Welcome to the College and Career planning page for students of Sunlake High School. Career planning is learning about yourself and the world of work and then planning your career choices based on what you’ve learned. Knowing what you know about yourself, how do various occupations match up with your interests, skills, personality, and values? Fortunately, you can find valuable information here to help plan for a future with college/career as a focal point.
You might feel overwhelemed with all of the valuable information found within this site as well as with the weight of these decisions. Never fear as we have a College & Career Specialist, Becky Black, to help guide you through the planning stages and decision making. You can always contact her for more guidance in this oh so important process.
College/Career Planning Timeline
An important first step of beginning your college/career planning is online research. Set aside some time to research careers and colleges that you have an interest in. Look for schools that have majors, academic programs, sports, or extracurricular activities that interest you and align with your career choice.
We created a roadmap for you based on your grade level to assist you with what you should be doing when you are in a specific grade. Do not forget, we are here to help!! Contact our College/Career specialist for more information or guidance.
- Establish good habits early.
- Take challenging classes in core academic courses. If you are successful in your classes, consider moving to the next level in 10th grade.
- Work with your school counselor to create a yearly schedule for meeting graduation requirements.
- Research school activities, sports and/or community service that you ENJOY and will stay involved in throughout high school. See our lists of clubs on the school website.
- Take the PSAT at Sunlake in October, payments are made in the guidance office.
- Keep a running list of accomplishments, awards, recognitions and community service hours, so that you can use them in preparing a resume and college applications.
- Consider meaningful summer activities – summer school, community service, work, a college summer program.
- Push yourself academically and stay focused.
- Take the PSAT at Sunlake in October, this will be free of charge for all sophomores.
- Continue to follow your passions and stay involved in extracurricular activities and community service.
- Stay focused on moving to the next level in your academic courses as you will begin registering for your 11th grade courses in the spring.
- Keep a running list of accomplishments, awards, recognitions and community service hours, so that you can use them in preparing a resume and completing college applications.
- Begin to take some of the career assessments we provide to you through www.floridashines.org
- Consider meaningful summer activities – summer school, community service, work, a college summer program.
- Keep your grades up! If you have not worked to your full potential academically, this is your year to turn things around!
- Begin to discuss your college options with your parents.
- Begin to develop a list of colleges
- Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October. There will be a fee for Juniors. Students can make their purchase in the guidance office. You will get your results in December.
- Look at dates to take the SAT and ACT. Late fall is a good time to begin if you are in Pre-Calculus or beyond. If not, spring is a better time to begin.
- Be involved! In school clubs, sports, at your religious institution, or in the community. You do not have to be involved in a lot. Remember, committed involvement in a few clubs indicates your level of responsibility.
- Review PSAT scores distributed in December to identify strengths and weaknesses.
- Plan to take SAT and ACT at least once each.
- Think about SAT/ACT test prep if needed, www.khanacademy.org is a great resource.
- If you are taking any Advanced Placement courses, consider taking the comparable SAT Subject Test in June.
- Create a resume.
- If you haven’t already, begin to develop a list of colleges.
- Check the websites of colleges to learn admissions information and applications.
- Have an appropriate email address to use during the college admissions process. Your first and last name are generally the most professional (ex. John.Smith@gmail.com).
- Make sure any social media accounts are appropriate and set to your intended privacy settings.
- Attend Sunlake High School’s Junior College Night in the spring.
- Begin communication with the college representative or admissions office of any college you are remotely interested in.
- Begin to think about college essays.
- Complete your Senior Questionnaire. (Do I keep this for my website?)
- Visit colleges throughout the spring, if possible.
- Ask parents to write the Parent Statement. (Do I keep this for my website?)
- Set up a “College Folder” on your computer desktop to store all college documents in one place.
- Personally ask two teachers to write a letter of recommendation (ONLY if applicable). Supply the teachers with your resume.
- Create a Common Application account and a Coalition Application if any of your prospective colleges use these applications. See “College Application Guide” for more information on these.
- Keep your grades up! This is the most important semester!
- Review SAT/ACT Scores and work on your weaknesses.
- Think about SAT/ACT test prep if needed.
- Visit colleges.
- Continue to update list of possible colleges.
- Begin working on college applications.
- Be involved during the summer: volunteer work, job, sports.
- Research scholarship and Financial Aid opportunities.
- Attend a Summer Program at a college, if possible.
- Have Florida public university applications ready the 1st week of school.
- Finalize a list of colleges for the application process.
- Continue to complete applications.
- Follow up on your letters of recommendation or personally ask two teachers, ONLY if required.
- Attend college representative presentations at Sunlake.
- Attend Sunlake High School’s College Fair and the West Side College Fair held at PHSC in New Port Richey. These are usually held within days of each other the 2nd Wednesday in September.
- If necessary, meet with your career specialist to discuss college choices.
- Retake SAT/ACT in August, September, October, November, or December if necessary.
- Apply to public universities as early as possible.
- Take SAT Subject Tests– if the college requires them.
- Apply for the Florida Financial Aid Application after October 1st. This is the only application which qualifies your for Bright Futures.
