Although the school year has just begun, it’s really not too early for you high school juniors and seniors to start thinking about college entrance exams and applications. Many colleges have priority deadlines coming up, and the official deadline to apply for a UC is November 30. Fortunately, the library has lots of helpful programs and resources to get you started practicing for those tests and planning those applications. And it’s all available in one place: the College and Financial Aid Subject Guide.

We’ve put a lot of information on this subject guide, and grouped it into the following subpages:

    College Applications and Deadlines — which includes a list of the deadlines for 25 California colleges, universities and university systems, with links to their admissions webpages. It’s always best, when applying to colleges, to keep a close eye on the calendar. You may otherwise miss a deadline for a college you were really interested in.
    The ACT — Many teens like the ACT because it is broader in range than the SAT, giving you a boost if Math and English don’t happen to be your strong points. You can make an effort to tackle just one ACT question a day, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter so that you get the questions automatically.
    The SAT — Learn about our Practice SAT workshops! And if you cannot attend these, even if you only have a little time each day, why not subscribe to get daily emails from the College Board with one SAT question each day? If you have more time, you can take online practice tests using Learning Express Library, which will analyze your score and give you suggested areas for practice.
    Financial Aid — If you do only one thing to help you with paying for your college, it should be filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Just about every college or university will require a FAFSA application before they consider awarding you aid.
    Our page For Students With Special Needs lists colleges and universities that are especially welcoming of, or have special programs for, students with physical, intellectual or learning disabilities. We also have lots of books in our catalog for helping teens who have disabilities ranging from ADD to Autism to realize their college dreams and get financial aid.
    Our page For Parents has books and videos for Mom and Dad about what to expect when you go to school. Teens, you might want to watch the videos with your parents and use them to start a discussion about keeping their expectations realistic!
    Don’t know what to expect yourself? Our page about Adjusting to College was made just for current high school students, to show you what college life will be like and the changes you may experience.

In addition to these online resources, the library has lots of programs to help you get a head start in your planning and practice. You can come down to La Pintoresca Library on Saturday, September 28 at 1 pm and take a timed practice SAT test (signups required: call 626-744-7268). Practice SATs will be provided in October and November at the Hastings Branch as well. Taking a live practice test does take a chunk out of your day, but it is the best way to learn the one skill that can really make or break you on test day: time management!

You can also bring your parents to a College Application Essay Writing Workshop, which will be held at La Pintoresca Library on Monday, September 23 at 5 pm. There you will learn tips and tricks for impressing those admissions boards with a powerful personal statement.

It is so important that you start thinking NOW about what you need to do to get great test scores, write an impressive essay, apply for aid, and do it all on time! But don’t sweat. Let the Pasadena Public Library be your guide.