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College Road Map


Freshman Year

  • Become involved in school.  Take your studies seriously and explore extracurricular opportunities.  Set academic goals for the year.
  • Record your extracurricular activities, leadership positions, community service, honors, awards, summer experiences, and jobs.  Update your extracurricular activities each quarter.
  • Take the PSAT for the first time in October.
  • Evaluate your grades each semester and determine what you are doing well and what you need to improve.  Attend extra tutorial sessions when offered.  Remember that you are building your record for college admission beginning in your freshman year.

Sophomore Year

  • Update the extracurricular activities list you began freshman year and review your academic goals.
  • Choose the College you will be researching for the Principal Project
  • Attend the VTHS College Night
  • Take the PSAT in October.  The national test date is on the school calendar.
  • Evaluate your performance and your interest in each academic area.  If you are strong in a particular subject or subjects, consult with your teachers and principal about taking Honors or Advanced Placement courses.
  • Attend the Greater Los Angeles National College Fair (April 28th)
  • If your family travels and they bring you near a college or university, consider an informal visit.
  • If appropriate, take SAT Subject tests in June.  Contact your teachers or the College Guidance office with any questions.
  • If you are enrolled in AP courses, take the AP exams given early in May.

Junior Year


  • Review your academic plans for High School and continue to update the activities list you began as a freshman
  • Make use of the College Guidance Counselor.  Also, take advantage of the internet; the websites of the various colleges and universities can be useful tools for college exploration.
  • Prepare for the October PSAT.  While this is still a practice test for the SAT- juniors who score exceptionally well on the PSAT may be considered for participation in the National Merit Scholarship competition.


  • Meet with the college representatives who visit Valley Torah and attend college informational events in Los Angeles.  Listen to the admission counselors’ presentations and ask questions about your particular interests.  Pick up admission materials and sign the information cards provided by the reps so that you will be added to the schools’ mailing lists.
  • Attend the VTHS College Night
  • Take the PSAT on the national test date.
  • Begin to establish criteria for the type of college that you would like to attend.  Speak with the Guidance Counselor and use college guide books and websites to find schools that meet your criteria.  Talk to family, friends, and teachers about their college choices and experiences.


  • Evaluate your first semester grades and determine what you are doing well and what you need to improve to meet your academic goals for the year.  The grade point average provided to colleges when you apply is cumulative through the end of the junior year.


  • Register for your first ACT in either February or April.
  • PSAT student reports are distributed.  Read the information carefully to interpret your performance.


  • Set up you initial student meeting with the college counselor
  • Prepare for the ACT.
  • Look ahead to spring break/summer as possible opportunities to visit colleges.


  • Determine with your counselor whether you should take SAT Subject Tests in May or June.
  • Continue your college research.
  • Schedule your individual parent-student appointment with your college counselor, as appropriate.


  • Continue researching.
  • Register for all remaining junior year standardized tests.
  • Utilize your spring break for college visits.
  • When you visit college campuses, be sure to ask questions, talk to college students, and keep a notebook of what you liked and disliked about each campus visited.



  • If you are enrolled in AP courses, take the AP exams given early in May.
  • Give serious time to preparing for all of your final exams.

June – July

  • Spend your summer productively.
  • Continue to narrow your college visits.  You should aim for a final list of 6-8 schools.
  • Visit colleges you did not see during the school year.
  • Visit or individual college websites to preview applications and essay questions.
  • If you hope to play a sport in college (Division I or II), make sure that you have registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center –

Senior Year


  • Prepare all rolling applications early.
  • Note all registration deadlines for fall ACT, SAT and SAT Subject Tests and complete registration promptly.  Read your applications carefully to determine which, if any, subject tests are required for admission or placement.
  • Request teacher recommendations if you did not do so in the junior year.  Teachers will give completed recommendations to the College Guidance Office for mailing.


  • See your college counselor to update your list of college choices.
  • Attend the college admission representative visits to Valley Torah and local recruitment events of schools that you are considering.
  • Complete all rolling college applications.  We highly recommend submitting these applications BEFORE October 15.  As with all applications, keep copies of everything.
  • Make final decisions regarding Early Decision and Early Action options.
  • Retake the ACT, if applicable.


  • See your teachers, parents, and college counselor to perfect your college essays.
  • Complete any Early Decision/Early Actions applications by October 15.
  • If you plan to seek financial aid and are applying to private colleges and selective state universities, complete the CSS Profile.  The Profile gives families and colleges an early read on a student’s eligibility for financial aid.  Visit the College Board website:
  • Some competitive scholarship applications have deadlines this month.  Consult with the College Guidance Office as you complete the application requirements and be sure all recommendations are completed by the required deadline.
  • Retake SAT or Subject Tests, if applicable.


  • Devote time and energy to prepare for your first semester exams.  First semester senior year grades are often a deciding factor in selective college admission decisions.
  • Finalize the remainder of your applications.  All applications should be completed by December 1.
  • Retake ACT, if applicable.


  • Complete all remaining applications by December 1.
  • Prepare to complete FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible after January. Completion of the FAFSA is required in order to receive any need-based financial aid.  The application can be found on-line at


  • The College Guidance Office keeps records of all applications submitted and mails required mid-year grades for each student.
  • Complete any last minute applications (although most deadlines have now passed).
  • Note financial aid application deadlines and complete the FASFA as soon as W-2 forms are available from the previous calendar year.  Colleges’ aid deadlines must be met or aid may not be available.  All colleges recommend submitting the forms as soon as possible after January 1.
  • Early Decision/Early Action deferrals should submit additional information to the colleges to update thorough applications and reiterate interest.
  • Complete all scholarship applications that have not been submitted.


  • Deadline colleges notify students of admission decisions from early March through early April.  Please update the College Guidance Office with all decisions received.
  • If placed on the waiting list of a school you would like to attend, send additional information to update and support your application at this time.  Showing strong interest by staying in touch is important.


  • Notify the college you will attend prior to May 1 (Common Reply Date) and notify other colleges of your decision, as well.  This helps colleges predict their yield and make decisions on wait-list candidates.
  • Notify the College Guidance Office of your final college choice so that we can mail your final transcript following graduation.
  • Contact the financial aid office at the college you will attend with any questions regarding your financial aid package.
  • If you wish to remain active on a wait-list, be sure to notify the college well before May 1.
  • Prepare for AP exams to be held in early May.
  • Attend the “Senior Transition to Yeshiva/College” program.


  • Congratulations on your graduation from Valley Torah High School! Enjoy the summer – you are going to Israel/College!