This is an exciting time of life! As you begin to look toward high school graduation and beyond, you will have many decisions to make. The following is a planning guide to assist you as you move through your middle and high school years. Be sure to pray carefully and consult your parents about each decision you make along the way. We’re here for you too! Let us know what questions or needs you have!
Miss Laura Freeman, Academic Advisor
Dr. Esther White, Director of Academic Advising
- Do your best in every class: learn and grow as much as you can in all subject areas. Figure out study strategies now—you’ll need them more when you get to high school! How do you do that? You can start by reading this page and the websites it links to in order to learn important strategies.
- Consider participating in extracurricular activities. Student life (such as going on the nursing home extension), fine arts, and athletics provide ways for students to get involved.
- Discuss with your parents how you or they will pay for your college education. Begin to save money now, even if it’s not much. Every little bit helps!
- Find ways to work hard during the summer: it’s an important skill for your future. Also take time to read good quality materials that develop your thinking skills. Be sure to find ways to serve others.
- Continue to give 100 percent in each class; develop all your God-given abilities, whether they come easily to you or not—work hard and discover that you can do more than you may have thought you could! How are you working on your strategies to learn all you can in the classes you’re in? Review this information about study skills.
- God has given you a unique combination of personality and interests, and He has a special plan for your life! Look for elective opportunities and plan to develop a broad set of skills through them. Review the options here, and be sure to listen carefully to the descriptions of the options during the high school fair. Advisors are available to answer any questions you may have.
- In April begin your Individualized Graduation Plan (IGP) with the Academic Office. Your IGP is a simple document to help you think through your goals while in high school. Discuss with an advisor any questions you may have about your high school plans.
- So that you can expand your skills and interests in areas outside of academics, consider participating in a variety of extracurricular opportunities during high school. Student life, fine arts and athletics provide ways for students to get involved.
- Continue your discussion with your parents about paying for college.
- Make the most of your summer in opportunities for service, hard work and reading. Be a well-rounded person, intentionally growing in every area.
- Give your best effort in all classes. Remember that your grades become part of your Grade Point Average (GPA)—which affects college entrance and college scholarships. Here are some of the college scholarships that you can earn by getting good grades in high school. More important, however, learn and grow because you’re pursuing God’s will in your life— including doing everything “as unto the Lord”!
- Participate in a variety of extracurricular activities in order to broaden your interests and skills.
- Continue developing your skills in learning. An advisor will present a class session on study skills.
- Begin creating your log of volunteer activities, extracurricular activities and leadership roles as well as any awards you earn. Update it each semester. This can be important as you apply to colleges or for scholarships.
- Update your IGP in April. Be sure to talk with an advisor about any questions you may have about your plans.
- Make your summer meaningful. Read a variety of books over the summer. Reading will help hone comprehension and writing skills and will expand your vocabulary. As a bonus, it’s good preparation for standardized tests such as the ACT college entrance test. Also consider volunteer opportunities and other enrichment activities. Be sure you’ve developed the critically important skill of being able to work hard for long periods of time. And remember to serve God and others with your summer!
- Take challenging classes. Take note of prerequisites for classes that may be options in the junior or senior year. Push yourself to grow through your coursework. Be a self-advocate: don’t let yourself fall behind in your classes, attend help classes that teachers make available and talk to your teacher right away when you begin to struggle in a particular class. These are all important skills for your future.
- Develop interests in a variety of areas both academically and in extracurricular opportunities which can help you make decisions about college majors or career plans.
- Begin researching college entrance requirements as well as programs that are offered.
- Continue to make plans for paying for college: what scholarships you plan to pursue, what money has been or will be saved, and how much you should plan to work during college. Also consider arranging your work plans so that you can use several summers during college for ministry opportunities, such as mission trips and camp work.
- Update your IGP in April. Speak with an advisor about any questions you may have regarding your plans.
- Consider taking a dual-credit course your junior and/or senior year. Taking dual-credit classes can help a student decide on a major while completing a high school course requirement or can simply broaden his or her horizons.
- Remember to update your log of other activities.
- Continue to prioritize reading, working hard and serving over the summer. Try to broaden your horizons by reading nonfiction books, especially biographies of great people and a variety of other nonfiction areas.
- This is a good time to begin to visit colleges informally—perhaps when you are near one during a family vacation. If you intend to go to BJU or not, it’s helpful to visit a variety of colleges, compare them, and prayerfully discuss your college decision with your parents.
- Choose a variety of challenging classes that will help you to continue to learn and grow as well as broaden your interests and skills. You may be surprised at what you discover about what you enjoy!
- Remember that grades matter for scholarships and grant opportunities.
- Continue to use extracurricular activities as opportunities for growth.
- Learn about a variety of careers at the Career Fair, where a panel of professors from a variety of programs discuss topics ranging from finances for college to specific majors and job opportunities. Come prepared with good questions and listen carefully to answers to questions other people ask. You can learn a lot!
- Take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and the related Find Your Interests (FYI). Listen carefully to the sessions discussing how to use these scores. Then along with your parents, prayerfully and carefully review the information. Be sure to stop by the academic office if you have questions or just want to talk about what you learned.
- Plan to take the ACT. Ideally, take either the April or the June test—since that leaves you time to retake it if necessary. It also means that you should be at your best in Algebra II (or Precalculus) and Chemistry. Check with your advisor for additional application materials for the ACT if you regularly use and will need special testing accommodations. Consult this eBook distributed by the ACT to learn how to use your score report to determine college readiness, get scholarships, improve your ACT score, and choose a major.
- Consider attending a fall or spring College Up Close at BJU to learn more not only about BJU but about preparing for college and about different college majors. Take advantage of the full experience—don’t short-cut the process because someone thinks you’re already plenty familiar with BJU. Read this guide in order to have an effective campus visit.
- Get to know your BJU admission counselor at the junior class meeting; ask lots of good questions! Your admission counselor can be an excellent resource, whether or not you plan to attend BJU.
- Investigate college websites. Look at entrance requirements, costs (be sure to look beyond the cost of tuition and housing), what the college emphasizes with prospective students, and how it guides its students toward life. Visit college campuses and meet faculty and students. Ask good questions. If you intend to go to BJU or not, gather information about a variety of colleges so that you understand the differences. Continue to prayerfully discuss your college decision with your parents.
- Investigate scholarship opportunities to pursue next year.
- Learn all you can in a class session about ACT, scholarships and other related college information that is presented by an advisor in the spring.
- Take advantage of a variety of opportunities provided by the academic office to learn more about the next steps for you to take toward college and your career.
- Update your IGP and your volunteer log.
- Consider taking a dual credit course (or two) your senior year. Taking dual credit classes can help you to decide on a major and may possibly reduce your load while in college.
- Use your summer well. Read books and work jobs that help you grow. Consider internships, enrichment programs and mission trips. Remember to serve God and others.
- Start the early application process for the New York Mission Trip, a trip which helps you grow as you practice leadership skills that you have been learning throughout high school.
- Make this your strongest academic year yet, one that will prepare you well for your freshman year of college! Take classes that make you stronger by challenging you. And then study, study, study!
- Get organized! Make a list of test dates, application and scholarship deadlines, transcript requests, and any other necessary materials. This eBook from ACT provides helpful tips regarding applying to colleges, making the most of college visits, and scholarship information.
- When asking for teacher recommendations or recommendations from your advisor, be sure to give plenty of lead time before a deadline.
- Apply for scholarships early and often; review information about South Carolina state scholarships.
- Remember that taking the ACT is a requirement for graduation. Register for the October ACT if you have not already taken the ACT.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible after October 1. Many colleges require the FAFSA to be completed before February in order for a student to seek institutional scholarships.
- Learn as much as you can about various careers at the Career Fair in the fall. Come prepared with good questions for the panel of professors. Listen to others’ questions too—you may discover something that will help you make your own decisions or pursue a new idea now or in the future.
- Finish your college applications. BJU has a special Apply Day for Academy students during October.
- Consider attending a fall or spring College Up Close at BJU to learn more not only about BJU but about preparing for college and about different college majors. Be sure to attend all sessions even though you’re an Academy student—you’re likely to learn helpful new information at each opportunity, even if you’re already familiar with much of it.
- Take advantage of opportunities provided by the academic office to learn more about the next steps for you to take toward college and your career. Pay close attention when an advisor speaks to you in class about the transition into college.
- Take advantage of meeting with an admission counselor. Ask questions about financial aid, iStartStrong Interest Inventory, visiting classes or deciding on a major.
- Ask your advisor to send your midyear transcript to colleges on your list (this step is not needed when applying to BJU).
- When you receive acceptance letters, accept entrance to your desired college and decline acceptance to undesired colleges with a thank-you note.
- Consider going on the New York Mission Trip—look for opportunities to grow while on the trip.
- Ask your advisor to send your final transcript to your college of choice (this step is not needed when applying to BJU).
- Plan to attend the summer orientation program of the college of your choice. At BJU you can plan your class schedule during summer orientation as well as get ahead on a variety of other activities—such as placement tests and auditions—prior to beginning your freshman year. Take advantage of every opportunity an orientation program provides for you.
- Get ready for the next exciting phase of your life! Always start strong—be sure to take challenging classes in college and then definitely study hard! Look for great extracurricular opportunities and spend time with people and books that help you grow. Serve God and others well, spending time in God’s Word and responding to His leadership each day. Remember, God has given you a unique combination of personality and interests, and He has a special plan for your life!