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Getting Into College In Only 27 Steps

Posted by Vin Gaeta on Tue, May 15, 2012 @ 09:05 AM


test prep chicago

Chicago Academic would like you to have this brief timeline in mind when thinking about college admissions. 

Yes, it does begin with Freshman year.  


  1. Choose the most rigorous classes you are comfortable with. Colleges value students who challenge themselves.

  2. Register for extracurricular activities that you enjoy. Join organizations, clubs and teams that you can help lead.

  3. Consider after school volunteering and job opportunities that exhibit responsibility and contribution.

  4. Get to know your favorite teachers. They may write you a letter of recommendation one day.

  5. If in honors level biology, consider taking the SAT Subject test for that subject.


  1. Take the PLAN Test to give you a good idea of how ready you are for the ACT exam.

  2. Take the PSAT exam to measure your readiness for the SAT.

  3. Try to take leadership roles in extracurricular activities. Colleges love leaders.

  4. If in honors level chemistry or physics, consider taking the SAT Subject test for those subjects in the Spring.

  5. Analyze results from PLAN and PSAT to determine areas of weakness for the ACT and SAT exams.

  6. If National Merit Achievement is within grasp, begin preparing for the Junior year PSAT.


  1. Register for any AP classes you can score a B or higher in.

  2. Take PSAT exam to achieve National Merit Scholarship and determine readiness for ACT.

  3. Begin test prep instruction for ACT (or SAT, if PSAT predicts success) in the fall.

  4. Take February ACT exam in order to get a jump on the college application process.

  5. Research and visit possible colleges. Get a sense for the best fit for you.

  6. Take the April ACT and/or the Prairie State Exam, which includes an official ACT.

  7. Take the appropriate AP at SAT Subject exams in May.

  8. Possibly retake the ACT in June.


  1. In the summer, find a meaningful job, volunteer opportunity or internship to exemplify your maturity and seriousness.

  2. Prepare your college applications and essays.

  3. Register for any AP exams you can score a B or higher in. Colleges love hard working, serious seniors.

  4. Retake ACT or SAT in the fall if needed.

  5. Apply to universities for either early or regular admission.

  6. Complete your FAFSA in order to apply for scholarships and financial aid.

  7. Choose a school to attend based on what best suits your values and expectations.

  8. Graduate!