Preparation for College and Career

Jump to: 9th - 10th - 11th - 12th - Summer Programs

Countdown to Graduation

Planning for graduation begins as soon as you enter Seneca Valley High School. Be sure to take advantage of everything high school has to offer and to plan ahead. Good decisions follow a timetable, so it pays to get yourself organized.

Ninth Grade

  • Do take college prep courses and challenging elective courses.
  • Do set your goals so that they are attainable.
  • Do take a foreign language.
  • Do make yourself read at least one unassigned book each month. Avid readers do better.
  • Do make an appointment with your counselor to discuss your career plans.
  • Do visit the College & Career Center to become more familiar with the resources there.
  • Do work hard. Remember the grades earned in ninth grade count!
  • Don't expect skills in computer games to convince colleges that you understand computers.
  • Don't assume that "Sports Illustrated" and "Seventeen" magazines are among the classics.
  • Do your homework and come to class prepared.
  • Don't miss class unless absolutely necessary. A good attendance record goes  hand in hand with a good student.
  • Don't settle for a "C" when you can do "B" work.

Summary: What Should Freshmen Be Doing Now?

  • START developing good study habits.
  • WORK on time management skills.
  • STUDY hard.
  • TAKE challenging courses.
  • BECOME involved in your school clubs, sports, etc.
  • VOLUNTEER and work on SSL hours.

Tenth Grade

  • Do continue a foreign language. Maryland State Universities require two to three years of foreign language.
  • Do take the PSAT to get familiar with this kind of test and to qualify for National Merit Scholarships.
  • Do begin talking with you parents about college or other options. But don't rule out anything yet. Do visit some local colleges (even if you're not really interested in them) to get a sense of size and atmosphere.
  • Do visit the College & Career Center. You can take a Career Interest Inventory to begin you career planning this year.
  • Do learn to take good class notes.
  • Do participate in extracurricular activities. There is something at Seneca for everyone and colleges look for students with a variety of interests.
  • Don't assume that English grammar will have no practical use if you become a scientist or an accountant. You have to write in any career you choose.
  • Don't find any excuses to miss class. Attendance in class has a direct relationship to success.
  • Don't assume that your talent in a sport, the band or yearbook will compensate for weak grades. Don't get an after school job if it means you can't get your homework done.

Summary: What Should Sophomores Be Doing Now?

  • START thinking about life after high school.
  • TAKE interest assessment test, then research career interests.
  • TAKE challenging courses and KEEP grades up.
  • BECOME involved in clubs, sports and other extracurricular activities.
  • CONTINUE your volunteer work.
  • CONSIDER taking an SAT prep course.

Eleventh Grade

Make your last two years of high school memorable years.

  • READ- The more you read the better prepared you are for the world of work and for college.
  • WRITE- Improve your writing skills as much as you can. The ability to communicate on the job and in college is vital.
  • DEVELOP good study habits, time management skills, and decision-making skills.
  • CHOOSE your subjects wisely. Continue taking college prep mathematics, science, and foreign language courses.

Use the following timetable to help organize the tasks to be completed as you begin your countdown to graduation.


  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT.
  • Attend college and career programs sponsored by your career center and  guidance department.
  • Attend college campus trips sponsored by your school.
  • Complete a vocational aptitude assessment.
  • Acquire part-time volunteer or job experiences related to career plans.
  • Monitor your student service learning hours.


  • Meet with your counselor about your progress.
  • Meet college representatives who visit your school.
  • Get information on trade and technical schools.
  • Take career interest inventories.

Early Spring

  • Consider career goals as you select classes and complete your four-year planning sheet.
  • Plan next year's program to enhance prospects for employment opportunities and college admissions.
  • Register for ACT and/or SAT I/SAT II.
  • Use the computer search programs to identify appropriate colleges, trade, and technical schools.
  • Consider an internship for the senior year.


  • Attend college fairs and school-sponsored programs.
  • Confer with your counselor and Ms. Maloney about your postsecondary plans.
  • Attend career information programs.
  • Spend time in the College & Career Center exploring materials.
  • Find out about summer enrichment programs.
  • Assemble a file of materials collected from colleges, trade, and technical schools and those distributed by your guidance department.
  • Make interview appointments for the early fall if appropriate. Practice interviewing skills.
  • Become familiar with college and job applications.
  • Develop your resume/personal references.
  • Continue earning student service learning hours, if needed. Try to complete this requirement before Twelfth Grade.


  • Make an appointment with your counselor or Ms. Maloney for you and your  parents to discuss postsecondary plans.
  • Request applications from colleges, trade, and technical schools. Set up a file system.
  • Register for ACT, SAT I, and/or SAT II.
  • Stay abreast of all scholarship opportunities.
  • Review high school records including al graduation requirements.
  • Complete remaining student service learning hours.
  • Review the College Application Packet.

