• Meet with your school counselor to finalize your list of colleges. Be sure your list includes “safety”, “reach” and “target” schools.
• Start a checklist of all application requirements and deadlines.
• If you can demonstrate financial hardship, contact the colleges and your guidance counselor about possible application fee waivers.
• Register for the SAT and/or ACT if you want to take them in November or December.
• If you are going to apply Early Action or Early Decision, be very mindful of the deadline.
• Identify who you would like to write you a letter of recommendation and ask them early. Give your recommender a resume as well.
• Write first drafts of your college essays and ask your parents, teachers and peers to review them for you.
• Make sure your SAT and/or ACT scores will be sent by the testing agency to each one of your colleges.
• Contact your guidance counselor and provide them with the necessary information so they can send out a high school transcript to the schools you are to applying to.
• Get PIN’s for the FAFSA for both yourself and for your parents
• Try to complete all college applications before the winter break.
• Apply for scholarships in time to meet scholarship application deadlines.
• Start gathering documents that you will need to complete the FAFSA.
• Submit your FAFSA as soon as you can. The FAFSA form becomes available January 1st of every year.
• If your grades have improved or you have new accomplishments that were not on your original college application, be sure to inform the schools that you have applied to.
• Register for AP exams
• Plan your last rounds of college visits and Spring Open House
• Admission decisions start arriving. Read everything you receive carefully, as some of the information may be time sensitive.
• Revisit colleges that accepted you if it is hard for your to make a choice.
• Do not get senioritis! Colleges want to see strong grades in the second half of your senior year.
• May 1st is the national deadline for high school students to inform colleges on whether or not they plan to attend. If you already know well before this date, let the colleges you do not plan on attending know. You help create space for students that are on the waiting list.
Keep in mind that you do not have to do these steps in the order they are listed. The important thing is that you do them in a timely manner.