Pathfinder's Countdown | BSCTC

Pathfinder's Countdown

Your path to your college and your career

 The Four-Year Plan: You're now in high school and it is time to plan the next four years. Move forward to meet the following minimum core academic coursework suggestions:

  • 4 English Courses
  • 3 Math Courses the include algebra 1 and beyond
  • 3 Science courses
  • 2 consecutive years of the same Foreign Language course
  • Electives that bring your total to 24 or more high school credits
  • It is best to include core academic electives (i.e., additional math, social science and/or science courses) when possible

Scholarships: Begin looking at ways to pay for college. You can never start this process too early. Explore community organizations such as businesses and churches that offer scholarships. Begin discussions with your family about costs associated with going to college and how you can begin/continue saving to cover those costs.

Community Engagement: Engage in community service opportunities, as they are often a deciding factor in how some scholarships are awarded and admissions decisions are made. Community engagement is also great to include on college applications. Your dedication to community is a sign of strong character, discipline and compassion for others.

GPA Cleanup: Now is the time to take a very serious look at the grades you earned your freshman year. Meet with your high school guidance counselor or local college or a BSCTC admissions representative to create a plan for repairing and improving your GPA and overall academic profile.

Dual Credit: Explore Dual Credit options at your high school.  This is a great way to earn college credit while you are in high school. Dual credit is much cheaper than paying full tuition, so it can greatly reduce the overall cost of your college degree in the long run. 

My Future: It is good practice to choose seven potential colleges you want to attend when you graduate high school. These seven schools should include:

  • One local or regional college
  • One college you can easily gain admission
  • One dream school that may be out of your reach, but it is worth a shot

Career: What do you want to be? If you need help choosing a career path, ask your high school guidance counselor about career interest surveys. The surveys are really cool because they ask you questions about your personality and provide suggestions for potential career paths.

College Admission Exams: Spend some time researching standardized tests utilized in the college admissions process as well as test-optional institutions.

Focus: It is very important that you stay focused academically with the goal of college in mind.  

My Focus: Narrow your potential college list down to five colleges or universities. Be sure to keep the local school and the easy admission schools on your list. Also, keep your dream school on the list too. 

Dual Credit: Speak with your high school guidance counselor about enrolling in a dual credit course(s). 

Tour: Colleges and universities love when you tour their campuses. You will be able to spend time in the campus environment to determine if it is the “right fit” for you. Be sure to meet an admissions counselor while you are there. 

College Fairs: Attend a local college fair to get a better idea of the identities of the colleges you have on your list of potentials. 

Scholarships: Begin researching private scholarships to help pay for college. 

Testing: Take the ACT and SAT.

"During your summer break" between your junior and senior years, take a family trip to see as many of your top college choices as possible.  Imagine yourself living on these campuses and consider the ways it may change. For example, a college in Michigan is a very different environment in the summer than during the winter months. 

My Top 3: Narrow your potential colleges list to your top three options and begin the application process.

Testing: Retake the ACT and/or SAT to strengthen your scores and increase your chances of being admitted. Also, many scholarships are based on test scores, so you are more likely to secure an academic scholarship with higher scores. Apply for as many scholarship opportunities as possible.

FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to fill out to receive financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education. It is necessary to fill out the FAFSA regardless of your family’s income. 

Compare: See how your award letters differ among your top three schools. 

Choose Your College: Carefully consider your college options based on the work you?ve done since your junior year. (change sophomore to junior). Weigh out the pros and cons: can you afford the tuition? Can you see yourself living there? These are some of the questions you will want to ask yourself.

Notify: Contact the schools that did not make your cut to let them know you will not be attending. This courtesy may open up a spot for someone on their waitlist.

Registration/Orientation: Sign up for registration and orientation at the college of your choice to finalize your class schedule with your advisor.

Avoid senioritis: Stay focused and academically strong right up till the end. Enjoy your remaining time in high school but keep the big picture in mind. 

Pathfinders, you’ve got this! Your path to college is made simple with just a little planning on your part! 

If you would like an admission expert to look over your plan, just give us a call at 606-886-3863 or email us at