Get College Bound with Dr. Chris

COLLEGE BOUND STUDENTS BOOKMARK THIS PAGE: provides timely tips and up to the minute advice about the College Admissions and College Application Process. - Get College Bound with Dr. Chris

Build Your College Planning Library! The 2014–2015 Editions Are In!

It’s that time of year where stu­dents, par­ents, and edu­ca­tors stock theircb-2015-front-cover (2) shelves with col­lege plan­ning tools. Dr. Chris­tine Hand Gon­za­les has writ­ten sev­eral books you may find help­ful to you in the col­lege search and appli­ca­tion process,  as well as the finan­cial plan­ning and schol­ar­ship search.

Top rec­om­men­da­tions include Col­lege Bound: Proven Ways to Plan and Pre­pare For Get­ting Into the Col­lege Of Your Dreams,the com­pan­ion work­book, My College Bound Plan, Your Col­lege Plan­ning Survival Guide: Smart Tips From Stu­dents, Par­ents and Pro­fes­sion­als Who Made It Through, and Pay­ing for College With­out Break­ing the Bank: The Ulti­mate Stu­dents, Par­ent and Educa­tor Guide to Over 500 Finan­cial Aid and Schol­ar­ship Resources  ( Read more about book choices — click here.

 “Col­lege Bound” and the com­pan­ion work­book, “My Col­lege Bound Plan” guides you through the col­lege plan­ning time­line, the search and mcbp-2014-proof-cover[1]appli­ca­tion process, and cam­pus vis­its, with addi­tional tips and resources. It will show ways to approach coun­selors, teach­ers, or mod­er­a­tors to request an effec­tive let­ter of rec­om­men­da­tion, give tips on self-marketing through the col­lege essay, pro­vide sug­ges­tions for a top-notch resume of extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties, and offer advice for tak­ing stan­dard­ized tests. If you are a bud­ding artist, a com­pet­i­tive ath­lete, or inter­ested in a mil­i­tary career, or tran­si­tion­ing from being home-schooled to col­lege, this book is for you. If you have spe­cial needs or a dis­abil­ity, this book is for you. If you are think­ing about learn­ing a trade or attend­ing com­mu­nity col­lege, this book is for you. Inter­ested in under­stand­ing the “nuts and bolts” of finan­cial aid and where to find schol­ar­ships? This book is for you. Look­ing for an exten­sive list of pub­li­ca­tions and inter­net resources that is beyond com­pare? “Col­lege Bound” is for you – giv­ing you all these resources and more.Each book offers time­lines, check­lists, reli­able inter­net resources and much more. See more books here!

Grade 12, Senior Year Action Plan

Fall Semes­ter


Check your tran­scripts to make sure you have all the cred­its you need to get into your college(s) of choice. Find out from the col­leges to which you are apply­ing whether or not they need offi­cial copies of your tran­scripts (sent directly from your high school) at the time of application.

Reg­is­ter for October/November SAT Rea­son­ing Test, SAT Sub­ject Test, and ACT (with writ­ing) tests.

Take another look at your list of col­leges, and make sure that they still sat­isfy your require­ments. Add and/or remove col­leges as necessary.

Make sure you meet the require­ments (includ­ing any tran­script require­ments) for all the col­leges to which you want to apply. Double-check the dead­lines, and apply.

Give any rec­om­men­da­tion forms to the appro­pri­ate teach­ers or coun­selors with stamped, college-addressed, envelopes mak­ing cer­tain that your por­tion of the forms are filled out com­pletely and accu­rately.  Be sure to give them a resume of your activities.

Most early deci­sion and early action appli­ca­tions are due between Octo­ber 1 and Novem­ber 1. Keep this in mind if you intend to take advan­tage of these options and remem­ber to request that your high school send your offi­cial tran­scripts to the col­lege to which you are apply­ing. Read what seniors should be doing dur­ing the appli­ca­tion process each month of their senior year.

Action Plan for Junior Year — Grade 11

Fall Semes­ter

Main­tain­ing your grades dur­ing your junior year is espe­cially impor­tant. You should be doing at least two hours of home­work each night and par­tic­i­pat­ing in study groups. Using a com­puter can be a great tool for orga­niz­ing your activ­i­ties and achiev­ing the grades you want.

