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College Planning Timeline

Why Plan for College?

As you leave Temple Christian School, where will you go? Does the right spot exist at which you may continue your journey of learning, ministering and serving? How do you find that college and be prepared for success?

An admission to college that is good fit for you and prepares you for your future takes careful planning and research. A plan is road map that:
  • Guides you through school to college
  • Advises you on what to do when
  • Tracks your progress

Whether you are middle school student years away from college or an upper-level high school student about to apply to college, a plan to prepare for and find a college will help you get ready for your future.

College & Career Planning Resources

Middle School


Sixth grade is important because students are transitioning from an elementary student into a middle school student. This is the time that each child starts to lay the foundation in a lot of subjects and forming study habits. Here are some things that each student can do:

  • Set goals for the year and for middle school. Working toward specific goals will help a child stay motivated and focused.
  • Review the school calendar together. Note important dates and put them in a shared online calendar or in an easy-to-view place, such as a bulletin board in your kitchen.
  • Parents should make a plan to check in regularly about schoolwork. If you keep up with your child's tests, papers and homework assignments through RenWeb, you can celebrate successes and head off problems as a team. Seek homework tips for your child from their teachers.
  • Discuss ways to take on challenges. Encourage your child to do their best in each subject. Being successful in a tough course can give your child confidence and prepare him or her for higher-level high school classes.
  • Keep a close eye on performance in 6th grade MATH. The 6th grade yearly math average determines whether a student will be in Math 7 or Pre-Algebra 7 in the 7th grade. The 6th grade average for the year must be at least a 90.
  • Read, read, read! No matter how much you read, how well or how fast you read now, a student should strive to improve in each area. Reading capability affects performance in class throughout a child's education.
  • Work hard; learn as much as you can. The better you do in school and the more you learn, the easier it will be when you get to high school and college.
  • Take school seriously; your performance can affect your choices in the future.
  • Get involved in sports, choir, or band. Run for an office or volunteer to coordinate an event or project.
  • Parents can help students come up with fun reading ideas by looking for magazine your child may like and talk about books you loved reading when you were your child's age. By encouraging reading, and reading becoming a habit for the middle school student, you are helping your child get on the road to academic success.
  • Students and parents should discuss college and visit a college campus. A college visit encourages a student to think of their future beyond high school.
  • If in Pre-Algebra, work hard to maintain an "A" average to be eligible for Algebra I Honors in 8th grade. (A high school course being taught in middle school).
  • Get off to a good start! Study hard, turn in all assignments, and do your best to earn good grades.
  • Work hard in school - you are preparing for your future.
  • Keep in mind that your class averages in English and Bible will determine whether you can be in Honors classes for those subjects in 9th grade. (You must make at least a "90" average.)
  • Discuss college with your parents and ask if they went to college, and where. Talk to them about what they did in college. Tell them you want to go to college and ask how you can work together to pay for it.
  • Think about careers/majors/jobs you might be interested in after completing college. Research them on the Internet (use the occupational outlook handbook, and by interviewing someone who does what you are interested in doing.
  • Look for summer camps that relate to your interests or one that will help you look at different careers. Such camps are often hosted at nearby colleges.
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities. These help to broaden your interests, prepare you for college, and can be very enjoyable.
  • If enrolled in Algebra I Honors, always keep in mind that the semester averages in this course will become part of your permanent high school transcript, so do your best!
  • Read, read, read! You are improving your reading skills which affect all subjects.

