This is it! You’ve finally made it to your senior year of high school. You’re the big kid on campus and ready to take on the world. It’s hard to believe that in less than a year, you’ll be turning in your books, waving goodbye to your teachers, and heading off to college; but, before you can walk across the stage to receive your high school diploma, there are few college to-do items that need your attention. The first few months of high school are going to be packed with college admission tasks, so it’s important that you have an action plan in place to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. To make things easy for you, I have put together this handy list of college planning activities that will help you get through this fall with flying colors. Simply follow the month-to-month suggestions to keep on the right path.
It may be tempting to spend the first few weeks of school catching up with friends and reminiscing about your summer exploits, but now is not the time to relax. Be sure to tackle these tasks as soon as possible.
1. Calendar all upcoming deadlines, including: college, financial aid and scholarship applications
2. Start working on your college essay rough drafts
4. Meet with your guidance counselor
a. Review classes
b. Request transcripts and test scores
Now that you have settled into your classes for the semester, it’s a good time to organize and prioritize your college applications and required documentation. Here is what you should be focusing on this month.
1. Create a folder for each college on your application list
2. Visit any colleges that you are still considering
3. Request letters of recommendation
4. Start working on college applications with early deadline dates
5. Take or retake the ACT
6. Have at least two people review your college essays
Are you starting to feel the pressure yet? Don’t worry, you are not alone. As early action and early decision deadlines get closer, stress can take a toll on you. It will seem as though you never have enough time to get everything completed, but just breathe. If you take it one step at a time, everything will fall into place. Use this month to cross the following items off your to-do list.
1. Take or retake the SAT
2. Attend college planning and financial aid nights
3. Finalize your list of potential colleges
4. Review upcoming deadline dates for applications and financial aid
5. Finish gathering required documentation for college application packets
As you head into the holiday season, you should be able to relax a little and enjoy some family time. There are just a few things you’ll need to manage before settling in for a nice turkey dinner.
1. If needed, take the SAT Subject Test
2. Apply for college financial aid (many have early deadlines!)
3. Work on the CSS/ Financial Aid PROFILE® (if required)
4. Continue working on college applications with regular deadlines
If you have applied for early decision or early action, you should start receiving decisions this month. If you are denied or waitlisted, don’t give up hope; there are still plenty of colleges with deadline dates in the spring. Keep your options open. In the meantime, be sure to tackle these tasks over the winter break.
1. Visit any college where you applied, but have not toured
3. Finish your college applications
There’s one more thing you should be doing right now and every month during high school – applying for scholarships! Use these final weeks before school starts to get a running start on your scholarship applications and calendar time each month to ensure you don’t miss any future opportunities. You don’t want to be accepted to your dream school only to find out you can’t afford to attend. With a little luck and hard work, you’ll hopefully head into the spring with your college acceptance letter and a slew of scholarships in hand.
Please Note: The WiseChoice website will be discontinued later this month. Before the site becomes unavailable, we
encourage you to download & save any stored documents you may want to keep from your account. Email us if you have questions.