At Lake Mary Preparatory School college awareness and preparation begins in the ninth-grade.
Our College Counseling program works closely with students and families to find a college or university that will enrich the life of the student and build upon the strong foundation already established at Lake Mary Preparatory School.
Workshops, guest speakers, panel discussions, information sessions, and individual counseling services are implemented to advise families about the choices students will be asked to make in Upper School that will directly affect their college options.
At a very early stage, Lake Mary Preparatory School addresses the various aspects of academic preparation and college awareness which includes the importance of academic achievement and course selection, the necessity of participation in extracurricular activities and summer programs, the role of standardized testing, and financial aid and scholarship opportunities.
Ninth Grade is the beginning of your Upper School experience. College applications are a long way off, but there are some things you should be thinking about as you lay the foundation for a successful Lake Mary Preparatory School experience that will lead to a rewarding college application process.
Investing in LMP
Ninth Grade students should look for ways to form a happy foundation for a great Lake Mary Preparatory School experience and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities available to you here.
One of Lake Mary Preparatory School's strengths is its faculty, so get to know your teachers. They can become mentors, advisors, advocates, and even friends. Do not be afraid to ask your teachers how to be successful in their classes.
You can also invest in your Lake Mary Preparatory School experience by getting involved in activities. Freshman year is a great time to try a lot of things and discover what you like, whether it's athletics, music, service, or clubs. Seek out leadership roles. If you find things to do that you like, you will look forward to school each day and your ability to succeed, even excel in academics and extracurricular life will come more naturally.
It's true - colleges do look at Ninth Grade curriculum and grades. Start now to cultivate the study habits that will help you be successful. If you are struggling in a class, seek out help from your advisor and teachers. Your future test scores will be higher if you start cultivating good habits now.
Read. Read for pleasure. Not only is it entertaining, but it will make you a more interesting person. The more you read, the stronger your vocabulary and reading comprehension will become.
Write. Keep a journal, send letters to your grandmother, write emails to friends from camp, or write poetry--just practice putting words on paper. Never call yourself a poor writer. Tell yourself, "I want to improve my writing."
Think about summer activities. First, be a kid; take a break and set aside time to play. But also think about programs you would like to do in the summer: camp, sports, travel, volunteer, or enrichment programs. The College Counseling Office has a filing cabinet full of summer program resources. Come by any time and take a look. Summer is the perfect time to invest in activities that you may build upon in your high school years.
- Get off to a good start with your grades. The grades you earn in Ninth Grade will be included in your final high school GPA.
- College might seem a long way away, but grades really do count toward college admission and scholarships.
- Explore your interests and possible careers.
- Get involved in extracurricular activities (both school and non-school sponsored).
- Talk to your parents about planning for college expenses. Continue or begin a savings plan for college.
- Look at the college information available in your counselor’s office. Use the Internet to check out college websites.
- Tour a nearby college, if possible. Visit relatives or friends who live on or near a college campus. Check out the dorms, go to the library or student center, and get a feel for college life.
- Investigate summer enrichment programs.
With one year of High School behind you, you may be ready to start looking a little more towards the future, but you still have a lot of schooling ahead, so the most important thing is to continue investing in your Lake Mary Preparatory School experience. Towards that goal, continue to challenge yourself with rigorous courses, and work hard to earn the best grades that you can. Continue the extracurricular activities you started as a Freshman even as you explore new interests. If possible, seek leadership opportunities. Just as you did in ninth-grade, get to know your teachers. One of your Sophomore year teachers may end up writing a letter of recommendation for you when you apply to college.
- In October, the students take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). When you fill out your test sheet, check the box that releases your name to colleges so you can start receiving brochures.
- Become familiar with general college entrance requirements.
- Discuss your PSAT score with your advisor and the college counselor.
- Get involved in activities outside the classroom. The people who read college applications aren’t looking just for grades. Work toward leadership positions in the activities that you like best. Become involved in community service and other volunteer activities.
- Read, read, read. Read as many books as possible from a comprehensive reading list.
- Work on your writing skills—you’ll need them no matter what you do.
- Keep your grades up so you work on getting the highest GPA you can achieve.
- Ask your counselor about postsecondary enrollment options and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.
- Continue to explore interests and careers that you think you might like.
- Begin zeroing in on the type of college you would prefer (two-year or four-year, small or large, rural or urban).
- If you are interested in attending a military academy, such as West Point, now is the time to start gathering information.
- Write to colleges and ask for their academic requirements for admission.
- Visit a few more college campuses. Read all of the mail you receive from colleges. You may see something you like.
- Attend college fairs.
- Keep putting money away for college. Get a summer job.
The following is a college admissions calendar for the junior year. Read it carefully so that you are informed about what to do and what is available to you as you go through this important year in high school.
