The College Search: 7 Tips for High School Seniors

The College Search: 7 Tips for High School Seniors

Your senior year will fly by and before you know it, it will be your turn to walk across the stage as a high school graduate. You may hear this question several times this year, "What college are you going to attend?" To help you pick the right college or university for you and prepare for successful transition from high school to college, consider these seven tips.

1. Search for a college. At Missouri Military Academy, every high school senior is required to apply to at least six schools and be accepted to at least two schools. This requirement makes certain high school seniors have thoroughly explored their options to find the best college fit and to have a solid, viable plan after they graduate. Summer is a great time to visit colleges and narrow down your list of schools!

It’s a good idea to group potential colleges into three categories (Reach, Target, and Safety) and apply to a couple in each category. Your goal is to find the college or post-secondary option that’s best for you. It can be large or small – or somewhere in between. It can be well-recognized or lesser-known. The goal is to find a college or university that fits your needs academically, financially, socially, and in all the ways that matter to you.

2. Research application windows. Every college has different application timeframes. When you select the schools that interest you, find out when the application window opens and get to work on the application during the summer if possible. If you plan to use the Common App, make sure your account is set up and synced with your Naviance account.

3. Prepare for college-entry tests. Find out what the testing policy is for each of your schools. Even though a school might be test optional for admissions, you may benefit from taking a test for scholarship purposes. It does not matter which test you take, every school will accept both the ACT and SAT, so go with your strength and focus on one test. MMA offers the ACT on our campus during the school year. Visit to find test dates and locations across the United States.

4. Explore scholarships and financial aid. Have you created an account with yet? While well-known, FastWeb isn’t the only option available to high school and transfer students. MMA offers career and college guidance through a comprehensive website that multiple scholarship search databases. 

Sometimes the term “FAFSA” can feel intimidating. However, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an important (and often necessary) part of the search for financial aid. All families should submit (international cadets should contact their college and ask them directly about financial aid).

5. Let MMA know about your progress. Throughout your college search process, we want to know how our cadets doing. Please forward communication to two key people at MMA: Registrar Mrs. Pearl Newbrough and Mr. William G. Roundey, Jr., Director of College and Career Placement.

Communication that should be forwarded to MMA includes:

  • Application confirmations
  • Acceptance letters
  • Scholarship awards

6. Stay focused on your successful high school career. Remember that you are not an MMA graduate until you walk across the stage. Colleges will make their initial admissions decision based on your high school transcript and grades at the end of your junior year. They also want to know that you are maintaining your academic rigor throughout your senior year, so coasting and slacking off are not good options. Work hard all year long and make the most of your time at MMA.

7. Start early – especially for the U.S. Service Academy. If you plan to apply to a U.S. Service Academy, get started on the process early. In addition to the Academy application, you also need to apply for a Congressional nomination from your member of Congress and senators (the Coast Guard Academy does not require Congressional nominations). Many of the Congressional Nomination forms have a very early deadline (Missouri is October 1), so check the websites and start the process as soon as possible.

Overall, the most important step is to keep in touch with MMA's department of College and Career Guidance. Staff at MMA are interested in helping you along the way, making certain you find the absolute best college to help you succeed.


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