College Planning Timeline

Freshman Year

  • Begin to earn the highest grades with the most rigorous course load that the student can support. See the SCS Curriculum Guide for review of course work available and SCS graduation requirements.
  • Begin a high school habit of leadership roles, club and extracurricular participation and record such on a personal resume keeping track of all awards and honors.
  • Begin to research and explore interests/vocations and colleges for your future.
  • Use the interactive World-of-Work website to begin career exploration. Each SCS freshmen student will take the Explore test in October.  The results will be mailed to students and families for further exploration of scores and interest indicators for future educational planning.

Sophomore Year

  • Continue earning the highest grades with the most rigorous course load that the student can support. See the SCS Curriculum Guide for review of course work available and SCS graduation requirements. Are you in line to be eligible for dual enrollment and/or AP classes for possible college credit your junior year? Commit to learning as a daily discipline; read a newspaper, watch documentaries, visit the library routinely acquainting oneself with the research engines available for future reports, read and learn new vocabulary words through activities like Scrabble.
  • Continue a high school habit of leadership roles, club and extracurricular participation and record such on a personal resume keeping track of all awards and honors.Continue to research of interests/vocations and colleges for your future. What academic interest summer camp experience can you participate in? Can you visit one or two colleges this year on school vacation days?
  • Use the interactive World-of-Work Career Map to see how student scores indicate their in-line status for college prep. Each SCS sophomore student will take the Plan test in OctoberThis test measures their mid-point level of high school academic success. The results will be mailed to students and families for further exploration of how student scores are in-line for future educational planning.


Junior Year

  • Continue your pursuit of academic excellence.
  • Your college applications submitted your senior fall will reflect this year’s GPA and class rank and will leave an instant impression upon college admission counselors. Expect to spend much time outside of school on academic studies.  Review with the Guidance counselor your junior and senior year academic course offerings that provide for you the greatest success and also prepare you most thoroughly for higher education based on your now evolving interest areas you plan on pursuing in college. Make sure all college placement testing has been completed by State College of Florida’s due date in the summer before plans to begin a dual enrollment class your junior year.  See the SCS Curriculum Guide for review of course work available, college entrance exam testing information, dual enrollment and AP requirements and SCS graduation requirements.
  • Strengthen your participation in leadership roles, club and extracurricular participation and record such on a personal resume keeping track of all awards and honors.
  • Narrow your interest/vocational options to a few areas and assure college matches.
  • Which college programs that you are considering support your interest areas? Limit your college list this year to a maximum of 8-12.  If you are already committed in your mind to one or two college choices make sure that your academic scores are on tract for a successful admission. If in doubt, widen your circle of options. Contact the SCS Guidance office to review your school’s viewbook, if available, or request the mailing of material to your home address. Review your selective list of college web sites thoroughly keeping track of helpful information.
  • Review with parents the financial opportunities for working together to make college available after graduation from Sarasota Christian School.
  • Attend at least two college fairs to further gain information of all the options that may fulfill the student’s interest areas. What questions are you prepared to ask admissions counselors?
  • Complete 2-6 campus visits to explore one’s fit to a particular college/university utilizing SCS vacation days first and the two excused college visit days when necessary. Make sure you contact the admissions office ahead of time when planning a campus visit to ensure appointments being made with faculty heads, student leaders and financial aid office. Obtain necessary absence notification forms from SCS Guidance office ahead of campus visit. What questions are you prepared to ask admissions counselors? Why have you chosen these questions
  • Register for the SAT Reasoning test and ACT test. The SAT is a standard college entrance exam that measures student strengths in math, reading, and writing and costs $51 for the SAT Reasoning test and $24 for the Subject area test with a reduced amount for subsequent Subject area tests taken on the same day. The ACT college entrance exam tests students in English, reading, mathematics, and science reasoning and costs $36.50 and $52.50 with the writing test included. Both tests will send your scores free to four colleges of your choice if indicated upon registration. Fee waiver applications for the cost of the exam are available through the Guidance Office at SCS.

PSAT and National Merit Scholarship

  • Each SCS junior student will take the PSAT test in October. This standardized test is a practice for the SAT and gives students a qualifying chance to enter the National Merit Scholarship Competition based on their PSAT score. See National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).The PSAT will measure critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. PSAT results show a students strengths and weaknesses and allow for added study over areas of needed improvement before the formal SAT is taken preferably in the spring of a student’s junior year. The PSAT maps out clearly a student’s score compared to other students seeking similar college entrance and assists in assessment of student access to college of their choice. Your PSAT results will be reviewed with the student at SCS and mailed home for further consultation with parents for future planning. The PSAT is an excellent practice for the SAT as one becomes familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions that are included in the SAT.
  • Advanced Placement exam(s) to earn college credit should be signed up for by March. This information will be disseminated in the AP SCS class(es) with information also of the location(s) available for the AP exam.


