College Planning

Providence Classical Christian School takes a personalized approach to advising students through the journey of the college admissions process. Our goal is to provide information and guidance to students and their parents so they can make the best-informed decision regarding the selection of a college that best fits the gifts, needs, and abilities of each individual student.

The college adviser proactively communicates with students and parents, and is readily available to answer questions and provide specific information to help families make their college decisions.

School Profile

The college profile offers a brief overview of the school and our grading procedures, curriculum overview, and other information pertinent to college admissions.

PSAT, SAT, and ACT Testing

Test scores are one piece of what colleges and universities review as they consider a student’s application. There are three main types of tests to consider:

  • Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (College Board). Given in October, to all Providence sophomores and juniors, the PSAT is useful as an indicator of SAT scores and test practice. The basis of some merit scholarships and scores from the junior year PSAT will potentially qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The PSAT can also be a source of some college mailings.
  • Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and Reasoning Test (College Board). The SAT covers three areas: critical reading, math, and writing.  The critical reading section (70 minutes) tests students’ ability to read and comprehend passages and complete sentences.  The math section (70 minutes) includes multiple choice questions/student-generated responses on Algebra I/II, arithmetic, and geometry.  The new writing section (60 minutes) tests students’ ability to write a short essay and correctly use standard written English.  There is also a 25-minute unscored section. Altogether, the new SAT lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes. Register for the SAT
  • American College Testing (ACT) Assessment. The ACT includes tests in four areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning.  Four sub-scores plus a composite average score are reported. There is also an optional writing component. Many schools accept ACT in lieu of the SAT. For many colleges in the South and Midwest, it is the test used by the majority of applicants. However, if you are applying to a large public university or a service academy which uses cutoffs for eligibility, it is in your interest to take the ACT in case your score is higher. Unlike the SAT, there is no penalty for guessing on the ACT, so be sure to answer each question. Register for the ACT 

Additional College Resources

Planning Activities by Year

The following lists give you a sense of what you can do during each high school year to plan for college.

Freshman Year Planning

  • Work hard to receive your best grades. Remember that when you apply for colleges, your transcripts may only show 9th – 11th grades for early application deadlines.
  • Get involved in co-curricular activities at school, join a sports team, a student club, house council, etc.
  • Read to strengthen vocabulary
  • Begin now to talk and explore college options with your parents

Sophomore Year Planning

  • Take the PSAT in October at Providence. Scores arrive late December. Review and work on weak areas. Sophomores take the test as a practice test to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to see which students  may be close to qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship. This test will be taken again as a Junior to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Competition
  • Look for leadership opportunities both in and out of school, and get involved in co-curricular activities at school by joining a sports team, a student club, house council, etc.
  • Work hard for your best grades.
  • When the opportunity presents itself to visit a college campus – Take It! It’s good exposure
  • Read to strengthen vocabulary
  • If your student is taking Latin 4 or 5, consider taking the SAT Latin subject test in May of your sophomore year. If you are considering a college that requires subject testing as part of the application process this would be a potential test. If you are going to take this test, you WILL need to register very early, and study with a practice book for this test. The May SAT test date fills up quickly as it is the last test date for Subject Tests
  • Get a summer job and look for volunteer opportunities

Junior Year Planning


    • Begin exploring career goals and college majors
    • Carve out 20 minutes a day to study for the PSAT/NMSQT. This will define your strengths and weaknesses for the actual college SAT/ACT
    • Plan to attend the local college fairs and visit colleges on their prospective student weekends. Those dates will be posted on the college’s admission web page
    • If you desire to seek an athletic scholarship, contact coaches now
    • Plan to visit local colleges


    • Take the PSAT/NMSQT at Providence
    • Attend the local National Christian College Fair and National College Fair


    • Begin creating a preliminary college list
    • Think about how to finance college and discuss as a family
    •  Plan on when to take the SAT and/or ACT. We recommend taking the SAT twice and will offer it to juniors in the spring of their junior year and fall of their senior year at Providence


    • Evaluate your PSAT/NMSQT scores to develop strategies to strengthen weak areas

January & February

    • Register for the SAT and/or ACT. Explore AP exams and CLEP (College Level Exam Program) exams of interest
    • Explore prospective college web sites to learn about campus life
    • Get to know your teachers and start thinking about who you will ask to write recommendations for you

March & April

    • Begin to finalize your list of prospective schools
    • Begin requesting teacher recommendations
    • Attend College Fairs in the area
    • Create a plan to visit your top 2-3 schools (spring and summer are good times for this)
    • Start planning summer activities and be looking for a job


    • Enjoy the Grand Tour
    • Find a job or internship. Participate in community service work and missions
    • Visit more colleges
    • Finalize the list of colleges to which you want to apply
    • Start working on your essay topics and draft versions
    • Start researching scholarship opportunities
    • Research AP courses you wish to take during your senior year

Senior Year Planning


    • Find a job or internship, do community service work, missions; take a community college course or summer program
    • Visit colleges
    • Finalize the list of colleges to which you want to apply
    • Start working on your essay topics and draft versions
    • Start researching scholarship opportunities
    • Take practice SAT’s


    • Review electronic applications for each of your prospective schools and complete your portion
    • Prep for the SAT
    • Decide when you will have senior pictures taken (fall/winter/spring)


    • Attend Christian College Fair
    • Take the SAT hosted at Providence
    • Consider which teachers you want to ask for a letter of recommendation. Ask them if they are willing and provide them with all pertinent information for the task.
    • Complete Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)

November & December

    • Review the Student Aid Report (SAR) and correct any errors
    • Submit the SAR to any colleges where you have applied
    • Attend National College Fair
    • Many early decision or early action applications are due in November
    • Submit applications to colleges under the regular decision application deadline in December


    • Contact each college to confirm that all parts of your application packet have been received and are complete
    • Research AP Tests and CLEP tests and consider what you might want to take. Register for any AP tests you want to take


    • As college acceptances and financial aid decisions start to arrive; review all packages thoroughly
    • Contact financial aid officers with additional questions
    • Notify the colleges that you didn’t choose

March & April

    • Countdown to graduation starts in these months
    • Your college advisor will walk you through all the final steps in preparation for graduation
    • Order grad announcements if you have not already done so
    • Start planning senior trip
    • Begin gathering photos for the senior slide show and submit photos for the yearbook by the end of April
    • Inform teacher references of the results of the colleges’ admission decisions and thank them for their support.


    • Make college decision by May 1st
    • Follow up with the housing and financial aid offices at the college of your choice
    • Take any AP and CLEP tests you have signed up for
    • Develop a college budget
    • Begin working on graduation speeches
    • Begin working on your celebration boards for graduation


    • Graduation!
    • Work with college advisor to have final transcripts sent to the college you will be attending.