11th GRADE

If there is a year to get serious, this is the year! In addition to selecting schools, you need to be serious and committed to improving your grades, pursuing challenging courses, and participating in extracurricular activities. Make sure you are taking AP or IB courses whenever you can. Continue pursuing outside activities you are passionate about—ones that truly inspire you. Spend lots of time researching and doing online searches for schools that fit your needs.

The Big Six: You should be applying to at least two dream schools, two target schools, and two safety schools. Your advisors at Academic Pathways can help you navigate these choices!


Your son or daughter's third year in high school is a time to review where he or she is in his academic career. Our goal is to help your student gain admission to his or her chosen school while remaining relaxed and forward-looking. We will look focus on areas that need improvement while continuing to work toward college requirements. > learn more


Maintaining a GPA despite all that's new and the added pressures applied is  critical to future college admissions. We will work with your student on an individual subject while learning tips that will help your son or daughter the rest of his or her life. > learn more


Gaining access to the country's best schools requires high scores on the biggest tests. These include the ACT, SAT, PSAT, SSAT, ISEE, and HSPT tests. We offer sample tests and work with your student to improve his or her score. > learn more


You have been diligently preparing for your SAT and ACT tests. Now is the time to take as many tests as you need in order to obtain the scores you want. Depending on the colleges you are considering, you will most likely also want to register for 2-3 SAT Subject Tests. 

The Early Bird: Try not to leave ANY test-taking for your senior year! There will be enough for you to focus on during your final year of high school—standardized tests should be behind you by then. 

RememberThe more practice tests you take, the more comfortable you will feel when it is time to take the real ones!


It is time to narrow down the ridiculous number of colleges and universities in the United States—over 5,300—to a handful of choices right for you. Part of this process is visiting schools to get a feel for the campus, the student body, the housing, and so much more. Make a list and schedule school visits not only during spring breaks and holidays, but also at times of the academic year that will clearly illuminate each school’s culture (or weather!). Every school will have a calendar of scheduled tours and visits that you can sign up for on their website.

Sign Up Early, Sign Up Often: Don't try to sign up at the last minute. There are limits to the number of people who can come on any given tour and they fill up quickly. It is better to go when you can join a tour and students are around so you get a feel for the campus.


One of the most important parts of your college application is the essay. If you are applying to schools using the Common or Coalition Applications, the essays you write will be seen by all schools. However, each school has their own additional essays, so you may find yourself writing quite a few. These may differ in length; some may only be a few sentences long. Each needs to be approached VERY thoughtfully, with the goal of representing who you are and what makes you you. Academic Pathways can advise you regarding the numerous strategies for writing college application essays. We will also edit for grammar, focus, style, and overall readability.

You Are Your Voice: Do not write an essay in a voice that is not your own. This means you must write all essays yourself. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't have one or two essay experts like us edit your essays, but after edits the essays should still be thoroughly YOU. We will help you write that once-in-a-lifetime essay that will stand out from the stack.

Present Yourself: Put together a resume! While creating an impressive resume can be difficult for many students, Academic Pathways can help you build a strong representation of your experiences.


Take advantage of the relationships you have formed with your teachers and choose one or two to write recommendations. Teachers may want to know more about you, so be prepared to discuss yourself and have your resume ready to share. You may have also formed strong bonds with leaders in your extracurricular activities. A recommendation from them allows colleges to see you in another light. Lastly, colleges will require a recommendation from your high school counselor. You will need to make an appointment with them and provide them with the information they need to represent you in detail. They will also want to see a copy of your resume. 

Why Wait? Don't wait until the last minute to request recommendations! Remember that teachers, counselors, and coaches are all being asked to write multiple letters on behalf of students. You want to be sure to give them plenty of time so you don’t get lost in the shuffle.


Finances are always an important consideration when choosing a college. Many schools offer merit scholarships, but the top tier of schools frequently do not. Remember that state schools have a lot to offer and cost a fraction of the tuition of private colleges. Start a conversation with your family about what is affordable and what options you can pursue to locate financial aid (if applicable). FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms are not due until October of your senior year, so you still have time. There are many private scholarship options available—especially for targeted populations and areas of interest (e.g. athletes, STEM, architecture). If you think you may qualify for these, make sure you are aware of the deadlines. We are here to help.