|College Preparation by Grade
|Whether a student is in 8th grade or
11th grade, if he or she is thinking about going to
college after high school graduation, it is never too
late to start preparing.
- Students in 8th grade should work hard to earn
good grades. Grades earned in middle school
classes help determine placement in 9th grade
- Good study habits and a positive work ethic
should be established at this time before high
- Getting involved in sports or activities is a
good idea. Maintaining continuous involvement
in extracurricular activities is impressive on a
- If a student is thinking about playing sports at
a Division I or Division II college or university,
he or she along with his or her parents should
attend an NCAA Clearinghouse informational meeting;
normally, this meeting is held in the spring.
This will give an idea of what students must do
academically to be eligible to participate in sports
at the next level.
- Students in 9th grade should work hard to earn
good grades. It is in 9th grade that
calculation of one's GPA begins. One low grade
can drop a cumulative GPA and make it difficult to
bring it up again.
- Final grades of courses begin showing up on
official transcripts in 9th grade.
- Students should begin thinking about which
career field they may be interested in pursuing.
Knowing the career field one wants to enter may
determine the types of and levels of classes taken
in future years.
- Students should begin keeping a log of
activities in which they participate.
- Students should continue to strive for high
grades during their sophomore year.
- Students in honors level classes or fast track
math classes should consider taking the PSAT.
Though they will not be eligible to be considered
for a National Merit Scholarship, the PSAT is a good
indicator of how students would perform on the SAT
if they were to take it at this time. The PSAT
is normally given in October, and sign-ups begin at
the beginning of September.
- Students should continue to log all activities
in which they participate.
- If a student is considering taking an Advanced
Placement course, he or she along with his or her
parents should attend an Advanced Placement course
informational meeting; normally, this meeting is
held in the spring. These courses are
demanding, and students and parents should be aware
of the challenges that will be faced in Advanced
- Students should continue to strive for high
grades during their junior year.
- All students considering college after high
school should consider taking the PSAT. Not
only is this good practice for the SAT, but students
whose scores are exceptionally high may be eligible
to be considered for National Merit Scholarships.
- Juniors are encouraged to start meeting with
college admissions representatives as they visit
MCHS. This is a good opportunity for students
to find out if a school has the characteristics and
are looking for in a college or university.
- Counselors encourage students to wait until the
end of their junior year to take the SAT.
Because the SAT math section contains Algebra I,
Algebra II, Geometry, and Probability and Statistics
concepts, students are generally more confident when
they take the SAT after they have completed most of
these math courses. The SAT verbal also
includes vocabulary that is normally not introduced
until the junior year of English class.
- Juniors are also encouraged to start planning
college visits. Taking tours of college
campuses, meeting with admissions counselors, and
meeting with financial aid officers are good ways to
determine if a school is right for the student.
- Continue to log involvement in activities both
in and out of school.
- Begin searching for scholarships.
Students/parents should NEVER pay for any financial
aid information. This can be obtained for
free; please check with the Guidance Office.
- Attend a financial aid informational meeting to
get an idea of the financial aid process.
- Establish a permanent email address to use to
communicate with colleges and universities. Do
not use your school email address as that will be
deleted after you graduate, and you will need to
access this email in the future. Be
sure this email address is professional.
- Set up college visits for the summer as well to
help narrow the choice if necessary.
- Student athletes who are planning on playing
sports at a Division I or Division II college or
university need to register with the NCAA
Clearinghouse (www.eligibilitycenter.org) at the end
of their junior year of high school.
- Seniors should continue to do their best to earn
good grades in all classes and not just the ones
needed for graduation.
- If they wish to do so, seniors can register to
take the SAT again during their senior
year--it is offered in the fall at MCHS. In some instances, colleges may even
- Students should begin completing college
applications early in their senior year. Pay
attention to due dates. Be sure to understand
the differences between Early Action, Early
Decision, and Regular Decision. Early Action
is not a binding decision to attend a specific
school, but it allows students to receive an
admission decision early. Early Decision will give a student an
acceptance decision sooner, but the student is
bound to attend that school if he or she is
accepted. Regular Decision is not a binding
decision to attend a school. Students who
choose Regular Decision will be considered for
admission when other applicants are considered. Thanksgiving Day is a solid deadline
to give oneself to have applications completed and
- Seniors must request that official transcripts
be sent to their school of choice. This can be
done by creating a Parchment account with the help
of the Guidance Office or by filling out the appropriate form in the
- If they have not done so already, seniors should
visit the colleges to which they have applied so
that an accurate decision can be made in case there
are multiple acceptances.
- Attend Financial Aid Nights in the Fall. At MCHS a Financial Aid
General Information Night is held
in September. During this event a general
overview of the types of financial aid and the
financial aid process is covered. Another
Financial Aid Night is scheduled in October; this
is a FAFSA Completion Night. On this night,
parents and students go to computer labs in MCHS
where financial aid officers from local colleges and
universities are on hand to help them fill out the
FAFSA. The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal
Student Aid) opens on October 1.
- Seniors should begin researching and applying
for scholarships. The bulk of the local
scholarships are available from February to May in
the MCHS Guidance Office.