Suggested Timeline for Preparation
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. Students will take the PSAT in October of their 10th grade year, so they will learn what areas they need to improve and study before the taking the SAT their junior 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. By using helpful college links, students can start receiving information to help them think about prospective colleges. Students will build a draft of a resume and start thinking about the college application process and all the requirements. In College and Career Readiness, students will learn about scholarship and financial aid opportunities as well. Students should focus on extracurricular activities that are meaningful to them: think quality over quantity. Students should focus on activities where they can be active participants and show off their leadership skills and their passions.
Texas IB Schools will host a college fair in the spring, which Meridian plans on attending for a field trip. https://www.texasibschools.org/college-fair
In Person College Fair Date:
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.
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.
For students looking for enrichment or leadership experiences, please visit Meridianś page titled: Summer Enrichment. www.mwschool.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=170391&type=d&pREC_ID=896526
College Acceptance List for Meridian Graduates
Want to see where Meridian graduates are going to college? Click on this link.
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? College Credit?
Higher Acceptance Rates among IB Graduates: IB students have a higher acceptance rate compared to non-IB students. See link: IB Student Acceptance Rates and Credit Policies at the Top 25 US Universities.
IB Diploma =24 Hrs of College Credit at a Public Texas University: The majority of universities accept IB examinations and IB Diplomas for college credit. In Texas specifically, thanks to Texas Senate Bill 111, all public Texas universities have to grant a minimum of 24 credit hours for all IB Diploma holders. Sometimes students will get even more than 24 hours, some as high as 30-40 hours depending on their scores and where they go!
IB Certificates: Even if a student doesn't get the full diploma, they can still be eligible to receive college credit for individual IB classes if they sit for examinations their senior year. The credits and scores vary from university to university, so you need to check the individual websites. Generally, students who score a 4 or higher are eligible for college credit. More competitive schools may require a 5 or a 6 for college credit.
Here are some links to state schools and how they handle IB credit.
University of Texas at Austin: https://testingservices.utexas.edu/search-undergraduate-exams?field_type_tid%5B%5D=16&field_type_tid%5B%5D=17
Texas A&M University: https://testing.tamu.edu/AP-IB-Credit