- Complete all applications by their deadlines; however, the earlier the better!
- Visit colleges, if possible.
- Attend the Financial Aid Night at Sunlake. (Parents)
- Research scholarships and Financial Aid. Apply for Financial Aid after October 1st.
- If you are interested in the performing arts, read each college website closely to be sure that you register for auditions on time.
- As always, READ and KEEP all materials provided by the counselors and the colleges!
- Keep a copy or record of all colleges to which you have applied.
- After you have applied to colleges, check your online status, which EACH university or call admissions to be sure that they have received everything they need.
- Keep your grades up!
- Keep up your grades! All college acceptances are contingent on your final senior grades.
- Complete any applications with later deadlines.
- Read the financial aid website for each college to be sure you are completing everything necessary.
- As you receive decision letters from colleges, continue to investigate them, to help with your decision of where to enroll. Visit if you haven’t already, or visit again if you are trying to decide where to attend.
- Send any new information (test scores, awards, accomplishments) to any college to which you have been deferred or waitlisted.
- Update your Career Specialist of all college decisions.
- Keep a record of all scholarship offers, this will be required to be reported at the end of the school year.
- Meet May 1st Candidate Reply Date for notifying colleges of your decision to attend.
- Contact all colleges to which you have been accepted to let them know if you do not plan to attend.
- Write thank you notes to teachers who wrote letters of recommendation for you, and to anyone else who helped you with your college application process.
- Watch your email or mail for college orientation programs and any other important information from the college you plan to attend.
Applying to a College/University
Congratulations! You are a senior and will be soon be off to college! Before you get there, you must apply early and make sure you have applied correctly. Please use this guide to help you with your applications. There are 4 simple steps:
- Send Scores
- Self-Reporting Grades
Along with the 4 steps there are embedded components to a college application and the college/university you are applying to will need ALL components for your application to be considered complete. Here are the most common components of a complete application:
- Complete Application
- Transcript, SSAR or SPARK
- SAT or ACT scores
- Essay- ONLY if required
- **Recommendation Letter(s)- Not Accepted at any Florida Public University
- Application Fee
Applying to college can become quite overwhelming. Various schools require various ways to apply. The first step students should make is to research each school by checking out the Freshman Application process on each school’s website. Decide if you will use one of the following applications:
- Common Application: You can read about the Common App here: https://www.commonapp.org/about
- The Coalition Application: You can learn more here: https://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/
- Institutional Application: This can be found on the individual college’s website. Just search the specific college and look for the undergraduate application or freshman application tab.
Remember, each college will require different components. You MUST check your email. Each school will send you instructions to create a profiles for each school in which you applied. This is where you will check your application requirements, admissions status and financial aid packages if offered!
When completing the Common App or Coalition, it is required you include Mrs. Black’s (email@example.com) contact info as your counselor. If you submit your counselor’s information, this will delay your application.
Carefully read the entire admissions website for each college so that you don’t miss any important items, i.e. deadlines or additional documents required for honors programs, scholarships and more.
o send your SAT scores, go to www.CollegeBoard.com. Four score reports can be sent for free when you register for an SAT. You will need to pay a fee for each additional report. To send your ACT scores, go to www.ACTstudent.org. Four ACT score reports can be sent for free when you register for an ACT. You will need to pay a fee for each additional report. Your scores must be sent officially and directly from College Board or ACT.
Request your Official OR Unofficial high school transcript, in person, from the registrar’s office, located in guidance or from our school’s online form.https://slhs.pasco.k12.fl.us/transcript-request/
Your UNOFFICIAL transcript will be printed for students who will need to self-report grades via the SSAR or Spark. Below you will find a list of the Florida public universities and how they would like students to report their grades.
- Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University = SSAR
- Florida Atlantic University= SSAR
- Florida Gulf Coast University = SSAR
- Florida International University = SSAR
- Florida Poly Technic University = SSAR
- Florida State University = SSAR
- New College of Florida = SSAR
- University of Central Florida = SPARK
- University of Florida = SSAR
- University of North Florida = SSAR
- University of South Florida = Sunlake to Send Official Transcript (as of Spring, 2021)
- University of West Florida = SSAR
ALL private schools and ALL Out of State schools require a transcript from the registrar’s office.
Self-Reporting Your Grades to Colleges
The SSAR is a self-reported student academic record that lists all courses and associated grades that have been attempted, or will be attempted, for high school and/or college credit. Accuracy is critical, you must have a copy of your high school transcript available to use as a reference when you create your SSAR. This will need to be requested through the school’s registrar’s office, located in guidance or the online form found on our school’s website: https://slhs.pasco.k12.fl.us/transcript-request/ Be sure to indicate any courses taken through an online school.
The SSAR and SPARK will be created online through a link provided once a student has completed the application. Each college has individual methods for linking the SSAR to your application, so read guidelines on each college website. Please check out the links below for video tutorials on how to complete without errors.
- SPARK (UCF only)-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e9Ba1zUIj0
- Community Service Form
- Work Hour Forms
- College Search Sites
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- Florida Bright Futures
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