Your highschool to college checklist should ideally begin by the fall of your sophomore year. If you haven’t started yet, it’s time to catch up. Here are the steps you need to follow through the stages: FALL
- Develop a student profile or resume as you begin to progress through high school. Include any awards /accomplishments / activities along the way.
- Prepare for the fall PSAT test by taking a practice PSAT in the spring.
- Athletes: begin requesting information from college coaches.
Junior Year FALL
- Take PSAT or Pre ACT
- Undecided major? Study top career opportunities and match them with your personality, traits and preferences.
- Register for the SAT / ACT
- Begin gathering academic and financial aid packages information on colleges
- Take the ACT and/or the SAT I/SAT II tests.
- Narrow your choices of colleges to about ten. Begin charting and comparing them.
- Begin investigating national and local private scholarship opportunities.
- Start campus visits during spring break or summer.
- Begin sending for college applications (via mail or the web.)
- If needed, practice to improve any weak area you might have shown in your first SAT/ACT test.
- Register for November SAT and ACT tests.
- Visit the guidance office to establish schedules with your counselor for the application process.
- Attend college fairs and collect information on colleges that offer your desired major.
- Determine if you want to apply for early admission to a college (Note: there is a risk to early admission if you don’t receive an adequate financial aid package).
- Redifine and narrow your final school selection down to between 4 to 8 schools.
- Register for the CSS Profile if your selected schools require this form.
- Apply to your chosen colleges.
- Draft essays for applications that require them.
- Solicit any personal recommendations required by college applications (ask counselors and/or teachers).
- Have your test scores sent to the schools where you applied.
- Pick up financial aid packet at your high school guidance office.
- Collect information needed and complete the FAFSA, but DO NOT SEND IN YET.
- File FAFSA as soon after the 1st as possible (use estimated income figures.)
- Begin requesting scholarship applications.
- Keep photocopies of all forms and applications you complete.
FEBRUARY through MARCH
- Receive Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Federal Student Aid Program, and review for accuracy.
- Receive request(s) from colleges for any additional information needed.
- Begin receiving financial aid award letters from the colleges you’ve applied to, and make comparisons.
- Investigate payment options with each college.
- Accept all or part of the financial aid offered; sign and return acceptance letter.
- Many schools will require commitments to attend by May 1st; deposits will be required. Don’t commit if you have not yet received all of your award letters from the colleges to which you’ve applied. Call the college admissions offices and ask for extensions.
- Notify by the 1st the college you plan to attend and send final transcript.
- Send deposit to college.
- Make loan arrangements.
- Report any private scholarship to the financial aid office.