College Planning Timeline

Freshman Year

  • Take a solid course load with challenging courses. Work hard to insure a strong 9th grade academic performance. Freshman grades count in college admissions.
  • Get involved in activities at Thayer Academy or in your residential community.

Sophomore Year

  • Take a solid course load with challenging courses. Work hard to insure a strong 10th grade academic performance. Don’t succumb to “sophomore slump” – a common GPA killer that students come to regret by their senior year.
  • Maintain involvement in extra-curricular activities. Develop your talent and potential for leadership in a few areas while continuing to try new things.
  • Take the PSAT in October.
  • Take appropriate SAT subject tests in May or June (most likely Biology, maybe Math IC)
  • Explore possible career interests, if any.
  • In the summer before junior year, visit some colleges (begin with those in the Boston area).

Junior Year

  • Take a solid course load with challenging courses. Work hard to insure a strong 11th grade academic performance. Many colleges look at the junior year as an excellent predictor of a student’s potential for college.
  • Maintain involvement in extra-curricular activities. By now, you should be developing some clear interests (even passions), ones that you might even consider pursuing in college.
  • Take the PSAT in October. This is excellent practice for your first SAT.
  • Begin working formally with the College Counseling Office in January. Attend college counseling seminars in February. Meet with college counselors individually. Parents are encouraged to meet with counselors as well.
  • Begin to think about college characteristics that interest you. Attend the college fair at Milton Academy to connect with colleges that may fit your preliminary interests. Visit colleges when the opportunity arises (spring break, school holidays, summer months).
  • If interested in playing intercollegiate sports, begin to contact college coaches through email and phone.
  • Register and take standardized tests. SAT offered in Jan, March, May, and June. ACT offered in Feb, April, and June.
  • Register for and take the SAT II Subject Tests as advised in June.
  • Take the AP tests as appropriate in May.

College Planning Sessions

College Planning Presentation for All Parents

Offered every November, this is an opportunity to learn about everything related to college planning, including the college search, course selection, applications, standardized testing, etc.

Junior Workshops

Juniors attend workshops starting in January and continuing through the semester. Workshops cover the college search, standardized testing, timeline, specifics of an application, and resources. Students also gain access to the College Counseling Handbook and begin using Naviance to support their college process efforts.

Individual Meetings

In January of their junior year, students are assigned a college counselor with whom they meet individually to develop a customized college counseling plan.

January Presentation for Parents of Juniors

Parents are included in the college counseling process from the beginning. We discuss the objectives and mechanics of the college search in this first meeting.

Sophomore Workshops

Second semester sophomore year, college counselors conduct seminars with groups of sophomores to introduce them to Naviance, help them explore academic and career options, and highlight what colleges seek in an applicant. We emphasize the importance of taking advantage of academic and extracurricular opportunities at Thayer as a foundation for college preparation.

9th and 10th Grade Outreach

While the formal college counseling process begins in a student’s junior year, we speak with the ninth and tenth grade classes to address the importance of their early work at Thayer. We are also available to meet individually with parents and students to discuss how a student’s choices (academic, extracurricular, etc.) in the Upper School may impact their college goals.