College Preparation

What do colleges look for in their applicants?

Colleges are looking for students who will succeed in college and will contribute to the on-campus community. Therefore, colleges are looking at an array of data in order to judge their readiness for school:

  • SAT/ACT scores although some schools have a no-test option

  • GPA/transcript, class rank

  • Extracurricular activities especially those that demonstrate team work, creativity, problem solving, caring or charity, etc.

  • Rigorous coursework e.g. IB/AP classes, dual credit classes

  • Application Essays: See the link for guidance.

  • Letter of Recommendation

  • Supplemental Essays: Some programs require supplemental essays. An IB Task such as Internal Assessments at the DP level would be appropriate to show your ability to convey your ideas through language.

  • Interviews: Some universities, especially IVY league schools, may require an interview with the applicant for the application process. Be prepared to answer questions about your major interests, reasons for applying, strengths and challenges, inspirations, future goals, etc. Being polite and personable will go a long way.

Why do IB?

Suggested Timeline for Preparation

10th Grade


10th Grade is an important year for students to really start planning for their future after high school. Students can start tracking their extracurricular activities, developing good study habits, exploring careers and colleges, preparing for SAT and ACT tests, learning about application and admissions process, etc. By becoming familiar with general college entrance requirements, students can start building a potential college list to be better prepared for their junior and senior year.


During the spring of 10th grade year, students will have an opportunity to attend the Texas IB College Fair in Hearst (Dallas) area as well as visit a couple of colleges in order to get an idea of how a private college compares to a public college. By exploring the ACT and SAT 10th grade year, students can start to assess weaknesses and strengths in order to prepare for testing--this is especially important when understanding the scores usually required for college admission to select schools.

11th Grade

During the junior year, students should expect to take the ACT and/or SAT after reviewing materials and should start to identify junior teachers with whom students will ask for letters of recommendations. Students should be revising and adding to their resume, especially including items that also apply for Creativity, Action, and Service hours. Showing colleges that you are well rounded and balanced and that you have success in challenging, rigorous classes will make a difference. College visits always help students see if they really like the environment. Many colleges also have virtual tours as well, but going in person is way more fun and telling.

12th Grade

Summer --Begin process of applying, getting recommendation letters, writing essays, SAT/ACT, finalize resume

Students may begin applying for colleges during the summer before their senior year (Common App opens August 1; ApplyTexas opens July 1). Students are encouraged to attend the colleges they are interested in as well as college fairs to gather information. Students should organize information to keep up with dates for admissions, housing, scholarship, and financial aid deadlines.

September - November --Apply to schools, early decision early November

Students should have an updated resume that will be submitted with the college application. Seniors will have a Senior Conference with Ms. Gregg, our counselor, in order to check credits and be sure everything is in line for the IB Diploma and graduation. Students will write and finalize college essays and will want to complete their application for early admission in November. It is important for students who are requesting recommendation letters to ask early, preferably in September or early October if they need a letter of recommendation. Many teachers will ask you to fill out a form to reflect before they will write your letter, so time is required on both ends, the student and the teacher writing the recommendation. Student may retake ACT or SAT to improve their score.

December - January --Regular Decision

Regular decision depends on the school, but many are January 1st or close to there. See your individual school for details.

Winter Break-January--Financial Aid, Scholarship Applications

Many scholarship forms need to be completed over winter break or early January including FAFSA for financial aid assistance.

May 1st Deadline

Most colleges asks that you accept or regret by May 1st, so spring is a time for decisions once you have heard back from your colleges.

Summer Enrichment

For students looking for enrichment or leadership experiences, please visit MeridianÅ› page titled: Summer Enrichment.

College Acceptance List for Meridian Graduates

Want to see where Meridian graduates are going to college? Click on this link.