We recommend students follow this timeline to maximize their success in the college planning process. If you’d like to download our checklist form to help keep track of completed items, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page.
- Get involved with extracurricular activities to see what sparks your interest and explore opportunities.
- Start building a resume/activities list.
- Get to know your guidance counselor; he/she will be an important part of your high school career, particularly in helping you make plans for the next 4 years and beyond.
- Become familiar with NCAA requirements if you may want to play sports in college.
- Study hard and work to get the best grades you can to build a strong transcript.
- Register for and take PSAT for practice (if appropriate by math placement) and/or PLAN test.
- Continue to explore and participate in extracurricular activities inside and/or outside of school.
- Continue to build resume, keeping track of hours of involvement and memorable experiences in activities.
- Start visiting colleges to get a sense of “turn-ons” and “turn-offs” (process of elimination is important).
- May choose to take SAT II in June (ONLY if qualified and teacher recommends it).
- Start thinking about career options and necessary education for these goals. Consider taking a summer course or participating in a summer program in an area of interest or enrichment.
- Sept./Oct.: Register for and take PSAT
- Nov.-June: Begin thinking more formally about post-secondary plans.
- Continue to visit colleges and begin to formulate a list of potential colleges/vocational/technical schools.
- Feb-April: Be aware of registration deadlines for SAT I, SAT II, ACT, TOEFL. (LD/504 Students make special arrangements for alternate testing situation).
- Spring: Select a challenging course load for senior year.
- Spring: Attend college fairs to talk to college representatives and gather information about potential schools.
- Spring: Meet with guidance counselor and/or private counselor to discuss post-secondary plans.
- Spring: Begin requesting recommendation letters for the following fall.
- May: AP exams for junior AP courses
- Summer: Start writing practice college essays (stream of consciousness)· Summer: Begin requesting college applications from colleges
- Summer: Continue to do more college visitations.
- Sept.: Attend regional college fair for additional information about schools on your list.
- Sept.: Finalize school selections and meet with counselor to discuss.
- Sept.: Request recommendation letters from teachers, coaches, etc.
- Sept.: Finalize activities resume.
- Sept./Oct.: Begin to file applications for schools with rolling admissions.
- Sept./Oct.: Register for SAT I, SAT II, ACT, TOEFL for final time (if desired). Make sure to have all scores sent directly to colleges to which you are applying! (November is the latest recommended testing date for Early Decision/Early Action applicants).
- Fall: File CSS Financial Aid Profile if required by your list of schools.
- Nov./Dec.: Be aware of ED/EA and all other deadlines.
- Dec./Jan.: Submit remaining applications.
- January 2nd: Submit FAFSA for eligibility for federal financial aid.
- Jan.: Submit mid-year grades to colleges.
- Jan./Feb.: If you were deferred, submit extra materials to support application. Spring: Try to avoid senioritis! Colleges have been known to revoke acceptance if there is a major downturn of grades.
- May: AP exams for senior AP courses.
- Keep copies of everything! Occasionally things do get lost. Keep copies of college applications, financial aid applications, essays…everything!