Talk to your guid­ance coun­selor (or teach­ers, if you don’t have access to a guid­ance coun­selor) about the fol­low­ing: Avail­abil­ity of and enroll­ment in Advanced Place­ment classes.

Sched­ules and reg­is­tra­tion for the PSAT, SAT Rea­son­ing Test and SAT Sub­ject Test, ACT with Writ­ing, and AP exams. Remem­ber that when you take the PSAT in your junior year, the scores will count towards the National Achieve­ment Pro­gram and the National Merit Schol­ar­ship Pro­gram (and it is good prac­tice for the SAT Rea­son­ing Test). Read more on the action plan for stu­dents each semes­ter of their junior year.

Action Plan — Sophomore Year — Grade 10

Talk to your guid­ance coun­selor (or teach­ers, if you don’t have access to a guid­ance coun­selor) about the following:

Review­ing the high school cur­ricu­lum needed to sat­isfy the require­ments of the col­leges you are inter­ested in attending.

Find out about Advanced Place­ment courses:

  • What courses are available?
  • Are you are eli­gi­ble for the classes you want to take?
  • How to  enroll in them for your junior year?

Update your file, or start one if you haven’t already. “See Action Plan — Grade 9” for a list of what it should con­tain. Read more about extracur­ric­u­lar and par­tic­i­pa­tion in other programs.

What Are Colleges Looking For In a Student Applicant?

What are the fac­tors that affect the deci­sions of the col­lege admis­sions com­mit­tee? Some carry more weight in the appli­ca­tion process than oth­ers. These are ranked from most influ­en­tial to least. Chal­leng­ing Sched­ule; Aca­d­e­mic Per­for­mance;  Stan­dard­ized Test Scores Con­sis­tent with Grades;  Rank in Class;  Pas­sion­ate involve­ment in Extracur­ric­u­lar Activ­i­ties;  Con­tri­bu­tion to Com­mu­nity through Vol­un­teer Activ­i­ties;  Appli­ca­tion Essay – Per­sonal State­ment — Authen­tic­ity, reflec­tive, impact-oriented;  Let­ters of Rec­om­men­da­tion– Counselor/Teacher;  Tip­ping fac­tors that can play a role in admis­sions;  Inter­view;  Fam­ily Ties and Legacy;  Internships/Portfolios/Jobs – Out of School Activ­i­ties;  Geo­graphic Diver­sity;  Aca­d­e­mic Diver­sity;  Extracur­ric­u­lar Diver­sity;  Ethnic/Racial Diver­sity; and  Socioe­co­nomic Diversity.

Action Plan — Freshman Year — Grade 9

Talk to your guid­ance coun­selor (or teach­ers, if you don’t have access to a guid­ance coun­selor) about the following:


Attend­ing a four-year col­lege or university

Estab­lish­ing your col­lege prepara­tory classes; and a sched­ule which should con­sist of at least four col­lege prepara­tory classes per year, including:

-   4 years of English

-   4 years of Math (through Alge­bra II or Trigonometry)

-   2 years of For­eign Lan­guage, minimum

-   3 to 4 years of Nat­ural Sci­ence (two lab sci­ences such as Chem­istry and Biol­ogy; Phys­i­cal Sci­ence or Physics)

-   3 years of History/Social Stud­ies (World and United States His­tory, Economics/Government)

-   1 elec­tive of Art

-   1 year of elec­tives from the list above

-   Phys­i­cal Education/Health


Each stu­dent should check with their State Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion to ver­ify col­lege prepara­tory course require­ments. Cre­ate a file of the your doc­u­ments and more. Read on.

Making a Plan — Where To Start — Middle School Years

Are you think­ing about attend­ing col­lege or train­ing in a field of inter­est? It is never too early to get started in the process even if it is a few years away. You can start posi­tion­ing your­self to get into col­lege by fol­low­ing the col­lege plan­ning time­line as a guide.

Talk with a school coun­selor about:

Tak­ing courses required for entrance into high school and devel­op­ing strong study habits

Review col­lege prepara­tory courses you plan on tak­ing in high school includ­ing Eng­lish, math, his­tory, sci­ence, and Mod­ern and Clas­si­cal Languages

Par­tic­i­pat­ing in sum­mer enrich­ment pro­grams or community-based extracur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties that may be avail­able in your county or school

Start­ing to read” mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers arti­cles, and books of interest

Doing  well on stan­dard­ized tests