College Exploration

College Research:

As you make your transition to your senior year, we encourage you to devote significant time and focus to researching colleges/universities that may be a good fit for you. As you do so, commit to exploring the following questions:

Mission/Philosophy of the College/University: What is distinct about it? What sets it apart from other colleges and universities?

Location: Where is it? What is the city/town/rural community like? What is the relationship between the college community and the broader community?

Student Population: Where do the students come from? Breakdown across states, cultural, religious, first generation college-bound etc. International student population?

Academic Programs Offered: What degrees are offered? (There are different names for the same area of study—if you do not see what you are looking for, ask!) What are the core requirements to earn the degree of interest to you? Can you create or combine majors? When do you have to decide your major? What resources will allow you to pursue your graduate school goals?

Residential Community: Do students live in dorms? What are they like? Are students grouped together or separated according to specific interest dorms, year in college (such as all freshmen together?) Does the college/university have ‘living and learning’ communities that allow you to room with students who have interests and goals similar to your own?

Extracurricular Opportunities: What kinds of organizations, clubs and sports exist here? Which of these would be of specific interest to you? Is it a political campus? Is community service central? Are there funds available to start a club or pursue an internship of some kind?

Admissions Requirements: Review the application. Are there essays required and if so, what are the questions? What kinds of teacher recommendations are required? What are the core expectations for grades and ACT/SAT scores? Is an interview required? Are there ‘fly out’ programs available in the fall and/or spring?

Costs and Financial Aid: What is the tuition? What financial aid and scholarship possibilities are available?

From Your Perspective: What are the advantages and disadvantages of this particular college or university? Can you see yourself at this particular school? Why or why not?

College Testing for Juniors:

College entrance exams such as the ACT, SAT, and Accuplacer are designed to determine whether or not a student is “ready” for the rigor of a college curriculum. Additionally, the ACT and SAT use demographic and personality inventory algorithms to match students goals, interests, and strengths with their desired career paths and aptitude.

In the new era of social distancing, it is important to keep in mind that many standardized tests have changed their procedures to fit with local health guidelines. This has also resulted in a changing landscape for college admissions and the tests that they require. It is crucial to research the Colleges/Universities you plan to attend in order to gauge whether or not you are required to take the ACT/SAT.  Click here for the New Mexico College Guidebook






Skill Building

Time Management:

How you organize your time each day, each week, each month MATTERS! This time organization project will allow you to assess your current schedule and make appropriate adjustments in order to honor your central priorities.

Create a schedule/calendar for yourself that includes your current responsibilities this semester by recording, in order (and in different colors if you wish):

  • School hours
  • Out of school homework/study/review hours
  • School sports/clubs/activities etc.
  • Jobs/volunteering
  • Additional regular commitments—for example, family commitments

  • Meals
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Time with friends
  • Open blocks where you have flexibility to do whatever you wish to do!


Do you already have a resume? Have you been meaning to create a resume? Are you not really sure, truth be told, what a resume is?
A resume is a brief summary—a ‘snapshot’ of your story: it includes your educational, extracurricular and community commitments thus far. A resume is an opportunity to acknowledge and honor your accomplishments.

Why It Matters: A resume is a valuable tool for planning summer programs and eventually, college and scholarship applications. Most programs/colleges will ask for a summary of your academic, extracurricular and personal commitments and accomplishments during high school–either in the direct form of a resume or through questions that you can answer more thoroughly if you have an effective resume to draw from. Ultimately, an effective resume allows you to:

  • GET NOTICED, stand out, generate interest and get the interview
  • Create a professional “self-portrait”
  • Demonstrate that you are a desirable match or candidate and can add value to the position, program, scholarship, school, etc.

How It Looks: There are many different ways to organize a resume in terms of format, length, font and layout. We include below a template to help you start developing your own.

Resume Template