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Stay on Track

Checklist for this Week, November 12, 2013


For freshmen

  • Now's the time to learn how to stay organized. Make an effort to keep track of your time and activities.
  • Buy or put together a daily planner to track your activities, appointments, and assignments.
  • Go through your class notebooks, sorting and organizing the information you have into a binder or other useful format.
  • Go through your locker, throwing away trash or other items that you no longer need. Consider each item you decide to keep, and if you don't need it regularly, consider taking it home.
  • Set up a study time and stick to it. When you don't have homework, use your study time to read ahead in your textbooks or study for college entrance exams.

For sophomores

  • It's important for you to begin to develop your leadership skills at this point in your high school career. Consider leadership options that may be available to you.
  • Take on the opportunity to lead in an after school activity, school project or assignment, or other task.
  • Learn to organize multiple tasks; use a notebook, day planner, or other tool to keep your assignments and appointments handy.
  • Money skills are important. Watch your spending. Set up a budget, and try to stick to it.

For juniors

  • By now, you should be receiving lots of mail from colleges, universities, testing services, and scholarship and grant programs.
  • Set up a sorting system to keep everything organized so it will be easy to locate.
  • Find three boxes and label them as follows: "Definitely Interested," "Maybe Interested," and "Not Interested." When you receive mail, sort the packets into one of these categories.
  • Spend a couple of hours each weekend exploring the contents of the boxes and flag important sections of materials you will want to refer to later.

For seniors

  • The time to think about how to pay for your education is now. If you haven't discussed college costs with your parents by now, it's important to have that discussion as soon as possible.
  • Write down deadlines for financial aid applications; keep an eye out for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
  • As you receive college applications, go through the information that is sent to you and see if additional forms are required for you to prepare and send directly to the school. If no forms were sent, call the school's financial aid office.
  • Set up a draft spending plan and start to estimate what expenses you will have once you go to college. If you plan to attend a school that requires you to move away from home, this spending plan is especially important. You can use the in school (www.aie.org/paying-for-college/finance-tools/use-a-spending-plan-while-in-school.cfm) and out of school (www.aie.org/paying-for-college/finance-tools/how-to-graduate-with-a-spending-plan.cfm) spending plan worksheets at AIE to get started.

For parents

  • Organization is an important skill to teach your child. By preparing them to handle multiple tasks and responsibilities, you will help equip them for college.
  • Work with your child to set up an organizational system for filing/sorting schoolwork and college materials. Reinforce a daily activity of sorting this information.
  • Teach your child how to identify particularly important documents. These may include personal identification items, bills, registration and other verification documents, and other similar materials. These days, privacy is a big concern, so children need to become especially adept at protecting their identity and property.