Summary: What Should Juniors Be Doing Now?

  • SAT/ACT - Plan on taking these at least once this spring.
  • Sign up for the SAT Prep classes offered s a course at SVHS.
  • STUDY hard - Keep grades up.
  • RESEARCH careers - courses/education/skills needed, salary range
  • SSL hours - Keep involved; scholarships offered for participants.
  • STAY INVOLVED in extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports.
  • USE the Bridges program in the Colege & Career Center for a career search.
  • START college search – Use EXPAN in the College & Career Center.
  • WRITE or go on-line for information, catalogues, applications.
  • ATTEND college fairs, visit college campuses.

Twelfth Grade

Late Summer - Winter

  • Visit college, trade, and/or technical schools.
  • Talk to admission representatives who visit your school.
  • Seek out scholarship information and apply as appropriate.
  • Review the College Application Packet.


  • Attend college and career programs sponsored by your guidance department.
  • Seek letters of recommendation if needed. Give teachers and counselors sufficient notice.
  • Complete a resume.
  • Familiarize yourself with your school's transcript procedure and follow it.
  • Register for ACT, SAT I, and SAT II tests if needed.
  • Talk with your counselor about any academic concerns.
  • Fill out applications by December 1 if possible. Abide by both school and college deadlines.


  • Attend with your parents the FINANCIAL AID WORKSHOP at Seneca Valley HS.
  • Have your parents complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid forms, if required by the college, and mail it after January 1.


  • Contact Maryland Department of Economics and Employment Development for job openings.
  • Maintain good grades and good attendance.
  • Notify your counselor of your application status as you hear from the colleges.
  • Request a final transcript to be sent to the college you will attend in the fall.
  • Notify the colleges you are not planning to attend.
  • Perfect your job interviewing skills.
  • Attend job fairs.
  • Update your resume
  • Check the job board in the College & Career Center for summer or permanent jobs.

Summary: What Should Seniors Be Doing Now?

  • APPLICATIONS -Watch deadline dates for colleges/universities and vocational, technical and business schools.
  • FAFSA, CSS, INSTITUTION financial aid forms.
  • SAT/ACT - Don't miss the deadlines!
  • STUDY HARD - This is your last chance to bring up your GPA and colleges can still deny your acceptance if your grades start to fall.
  • If you don't plan on college at this time - WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NEXT YEAR? Make an appointment with Mrs. Maloney or your counselor and check out options in the College & Career Center.

Summer Programs


LEAD is a national partnership of top U.S. corporations and graduate business schools that influences talented minority students to pursue careers in business. LEAD selects promising African American, Hispanic American, and Native American high school students to participate in comprehensive summer institutes at graduate business schools, then supports them through college and beyond by opening doors to internships and permanent jobs with LEAD corporate partners. This partnership offers colleges and business schools a way of filling their pipelines with bright motivated minority students and connects the LEAD corporate sponsors with an impressive pool of future executive talent.

The LEAD Program pays for all student expenses while on the SBI campus, including room and board. Students with financial need can apply for a grant for transportation funding .Candidates must be US citizens or permanent residents and are expected to have a "B" or better average and combined standardized test scores of at least 100 on the PSAT, 1000 on the SAT I or 22 on the ACT. They must also show leadership ability and active involvement in their schools and communities. It is not necessary to have prior experience or knowledge in the field of business. Applications and information booklets are available in the College & Career Center or at


INROADS is an international career development organization whose mission is to develop and place talented minority youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. This is accomplished by providing talented students with the opportunity to gain real pre-professional work experience through paid summer internships in corporate and other industry settings, most of which are Fortune 500companies. These internships are continuous, meaning they occur each summer throughout a student's college career and are supplemented by leadership training and development, which corporations are seeking in their own successful employees.

Students should have at least a 2.8 GPA or higher* on a 4.0 scale or higher or its equivalent and be on their way to a four year college or university. *(Some companies may require a higher GPA.) While many people associate INROADS with internships in the business field, INROADS has expanded over the years in its affiliates across the country to now offer internship opportunities for students in such industries as: engineering, research science/pharmaceuticals, nursing, education, computer science and technology, environmental sciences business (marketing, accounting, finance, human resources). Many standard internship programs only provide these opportunities to college juniors and seniors. But at INROADS you can start your career NOW!

U.S. Coast Guard Summer AIM Program (underclassmen)
U.S. Air Force Academy Summer Seminar (rising seniors)
U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar (rising seniors)
U.S. Naval Academy Summer STEM Program (underclassmen)