College Prep

“The college prep resources at my school are the absolute best. It is a charter school focused on college prep and the guidance counselors are always willing and excited to help, and their help is of very high quality.”Student, Class of 2016
East Mountain High School’s college counseling process provides a comprehensive, individualized approach to assist students in identifying and applying to the colleges and universities best matching their needs and aspirations. Our Guidance Office challenges students to explore new and exciting educational opportunities nationwide and to reach for options that will stretch and broaden their academic horizons.

In supporting each student and family, the Office’s mission is to help manage the application and selection processes, prepare for the transition to college and to optimize opportunities for a successful college experience. Our mission is to assure each student is accepted by a college or university that best fits his or her unique needs and aspirations.

Students should realize that their academic performance from the first day of high school will impact their future college plans. Colleges look to GPA, standardized test scores and extracurricular involvement when making admissions decisions. There are important steps to be taking during each year of high school to get prepared for college.

Below are some things students and parents should be doing during each year. For more detailed lists of actions and deadlines that students will be working on in advocacy during the school year, please download the Advocacy College Preparation Elements.


Freshman Year

Advocacy College Preparation Elements – Freshmen

Research into potential careers may help freshmen realize the steps required to achieve their goals. They should be doing the following:

  • Take career assessments
  • Enroll in challenging academic classes
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities
  • Research college admissions requirements
  • Research scholarship requirements

Sophomore Year

Advocacy College Preparation Elements – Sophomores

Students should realize that they will be taking important standardized tests within a year. They should be doing the following:

  • Enroll in challenging academic classes
  • Take advantage of dual credit opportunities
  • Become more focused in extracurricular activities
  • Research potential majors
  • Research possible colleges
  • Take the PSAT
  • Begin to take practice ACT and SAT tests

Junior Year

Advocacy College Preparation Elements – Juniors

By the end of junior year, students should have a list of colleges and majors they are interested in pursuing. They should be doing the following:

  • Enroll in challenging academic classes
  • Take advantage of dual credit opportunities
  • Take leadership positions in extracurricular activities
  • Take the PSAT (the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) in October
  • Develop a list of colleges
  • Take the SAT in January or March, if needed
  • Take the ACT in April
  • Arrange visits to colleges, possibly over Spring Break
  • Discuss possibilities with family
  • Choose senior year classes in April
  • Meet with students, parents and college advisers
  • Attend SPSO workshops on the college application and preparation process

Senior Year

Advocacy College Preparation Elements – Seniors

Senior year should be viewed as the final step in the college admissions process, not as the time to start. Students may feel overwhelmed at the many decisions that must be made and the deadlines that must be met. They should be doing the following in the fall:

  • Enroll in challenging academic classes
  • Take advantage of dual credit opportunities
  • Attend the RMACAC College Fair in October
  • Narrow down list of colleges
  • Retake ACT or SAT if needed
  • Gather letters of recommendation
  • Write personal statements and essays
  • Complete college applications between September and November
  • Submit the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and attend the February workshop
  • Apply for scholarships as needed and if eligible

In the spring of senior year, students should be doing the following:

  • Compare financial aid packages in March and April
  • Decide on college of choice and make commitment in May
  • Make financial arrangements
  • Plan living arrangements for next year