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									College Planning Timeline
Before beginning high school
Check the requirements for colleges your child may be interested in. Most Louisiana colleges require the
TOPS Core Curriculum. (TOPS Core Curriculum: )

Encourage students to make the best grades they can. Higher GPA helps with scholarships.

Be sure to keep track of classes and grades in order to put together a transcript. See sample transcripts at
the following websites:

10th Grade

Be sure to register your student under the SBESE-Approved Home Study Program beginning in 10th grade
to be eligible for TOPS.

Work on ACT prep. Take ACT as needed. Higher ACT scores can mean more money from TOPS and
other college scholarships. (TOPS Information: ) ACT scores are also
often used for placement in college classes for math and English, and high scores can even earn credit in
those areas at some colleges.

11th Grade

Take ACT. Repeat until satisfied with score.

Take PSAT to be considered for National Merit Scholarships. (Can also be taken in 10th grade, but will
only be considered for National Merit Scholarships when taken in 11th.) Contact the guidance counselor
of a local high school in August to make arrangements. The test is given in October each year.

Narrow down college choices and research those thoroughly, especially focusing on deadlines, test
requirements, and admission requirements.

Many colleges have preview days for high school juniors and seniors. Check those out and go visit.

12th Grade
Take ACT again if necessary. Some colleges have application deadlines as early as December to be
eligible for scholarships, so make sure you allow plenty of time to get ACT results before the deadline.

Begin applying to chosen colleges. Be aware of deadlines for applications.

As soon as possible after Jan. 1st of senior year, file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) to apply for TOPS and other federal student aid.

Watch for college preview days and visit if you haven’t already done so.
ACT – ; SAT –
   University admission dependent on ACT or SAT score
   Scholarships determined by ACT or SAT score
   TOPS dependent on ACT score, but SAT score can be substituted
   Library gives practice ACT through Sylvan Learning Center – get info from library – register in
   Most students in our area take the ACT

   ACT scores required for home schoolers              (SAT scores required for home schoolers)
      22 (Opportunity - ≈ $1350/semester)               1020
      24 (Performance - ≈ $1550/semester)               1090
      28 (Honors - ≈ $1750/semester)                    1240
      (Scores and amounts subject to change annually.)
   File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for TOPS
   Pays 8 semesters
   See website for criteria to maintain TOPS awards
   Must be registered under SBESE-Approved Home Study Program
   TOPS Core Curriculum not required for home schoolers’ eligibility for TOPS, but required for
      admission to many universities

PSAT – ;
    Qualifier for National Merit Scholarship consideration when taken in 11th grade
    Register through guidance counselor of local high school – a fee may be charged
    See for more information on National Merit Scholarships

   Multiple choice, computer-based tests that can earn college credit
   Costs $65 paid to CLEP plus a fee charged by the university where taken
   Contact a CLEP test center to register
   Use CLEP study guides
   – online study guide $20 per month
   See college catalog for courses accepted through CLEP, minimum score requirements, and
      maximum hours that can be obtained through CLEP

Concurrent Study or Dual Enrollment
    Most colleges have a program
    Check with individual colleges for their requirements

Departmental Credit Exams
    Check with your college

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