College Planning

State University System (SUS)

Admission into Florida’s public universities is competitive. Prospective students should complete a rigorous curriculum in high school and apply to more than one university to increase their chance for acceptance. To qualify to enter one of Florida’s public universities, a first-time-in-college student must meet the following minimum requirements (credit earned by industry certification does not count for SUS admission):

  • High school graduation with a standard diploma
  • Admissions test scores (SAT/ACT)
  • * 16 credits of approved college preparator academic courses
    • 4 English
    • 4 Math (Algebra 1 level and above)
    • 3 Natural Science
    • 3 Social Science
    • 2 World Language (in the same language)
    • 2 approved electives (academic)

The Florida College System

The 28-member Florida College System offers career-related certificates and Associate in Science degrees that prepare students to go directly into the workforce, as well as Associate of Arts degrees that prepare students to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. Many also offer baccalaureate degrees in high-demand fields. The Florida College System has an open-door policy enabling students who have earned a standard high school diploma, high school equivalency diploma or have demonstrated success in postsecondary coursework to be admitted to an associate degree program.

  • Florida 2 + 2 system to earn a bachelor’s (4 yr) degree
    • Earn an Associate of Arts (2 yr) degree at a Florida College System institution, then transfer to a 4 yr institution
    • AA degree at a Florida college guarantees students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree at a university or Florida college offering 4 yr degrees


  • Take a rigorous academic curriculum that includes at least 5 academic courses each year.
  • B’s in honors and AP courses are better than A’s in average courses.
  • Taking AP courses in junior and senior year are a must for more selective schools.
  • Minimum 2 years of the same foreign language required: many selective schools prefer 3-4 years.
  • Minimum Algebra II for 4-year colleges. Pre-calculus or calculus is a must for highly selective schools.


  • Things to consider: location, “character”, size, academic entrance difficulty, extracurricular opportunities, housing, cost, availability of financial aid, student:teacher ratio, freshman retention rate, percentage of students graduating in 4 years.
  • Apply as early as possible – in the fall of senior year. Watch deadlines!
  • How to apply? Use university application on their website.  Many use the Coalition Application and/or Common App.
  • Call admissions office 3 weeks after all documents have been sent to check if they have received everything (latest test scores, recommendations, transcripts, etc) – things do get lost!


  • SAT (Verbal, Mathematics, and Writing), ACT (English, Math, Reading, Science and optional Writing), SAT II (individual subject tests), CPT (College Placement Test).
  • Take PSAT in October of junior year. This test qualifies you for National Merit & some other scholarships.
  • Take SAT and/or ACT (preferably both) by spring of junior year at the latest and the CPT in the spring of senior year (CPT is required for community college and Gold Seal qualification only).
  • SAT II subject tests are required by more selective colleges. Some use these just for placements while Ivy League and other highly selective schools use them for admissions, so take them early. One-hour tests can take up to 3 at one sitting, offered on most regular SAT test dates.
  • SAT/ACT registration packets are in the College and Career Center; you handle the registration yourself. You can also register for the SAT online at and the ACT at with a major credit card.
  • It is important to prepare for tests. Preparation booklets are available next to registration packets. Take practice tests, purchase computer programs and/or booklets, prep classes, and free online help at


  • College and Career publishes monthly scholarship bulletins and houses various resource books.
  • Pick up scholarship applications in the College and Career Center.
  • Check FastWeb, College Answer, and Merit Aid
  • Consider need- or merit-based, local or nation-wide, and the number awarded.
  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship – Academic, Medallion and Gold Seal awards. Check FLVS for eligibility requirements. Apply at
  • NCAA Clearinghouse – you must register in the fall of senior year to participate in intercollegiate sports and qualify for sports scholarships.

The Financial Aid Process

  • Submit your completed FAFSA form (free application for federal student aid) to receive Student Aid Report and Expected Family Contribution. Reports are sent to your home as well as colleges you request.
  • Paper FAFSA forms are available in the College and Career Center (results take 4-6 weeks) or apply online at (results returned in about 2 weeks). Title IV college codes are needed for the form. Make a copy of the form before submitting. Follow directions carefully!
  • Apply for financial aid early, as soon as possible after Jan. 1 of senior year – if considering beginning summer term, you should apply during your junior year.
  • Types of aid: grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study.
  • CSS profile: financial aid application used by some highly selective schools – early fall deadline!


  • Transcripts are needed for all college applications and most scholarship applications.
  • Order in Student Services: the first 3 transcripts are free and all others after that are $2. Free for scholarship applications.
  • Transcripts include SAT/ACT scores but you still must send your scores directly to colleges.
  • The George Jenkins school code is 100894.


  • Start building your personal portfolio in freshman year; include honors, awards, activities, athletics, and community service. Information will be at your fingertips when writing resumes in senior year.
  • At the beginning of senior year, give a copy to your guidance counselor and to the College and Career Center to help them in recommending colleges and scholarships and also to anyone you ask to write a recommendation.
  • Provide updates whenever you have significant additions.


  • Ask yourself: “Who should write this?”
  • Provide resume of activities and accomplishments.
  • Allow at least 2 weeks for the recommendation to be written.
  • Write a thank you note.


  • Needed for many college and scholarship applications.
  • Carry considerable weight in applications.
  • Books and pamphlets are available to help write the essay.
  • Ask someone (an English teacher if possible) to proofread and make suggestions.

College visits

  • Before making any final decisions, campus visits are recommended.
  • Try to arrange an overnight stay and if possible, sit in on some classes.

It is very important to keep all your information together. Make separate files for each school! Make copies of everything you send!

If considering ivy’s and highly selective colleges:

  • Take several AP classes your junior year.
  • Take SAT II subject tests early, as soon as you have completed that subject – retake if necessary to raise scores.
  • Take the practice or real SAT/ACT in 10th grade, take PSAT in October of your junior year.
  • Class rank is very important.
  • Contact an admissions officer at the college you are interested in early; ask them to review your credentials, program of study, and make suggestions.
  • You must have outstanding grades, curriculum, and test scores, and demonstrate that you are well-rounded (leadership, community service, music/art/athletics). It is important to have a particular strength that stands out: have had writing published, be a state-ranked athlete, have created a community service program, be an outstanding musician, etc.
  • Ask a counselor or College and Career specialist if he/she would consider contacting an admissions officer at your first choice school on your behalf.
  • Apply to some “safety” schools, including a state school. Remember that Ivy League schools offer virtually no merit-based aid but will usually meet financial need.

resources for college planning & Financial need

College Board
Merit Aid
College Answer
College Panning and Financial Aid Resources
SAT Test Prep
ACT Test Prep
Free ACT eBook

U.S. Military

The U.S. Military branches offer an option for students after high school graduation. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is the required entrance test to enlist in the U.S. Military. For more information on the ASVAB, go to

The following websites have additional information on military branches: