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  Lesson Plans
The Great College Search
(Do I Really Have to Think about This?)

Janine Polla Werner
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 Three 45-minute class periods


It's really never too early for students to begin thinking about college. From their first year as freshmen, they should be keeping their grades up, participating in clubs and teams, and forming positive relationships with teachers and peers. However, many students delay planning for college because the application process is daunting, time-consuming, and confusing. With seemingly endless paperwork, exams, and deadlines, it's no wonder students are loath to begin and often wait until the last minute.

Through activities presented in this lesson, students will become familiar with the many phases of the college application process, including choosing schools that suit their needs and desires, understanding the standardized test requirements, constructing an effective entrance essay, and procuring strong letters of recommendation. They will develop the skills necessary to embark on a productive college search and become comfortable with the steps involved in compiling a strong application packet. After examining Web sites and video clips, students will take the first step in assembling their college folders by completing their personal profiles.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • Identify personal preferences and abilities
  • Evaluate schools for possible admission based on personal preferences and abilities
  • Understand the components of a strong application packet, including essay and recommendations
  • Distinguish between the SAT and ACT exams
  • Understand the importance of becoming a well-rounded student for the purpose of college admission


New York State Learning Standards for Career Development and Occupational Studies

Standard 1: Career Development
Students will be knowledgeable about the world of work, explore career options, and relate personal skills, aptitudes, and abilities to future career decisions.

Standard 3a: Universal Foundation Skills
Students will demonstrate mastery of the foundation skills and competencies essential for success in the workplace.
(Basic Skills): Listen to and read the ideas of others and express themselves both orally and in writing
(Thinking Skills): Use ideas and information to make decisions and solve problems related to accomplishing a task

Standard 3b: Career Majors
Students who choose a career major will acquire the career-specific technical knowledge/skills necessary to progress toward gainful employment, career advancement, and success in postsecondary programs.

Media Components


Road to College 2001

Web sites:

Peterson's Education Center
This comprehensive site enables students to search for colleges that meet individual needs through an advanced search option. Students can also search colleges alphabetically and geographically.

Campus Tours
This site provides a quick and easy way to see hundreds of colleges and link to their Web sites, view handy maps and take virtual tours of campuses.

The College Board
These inclusive sites provide general college information and allow students to maintain personal files. They describe the components of the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The above links contain Adobe versions of practice verbal and math SAT's.

This Web site describes the components of the American College Test and offers a practice exam.


Per student:

  • Computer with Internet access
  • My Ideal College Experience worksheet
  • College Tour worksheet
  • College Planning by Flow Chart sheet