
- Check your portal for any additional information needed by your college of choice
- Send your AP Scores to the college you are attending
- If waitlisted, continue to check your email for notifications