- Take the SAT, SAT Subject exams, and/or ACT as appropriate.
- Continue to research schools to narrow your list to roughly 6 - 8 schools.
- Take advantage of college fairs and virtual tours.
- Complete your applications if you are applying early decision or early action.
- Research financial aid and scholarships. Do your parents' places of employment offer college scholarships for employee children?
- Get your college essay in shape. Get feedback on your writing from a guidance counselor and a teacher.
- Request your high school transcript and check it for accuracy.
- Keep track of all application components and deadlines: applications, test scores, letters of recommendation, and financial aid materials. An incomplete application will ruin your chances for admission.
- Register for the December SAT or ACT if appropriate.
- Take the November SAT if appropriate.
- Don't let your grades slide. It's easy to be distracted from school work when working on applications. Senior slump can be disastrous for your admissions chances.
- Make sure you've submitted all components of your applications if you are applying to colleges with November deadlines for early decision or preferred application.
- Put the final touches on your application essays, and get feedback on your essays from counselors and/or teachers.
- Continue to research scholarships.
December - January
· Complete your applications for regular admissions.
- Make sure you've had your test scores sent to all colleges that require them.
- Confirm that your letters of recommendation have been sent.
- Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Aid).
- If you are accepted to a school through early decision, be sure to follow directions carefully. Submit required forms, and notify the other schools to which you applied of your decision.
- Continue to focus on your grades and extracurricular involvement.
- Have midyear grades sent to colleges.
- Continue to keep track of all deadlines and application components.
- Continue to research scholarships. Apply for scholarships well in advance of deadlines.
February - March
- If you submitted the FAFSA, you should receive the Student Aid Report (SAR). Carefully look it over for accuracy. Errors can cost you thousands of dollars.
- Contact colleges that didn't send you a confirmation receipt for your application.
- Don't put off applying to schools with rolling admissions or late deadlines -- the available spaces can fill up.
- Talk to your school about registering for AP exams.
- Keep your grades high. Colleges can revoke offers of admission if your grades take a nosedive senior year.
- Some acceptance letters may arrive. Compare financial aid offers and visit campus before making a decision.
- Don't panic; many, many decisions are not mailed out until April.
- Continue applying for appropriate scholarships.
- Keep track of all acceptances, rejections, and waitlists.
- If waitlisted, learn more about waitlists and move ahead with other plans. You can always change your plans if you get off a waitlist.
- Keep your grades up.
- If you have ruled out any colleges that accepted you, notify them. This is a courtesy to other applicants, and it will help the colleges manage their waitlists and extend the correct number of acceptance letters.
- Go to accepted student open houses if offered.
- A couple circumstances may warrant an appeal of a college rejection
May - June
- Avoid senioritis! An acceptance letter doesn't mean you can stop working.
- Most schools have a deposit deadline of May 1st. Don't be late! If needed, you may be able to request an extension.
- Prepare for and take any appropriate AP exams. Most colleges offer course credit for high AP scores; this gives you more academic options when you get to college.
- Have your final transcripts sent to colleges.
- Send thank you letters to everyone who helped you in the application process. Let your mentors and recommenders know the results of your college search.
- Keep on top of procuring student loans. Notify your college if you receive any scholarships.
- Graduate. Congratulations!