- Visit with college admission representatives when they visit LMP. A list of these visits is available outside of the College Counseling office.
- Begin thinking about preferences in colleges such as location, size, liberal arts or technical emphasis, coed or single-sex, activities available, majors available, cost, etc.
- Do a general search using criteria you have set for yourself on college information websites.
- Prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT, this is the National Merit Qualifying year.
- Begin preparing for the ACT, SAT Reasoning Test, and consider taking SAT subject tests.
- Meet with your college counselor for formal college planning meeting which includes course review and Senior year planning.
- Make sure that you have a social security number.
- Take a long, hard look at why you want to continue your education after high school so you will be able to choose the best college or university for your needs.
- Make a list of colleges that meet your most important criteria (size, location, distance from home, majors, academic rigor, housing, and cost). Weigh each of the factors according to their importance to you.
- Continue visiting college fairs. You may be able to narrow your choices or add a college to your list.
- Speak to college representatives who visit your high school.
- If you want to participate in Division I, II, III, or NAIA sports in college, start the certification process. Check with your college counselor to make sure you are taking a core curriculum that meets NCAA or NAIA requirements.
- If you are interested in one of the military academies, talk to your counselor about starting the application process now.
- Between now and the end of the school year, parents should schedule a meeting with the college counselor that should include you. We encourage all parents to take an active role in your college search and application process. This meeting will help identify things you can do before your senior year to prepare for the college application process and answer any questions you and your parents may have.
- Plan college visits. Colleges offer information sessions and tours year round. The spring sessions and tours book up early. You will find more flexibility and access if you plan in advance -- especially if you plan to visit colleges during spring break.
- As you plan your senior schedule, be aware of and plan for the curriculum requirements at the schools that most interest you.
- Begin looking into summer programs: camps, sports, travel, a part-time job, etc. You can search for summer programs in our office or at www.petersons.com/summerop.
- Visit college campuses over spring break.
- Consider taking the SAT Reasoning Test, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests.
- Continue to gather information and evaluate the colleges you are considering.
- If you haven't had a meeting with your parents and the college counselor, schedule one before the end of the school year.
- Attend spring college fairs and evening programs held at area hotels and high schools. Details will be in the Junior/Senior bulletin.
- Request letters of recommendation from two teachers. You should choose teachers that know you the best, as opposed to those that you like the best.
- Take AP exams if you are in AP courses.
- If you have not already done so, request letters of recommendation from two teachers and submit the teacher recommendation request form to the College Counseling Office by mid-May.
- Take the opportunity to visit college campuses.
- Talk to people you know who have attended the colleges in which you are interested.
- Continue to read books, magazines, and newspapers.
- Volunteer in your community.
- Compose rough drafts of your college essays and have a teacher read and discuss them with you. Proofread them, and prepare final drafts. Proofread your final essays at least three times.
- Develop a financial aid application plan, including a list of the aid sources, requirements for each application, and a timetable for meeting the filing deadlines.
The fall of your Senior year is the time to finalize your college list and prepare your applications. This is the time to work closely with your college counselor on making your application list appropriate for you and your goals. The more information you share with your counselor, the more help your counselor can give you in this process. We are here to help!
The following is a college admissions calendar for the senior year. Read it carefully so that you are informed about what to do and what is available to you as you go through the application process.
- Schedule a meeting with the college counselor. Your parents are welcomed and encouraged to attend this meeting. Come prepared with a list of colleges you have researched and are seriously considering for application. Your counselor will go over this list with you and add other colleges if needed. Come with questions you have about scholarships, financial aid, standardized testing, etc.
- Make arrangements to visit the colleges. Arrange for an interview with the admission office if it is required or recommended.
- Confirm that you are registered for standardized testing for the fall if you plan to do any more testing. You may confirm or register at SAT or ACT.
- Continue or begin working on your college essays. Many senior English classes assign college essay projects. See the college counselor if you need help with ideas.
- Consider taking the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT again, especially if you are applying under an Early Decision or Early Action plan.
- Concentrate on doing well in your classes. First-semester senior year grades are important to colleges.
- Prepare applications for your colleges. An ideal list includes four to eight colleges: one to two each of a reach, target, and safety school(s).
- Be aware of scholarship deadlines, some deadlines are in November and December. See the counselor if you have scholarship questions that have not been addressed.
- Continue to attend meetings with college admission representatives visiting LMP.
- Continue to research financial aid options. We recommend you look at the financial aid forms even if you think you will not qualify for financial aid. You will be sure to miss out on financial aid if you do not apply. The FAFSA and in some cases the CSS Profile would need to be completed for need-based scholarships.
- If you are admitted to a college under the Early Decision program, you must withdraw all your other applications by writing to the colleges. You are honor bound to do this. Your college could rescind its offer of admission if you do not withdraw your applications to other schools.
