MCA COLLEGE PLANNING
1. When & How to Start Planning
1) Always consult with your college counselor for anything related to
your college preparation.
2) Should create a college planning checklist when you are in grade 9.
3) Throughout the high school years, be mindful of getting good grades
in each subject – especially in major subjects. It is good to have your grades
generally improved over time.
4) Throughout your high school years, read a lot and steadily increase
your vocabulary with the books like Word Smart. It will be the best preparation
for your TOEFL/SAT/ACT tests.
5) Develop an idea about potential college majors and career paths
– consider the student’s interest
- What is the student interested in? What does he/she want to study?
- What careers does he/she want to pursue?
- Does he/she want to pursue further education beyond a bachelor’s degree?
2. Planning Timeline
1) 9th grade
- Prepare a 4-year plan
- Choose high school courses/subjects carefully to fulfill general prerequisites for college :
4 years of English (or 4 credits), 3 years of Social Studies (or 4 credits),
3 years of Math (or 4 credits), 3 years of Lab Science (or 4 credits), 2 years of
a foreign language (or 3 credits), and electives (3-4 credits)
- Subjects are to be taken to ultimately fulfill MCA graduation requirements
- Research relevant career paths that align with subjects the student can excel in
2) 10th grade
- Study for and take preliminary entrance exams like PSAT
- Concentrate on extracurricular interests
(club, student council, volunteering, varsity sports, choir, orchestra, or competitions)
- Attend college-related events organized by MCA or others
3) 11th grade
- Take college placement exams like the SAT and/or ACT
- Take the TOEFL test if required
- Consider AP classes to earn college credit and impress college admissions officers
- Compare colleges and compile a “top schools” list
4) 12th grade
- Prepare general/specific application materials: high school transcripts
(for 4 years: GPA 3.0 or higher out of 4.0), prepare SAT/ACT scores, get letters of
recommendation, study plan or application essays, portfolio, etc.
- Apply to and visit (if available) colleges
- Check for the possibilities of scholarships
4. Things to Know about US Colleges
1) Whether to choose private universities (top 20 or lower by ranking) or
state universities (many ranked between 20 and 50)?
2) Annual tuition fees for top private universities range from $52,000 to about $65,000,
and for top state universities, from about $35,000 to about $45,000 (as of 2020).
3) With the abolition of SAT Subject tests (SAT-II), US universities now tend to pay higher
attention to the AP subject scores of applicants.
1) It is now very difficult for an international student
(if you are holding a Korean passport, you are an international student)
to get a scholarship from US universities, but not totally impossible.
2) Merit-based scholarships are available at many US universities. Some of them are:
- “IVY League Conference” universities: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, U-Penn,
Cornell, Dartmouth, & Columbia
- “Big 10 Conference” universities in the middle states: Northwestern, U of Michigan,
Michigan State U, U of Maryland, U of Wisconsin, Ohio State U, Penn State, Rutgers,
Purdue, U of Illinois, U of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana U, U of Iowa
- “Big 12 Conference” universities mainly in the southern states: Baylor U, Iowa State U,
U of Kansas, Kansas State U, U of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State U, Texas Christian U,
U of Texas, Texas Tech U, West Virginia U)
3) If you have a very high GPA and excellent scores from TOEFL or SAT/ACT, you may apply
for a merit-based scholarship with these universities.