Senior Year

  • Continue your pursuit of academic excellence.
  • See the SCS Curriculum Guide for review of course work available, college entrance exam testing information, dual enrollment and AP requirements and SCS graduation requirements.
  • Resist the urge to slow down your senior year and graduate with the minimum credits required. Finish your academic career on a high and rigorous note. Colleges do not look favorably on an “easy” senior year when your ability says you could have accomplished more.
  • Continue your participation in leadership roles, club and extracurricular participation and record such on a personal resume keeping track of all awards and honors.
  • Narrow your college list to 2-6 by early fall. Do these colleges still support your academic interest area, extracurricular interests, religious identity, class and undergraduate size, graduation rates, location, living options, price range and scholarship availability?  If you are yet undecided about the college that’s right for you, make an appointment with the Guidance counselor, attend an early fall college fair, make some college campus visits, talk to alumni, family, church connections, and teachers. If making college visits, first utilize SCS vacation days and then the two excused college visit days when necessary. Obtain necessary absence notification forms from SCS Guidance office ahead of campus visit. What questions are you prepared to ask admissions counselors? Why have you chosen these questions? Make sure you contact the college admissions office ahead of time when planning a campus visit to ensure appointments being made with faculty heads, student leaders and financial aid office.
  • Review your junior year SAT/ACT test results. If you are already committed in your mind to one or two college choices make sure that your test scores and academic gpa/class rank are on tract for a successful admission. If in doubt or if you need a higher ACT score or an elevated sub score on a SAT section, make plans in Aug./Sept. to re-test by Oct. If based on your junior test scores and current SCS academic standing entrance into your top school is not assured, widen your circle of college options comparing test entry requirements to your junior scores and to what is feasible with a re-test early senior fall. If you have not tested yet make sure you secure a SAT and/or ACT baseline score by the Oct. testing date.
  • SAT and ACT scores should be solidified the fall semester of the senior year to allow for scores to be used in competitive college entrance decisions made often during the fall of one’s senior year. For most students this will be the second and final testing for their personal best scores. For those seniors who did not test their junior spring, testing in the fall does leave adequate time for re-testing, if necessary, to obtain sub-scores in the SAT and complete unit higher scores in the ACT to gain admission and scholarship possibilities from the student’s top college choices-as long as deadlines for such scores were not in the fall of one’s senior year.
  • Register for the SAT Reasoning test and ACT test. The SAT is a standard college entrance exam that measures student strengths in math, reading, and writing and costs $51 for the SAT Reasoning test and $24 for the Subject area test with a reduced amount for subsequent Subject area tests taken on the same day. The ACT college entrance exam tests students in English, reading, mathematics, and science reasoning and costs $36.50 and $52.50 with the writing test included. Both tests will send your scores free to four colleges of your choice if indicated upon registration. Fee waiver applications for the cost of the exam are available through the Guidance office at SCS.
  • Ask teachers or school administrators with whom you have been building relationships these last four years for recommendations if requested by the colleges you’re applying to. Use your Capstone resources in providing the recommendation writer a page of your strengths and interests so they may more accurately reflect a honest and helpful recommendation. All recommendations from SCS will be confidential and sent in a sealed envelope or emailed depending on the school’s requirements.
  • Check by Sept. to determine if any colleges you’re applying to have early action or early decision and take appropriate actions.
  • Complete and submit college applications from Oct.-Dec. 1 paying close attention to any school application deadlines. Most college applications will be submitted on line. Print out and save all documents sent for admission. Remember transcript requests need to be sent through the SCS registrar’s office before your application is complete. Confirm with all college admission offices that your application package has been received.
  • Plan your interview with colleges to which you applied according to their protocol.
  • Review with parents the financial opportunities for working together to make college available after graduation from Sarasota Christian School.

Florida’s Bright Future Scholarship Awards

In early Dec. SCS seniors will register during Capstone for evaluation of their qualifying status for Bright Futures scholarship monies. The changing qualifications and potential award amounts are discussed on the home page for Florida’s Bright Futures Award.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

In early Jan. seniors need their family to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application for financial assistance will allow the schools to which you’re accepted to determine a complete awards package to offer you based on your expected family contribution and any academic or merit based scholarships applied to the total costs. States disperse aid according to their state deadlines and so time is of the essence to complete the FAFSA. See the government’s website for financial aid for higher education for help with understanding and completing the FAFSA.

Acceptance letters and making your final choice

By March, you will begin to receive acceptance letters from colleges of your choice. With your family’s completed FAFSA you can now compare the award package amounts as you determine a final decision. Please contact the Guidance office at SCS with all college acceptance letters and award amounts earned.

Advanced Placement exam for college credit

AP exam(s) to earn college credit should be signed up for by March. This information will be disseminated in the AP SCS class(es) with information also of the location(s) available for the AP exam.