College or University Bound Seniors Timeline

The Summer Before Senior Year

  • Visit colleges that interest you. Get the campus tour schedule. Arrange an on-campus interview with an admission representative.
  • Update your resume — a list of your accomplishments, activities and work experiences. Your resume can help you complete your applications and essays.
  • Keep a college calendar of all admission deadlines.
  • If you plan on competing in Division I or Division II college sports and want to be eligible to be recruited by colleges, register with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse.
  • Register early for fall test dates for the SAT® and SAT Subject Tests™.

September

  • Contact your school counselor — your counselor plays a big role in helping you get into college. Meet to talk about your college plans and review your transcript.
  • Finalize your list of colleges. Be sure you list “safety” colleges, as well as “probable” and “reach” colleges. Review college applications and informational materials. Organize materials into separate files by college.
  • If you plan to apply through an early decision or early action program, get started on your applications right away. Deadlines for early applications tend to be in November.
  • Begin working on your college essays. Think of topics that focus on your experiences and make you stand out from the crowd.

October

  • Ask your counselor, teachers or employers for letters of recommendation. Give them plenty of time to meet your deadlines and be sure to provide them with stamped and addressed envelopes.
  • If you take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests this month, make sure your scores are sent to each of your colleges.

November

  • Submit early decision and early action applications on time.
  • Follow up to ensure that letters of recommendation are sent on time to meet your deadlines.
  • Send applications as early as possible for colleges with rolling deadlines (that is, admission decisions are made as applications are received).
  • If you take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests this month, make sure your scores are sent to each of your colleges.

December

  • Try to wrap up college applications before winter break. Make copies of each application before you send it.
  • If you take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests this month, make sure your scores are sent to each of your colleges.
  • Contact the financial aid office at the colleges on your list to see what financial aid forms they require.

January

  • Have your counselor send your first-semester grades to colleges that require a midyear grade report.

February

  • Contact your colleges and confirm that all necessary application materials have been received.
  • Continue to perform well in school and don’t get senioritis; colleges want to see strong second-semester grades.
  • Register for AP Exams you want to take in May

March

  • Read carefully any admission decisions that arrive this month; some may require action on your part.

April

  • Read carefully any admission decisions and compare the financial aid award letters that arrive this month; some may require action on your part.
  • Make a final decision, and mail the enrollment form and deposit check to the college you select before the May 1 enrollment deadline (for most colleges).
  • Notify each of the colleges that accepted you but that you will not attend of your decision, so that your spot can be freed up for another student.
  • If you’re on a waiting list, contact the admission office and let them know of your continued interest in the college; update them on your spring semester grades and activities.

May

  • Study hard for final exams. Most admission offers are contingent on your final grades.
  • Thank your counselor, teachers, employers and anyone else who wrote letters of recommendation for you or otherwise helped with your college applications.
  • Have your counselor send your final transcript to your chosen college.
  • If you plan on competing in Division I or Division II college sports, have your counselor send your final transcript to the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse

Remember, always come see your counselor for help with the college application process—we’re here to help you achieve your goals!

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