High School
  • Study hard and work to get the best grades you can to build a strong transcript. Your GPA does matter when trying to get admitted to the college of your choice.
  • Get involved with extracurricular activities to see what sparks your interest and explore opportunities. Interested in law or politics? Join Youth and Government.
  • Start building a resume/activities list.
  • Visit the Guidance Office and get to know your guidance counselor. He/She will be an important part of your high school career by answering questions, supplying your current grades, and helping with your plans for the next 4 years and beyond.
  • Become familiar with NCAA requirements and NAIA requirements if you want to play sports in college.
  • Keep in mind that your end-of-year averages can determine eligibility to be in Honors classes.
  • Register for and take the PSAT for practice (if in Algebra II).
  • Continue to explore and participate in extracurricular activities inside and/or outside of school.
  • Continue to build your resume, keeping track of awards, honors, hours of involvement in extracurricular activities and community service.
  • On days out of school, visit colleges to get a sense of what you like in a college. (The process of elimination is important.)
  • Start thinking about career options and necessary education for these goals. Consider taking a summer course or summer program in an area of interest.
  • If enrolled in Algebra II as a sophomore, take the SAT or ACT for the first time in May or June at the end of the Sophomore Year.
  • Do volunteer work in the summer.
  • Take a SAT or ACT preparatory course in the summer.
  • Become familiar with NCAA requirements and NAIA requirements if you want to play sports in college.
  • Keep in mind that your end-of-year averages can determine eligibility to be in Honors classes.
  • September/October: Register to take the PSAT in October
  • November - June: Begin thinking more formally about post-secondary plans (after high school).
  • Continue to visit colleges and begin to formulate a list of potential colleges/vocational/technical schools. At Temple Christian School, a junior is allowed 2 College Days in the spring semester. Click here for a College Day Approval form.
  • Register to take your SAT or ACT a couple of times this year and work to improve your score. If enrolled in Algebra II during your junior year, wait until April or May to take the SAT and ACT.
  • February - April: Be aware of registration deadlines for SAT, ACT, and TSI (Texas Success Initiative).
  • Apply to NCAA or NAIA if desiring to play collegiate sports.
  • Learning Support Services students discuss with the guidance counselor about how to register for alternate testing situations.
  • Attend college fairs to talk to college representatives and gather information about potential schools.
  • Spring: Select a very challenging course load for your senior year that will prepare you for college-level courses.
  • Spring: Schedule a meeting with the guidance counselor to discuss post-secondary plans.
  • April-May: Begin requesting recommendation letters for the following fall.
  • Summer: Start writing practice college essays. The Texas Common Application (required by all Texas public universities) opens during the summer.
  • Work hard to keep your grades and GPA high.
  • Summer: Continue to do more college visitations.
  • Summer: Continue to do community service.
  • Continue to take challenging courses.
  • September: Attend college fairs for additional information about schools on your list.
  • Visit colleges in which you are interested. Temple Christian School students have 5 College Days available during their senior year. Click here for a College Day Approval form.
  • September: Finalize college selections and meet with the counselor.
  • Request transcripts to be sent to colleges that you are considering. (See Transcript Request form)
  • September: Request recommendation letters from teachers, coaches, etc.
  • If wanting to play sports in colleg, have someone make a video of your performance in sports.
  • Ensure that you applied to NCAA or NAIA if choosing to play collegiate sports.
  • September: Finalize activities resume.
  • September/October: Begin to file applications for schools with rolling admissions.
  • September/October: Register for SAT, ACT, and TSI. Make sure to have all scores sent directly to colleges to which you are applying! (November is the latest recommended testing date for Early Decision/Early Action applicants).
  • October: Submit FAFSA for eligibility for federal financial aid.
  • November/December: Be aware of ED/EA and all other deadlines.
  • December/January: Submit remaining applications.
  • Keep copies of everything! Occasionally, things do get lost. Keep copies of college applications, financial aid applications, essays...everything!
  • January/February: If you were deferred, submit extra materials to the college to support your application.
  • Spring: Try to avoid senioritis! Colleges have been known to revoke acceptance if there is a major downturn of grades.
  • May 1 is National Designation Day. You must have the final decision of your college choice and formally decline admission offers to any other university that has offered you admission. This can be as easy as sending an email to the admissions department of a university. Keep a copy of the email which proves you have declined the admissions offer.
  • Finish well; you are preparing for your future!