- Keep your grades up! Don't let senioritis take over. If you have been admitted to a college by this time, remember that your admission is conditional on your first and second-semester senior grades being at or above the level at which they stood when you were admitted.
- Enjoy having a break from school!
- After completing all your college applications, this is the time to relax and wait for the college's admission decisions.
- Focus on doing well this semester. Don't let senioritis take over! The colleges' acceptances are conditional upon the successful completion of your senior year at the level at which you were performing when you applied. Colleges require that we send a midyear transcript and a final transcript at the end of the school year, so don't be tempted to let up on your efforts in school.
- The College Counseling Office will send an updated transcript with first-semester senior grades to every college to which you have applied.
- Sign up for Florida Bright Futures’ Scholarship – even if you know you are going to school out of state.
- Many of you will receive college decisions letters. Remember to bring copies of all decision letters to the College Counseling Office.
- Notify the college counselor if a college requests additional information in order to make a decision (e.g., updated grades, honors, etc.).
- Keep senioritis at bay. Stay focused on doing well in school!
- If you've been deferred by an early decision or an early action school, talk to your counselor about sending an update letter in early February.
- College decisions will continue to arrive, and you should begin deciding which college you would like to attend from those to which you are admitted. The college counselors are glad to discuss this with you!
- Bring a copy of your decision letter (no matter the outcome) to the College Counseling Office for our records.
- Colleges will offer visitation programs for admitted seniors.
- By April 20, you should have a decision from each of your colleges.
- Bring a copy of your decision letter (no matter the outcome) to the College Counseling Office for our records.
- Carefully choose your college based on all the information you have gathered through this process. Consult your college counselor if you need help with this important decision.
- Submit the required deposit to the school you plan to attend. The deposit will secure your place at the school of your choice. Please only submit to one school. May 1st is the deadline.
- Decline any other offers of admission in writing so that colleges may admit other qualified candidates.
- Take Advanced Placement tests. You will receive your scores in mid-July. Make sure you submit all AP scores to the school you plan to attend in the fall.
- Time to graduate!
- The College Counseling Office will send your final transcript to the college you are attending.
- Email your college counselor with your initial impressions of your new school. We will share this information with students who are interested in your college or university. We would love to hear from you!
Prospective College Athletes:
- You are academically sound, athletically gifted and socially well adjusted, and you're thinking about playing a sport in college. What do you do? This advice applies to any athlete (male or female) in any sport.
- Speak with your High School coach and get a feel for the division level (I, II, or III) which your talents match comfortably.
- All students interested in playing Division I, II, or III sports in college must submit the NCAA Eligibility Center application at the end of the junior year in high school. Student-athletes planning to attend an NAIA school must also complete an eligibility application through the NAIA Eligibility Center.
- Start your college search early. During or after your sophomore year, you may want to make informal visits to some colleges. Making these informal visits give you a foundation of knowledge that will help you make better decisions during the recruitment process.
- Build a flexible list before colleges show interest in you. The list should include schools you would attend even if you could not play a sport (what if you are injured and can't play?).
- Do not wait for a phone call or letter from a coach. At the end of junior year, plan to visit several of your top colleges. Also, send the college coaches a cover letter and athletic resume. The resume should include contact information for not only your varsity coach, but also your club coach, unofficial transcript, team schedule, and school profile. A sample of an athletic resume is in the college counseling handbook.
- Write your own personal letter and athletic resume to the coach(es) of the sport(s) in which you are interested. Also, complete the available athlete questionnaires on the school's athletic website.
- Initiate a campus visit. Call ahead to set an appointment with the coach and/or admission office. Plan to spend the night on campus if possible. Take in a practice and be sure to check out the playing facilities as well as spend time with current student-athletes.
- Send a thank you note to the coaching staff after visiting a school. There are several coaches who spent time and resources to host you. You want to let them know how much you appreciate what they did for you. It also reminds them of who you are!
- Send a demo video of your playing ability when appropriate to do so.
- Send a full game video of your playing abilities, as opposed to a highlight film.
- Participate in summer sports skill camps in your area whenever possible. Several college coaches from all levels attend the camps and will scout you.
- Attend a sports camp at the college(s) where you have a strong desire to attend and play.
- Work in partnership with your LMP coach, your club coach, and your college counselor. Keep all parties informed about the feedback you are getting from schools. Remember, the only office with the authority to admit you are in the admissions office.
- When you have found the school that meets your needs and expectations, be sure to give it full consideration. No matter whether the school is in NCAA Division I, II, III, or NAIA--scholarship or non-scholarship--there is no substitute for the complete college experience. Make sure all the elements fit your needs, athletic and academic.
- You should be wary of recruiting and scholarship companies that charge you for their services. Often times the services that they offer are procedures that you can really organize yourself.