When should I start visiting colleges?  As soon as possible!  Look at a variety of campus styles to determine what type of campus setting you like best.  Try to visit when colleges are in session so you get a genuine feel for the campus.  Be sure to take the official tour!

How do I create my college list?  Using a resource like Naviance, create a list of 6-10 schools consisting of 2-3 safety schools, 3-4 target schools, and 2-3 reach schools.

When should I take the ACT or SAT?  Plan on taking college admissions tests in the spring of your junior year.  Use the results from your Pre-ACT/PSAT to gauge areas you need to strengthen before taking the ACT/SAT.  Take advantage of programs like Khan Academy to help you prepare for testing.

I am not good at taking tests– what colleges can I apply to?  More colleges are taking a holistic approach in reviewing applications.  Additionally, there are over a 1,000 colleges that are test optional.  Take a look at the list  www.fairtest.org

How important are my activities in the colleges application process?  Colleges are looking for students who are well rounded.  Find a few activities that you enjoy and are passionate about and stick with them.

I really struggled during ninth and tenth grade.  I am doing really well in school now, but my GPA is low.  What do I do?  There is a section on the Common Application where you can address any challenges you faced during high school.

My child is looking at colleges I know we cannot afford.  Should we still consider submitting an application?  Absolutely! Applying to a college is like shopping for a car–it is rare that anyone pays the sticker price.  There is always the possibility of merit scholarships, grants, financial aid, and work study programs.