The UCS College Culture - Aspire, Prepare, Achieve!
The College Culture Timeline
- Start saving for college. Look into all of the different types of savings plans available.
- Be aware that some students have the opportunity to be accelerated in math. Qualifying elementary students may even take math at the junior high school.
- Learn more about opportunities to take advanced classes. When the counselors visit the sixth graders, they send home information about all of the classes offered for the following year.
- Sixth graders attend the district’s Career Focus luncheon. They create a resume and business card to take with them, and they sit with a community member from the business world to discuss careers, college and the future.
- Elementary school counselors conduct career lessons in grades K-6 and introduce the Career Pathways to the sixth graders.
- Continue saving for college.
- Counselors introduce students to Career Cruising, which is an online career guidance and planning system, and help students complete the Career Matchmaker portion to get an idea of possibilities for the future. Students will see a list of potential future careers that match their interests.
- Students learn more about the Career Pathways that match their interests using Career Cruising. These pathways will show elective classes that will give them if they pursue a career in that pathway.
- Students should make a list of academic and personal goals and revise it annually.
- Parents can begin searching financial aid and scholarship websites to see what will be required in the future.
- When scheduling for 8th grade, students should think about taking accelerated classes to prepare for future AP classes. Also, students should consider taking a foreign language in 8th grade. This would give someone an opportunity to take five years of a language (including AP).
- If students want to apply to the Utica Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology the following year, they must take Algebra I in the 8th grade. Eighth graders not in the accelerated path can talk to their counselor about options to become accelerated in math.
8th Grade (This is a very important year for planning.)
- Parents and students should learn about the Michigan Merit Curriculum. These are the high school graduation requirements that students will have to meet in grades 9-12.
- All 8th grade students will complete an Educational Development Plan (EDP) with the counselors. An EDP is a planning tool to direct a student’s educational plan and career planning activities.
The primary emphasis of the EDP is to develop a student’s statement of career goals and a plan of action for reaching them. The EDP engages each student to think about the classes he/she needs to take in junior high school and high school, and how those credits coordinate with his/ her career pathway so that an understanding of the relevance between high school and preparation for entering college or the workforce is enhanced. While creating an EDP, each student plans all the classes he/she will take in grades 9-12. The purpose of this is to make sure that students can fit all the classes they want to take into four years, meet the prerequisites needed, and make sure all graduation requirements are fulfilled. The EDP can be used to guide students through scheduling for the next four years. Some schools even provide parent workshops to help parents learn more about Career Cruising and EDPs. If you have more questions about your child’s EDP, you can contact your child’s counselor. He/she can provide you with your child’s password and explain Career Cruising.
- Parents and students can use Career Cruising to research colleges and review requirements to get into various schools.
- Parents and students can use Career Cruising to research careers, and find out information such as job descriptions, education required, salaries, working conditions, and more.
- Parents and students should attend the UCS Academic Blitz and Career Expo.
- 8th grade is an important year if your child would like to participate in special programs offered by Utica Community Schools. Students can only apply during 8th grade to attend the following programs in grades 9-12:
- Utica Center for Math, Science, and Technology (MST)
- Utica Academy for International Studies (UAIS)
- Utica Center for Science and Industry (UCSI)
- Parents and students can attend the UCS Academic Blitz to learn more about accelerated and special options the district offers, including taking AP classes, and learning more about MST, UAIS, and UCSI.
- Students have the opportunity to take an AP class during their 9th grade year. AP World History is a college-level class, and students can take a test in May that could earn them college credit. There is a fee to take the test. AP classes can also increase grade point averages.
- Students are able to take online classes in order to fit more classes into their schedules. Contact your child’s counselor for more information about this. There is a fee to take an online class.
- Students will update their Educational Development Plans with their counselors this year. They will continue to browse Career Cruising, learning about colleges, careers, and more.
- Ninth grade students will take the EXPLORE test this year. This is a college readiness test. The results will give feedback about the students’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as how to improve those areas. The results are a great asset to use when preparing to take the ACT test in the future. Students should work hard to improve any weak areas indicated in these results.
- The grades earned in ninth grade begin to create an official transcript. Even if a student is attending a junior high school, these grades will go on their permanent transcript that will be sent to colleges. If a student is struggling in a class, he/she should see his counselor for tutoring lists and other options for help.
- Parents should start a folder to save everything related to college admissions.
- Students should get involved with extra-curricular activities. College applications will have places to list all these activities.
- Continue to search more about financial aid and scholarships. You can get a list of websites from your counselor.
- Freshmen and Sophomore Years
- Plan your high school courses, including college prep classes. Athlete should check www.ncaa.org for minimum requirements.
- All grades from the 9th grade on influence your overall GPA. Colleges and future employers will look at your GPA when reviewing your applications.
- School and extra-curricular activities are iimportant for acceptance at most universities. Participate in as many activities as you can. Besides, these activities are fun.
- Discuss college costs with your family and start a savings plan.
- Junior Year
- Continue your school and community involvement and keep up your grades. Enroll in college prep/ Advanced Placement classes.
- Think about what you want as a career. You can find information on jobs and careers at www.bls.gov/oco
- Make a list of things important to you in college (campus size, location, cost, class size, major, housing, sports, etc) Use these criteria to find schools that fit you best. The web sites on the opposite page are very helpful.
- Talk to others who attend your top choice schools. Attend college fairs and make appointments with visiting college representative. Find out acceptance requirements, costs and other relevant information. Talk with your family and try to narrow your choices.
- Register for required entrance exams (PSAT www.ets.com and college board.com and www.act.org.
- Request applications or look at the application form online for the schools that interest you.
- Develop a financial aid plan.
- Make a plan to complete all items for college when they are due
- Start to find people who can give you references. Normally you will need three references.
- If you planning to be an athlete, you should contact college coaches and join summer camps where college coaches will be in attendance.
- Senior Year
- Continue your school and community involvement and keep up your grades.
- Enroll in college prep/Advanced Placement classes. Take AP exams to see how many college credits you can get.
- Take ACT & SAT exams.
- Make sure you register for selective services at age 18. If you do not register you may not be eligible for federal aid.
- Discuss your final choice of schools with your family and teachers.
- Keep and organize all corresponding related to applications and financial aid.
- It you are an athlete, you must make an athletic resume and send to the coaches at your top schools. Make sure to request info on available scholarships.
- Get all your transcripts, letters of reference and test scores.
- Apply for admissions to the schools in which you are most interested. You can apply online at most schools.
- Have your parents complete IRS tax returns early.
- Compare your offers from each school.
- Make a choice, sign letter of intent and make tuition and housing deposits.
(High School suggestions courtesy of Stevenson High School)
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