College Planning Checklist

Senior Year

Senior year is finally here, and it's full of things to do to get ready for college. Use this senior year checklist to keep track of your progress and upcoming deadlines for testing, admissions and financial aid.

August

  • Sign up for the ACT (if you didn't take it as a junior, or if you aren't satisfied with your score, or if you've learned a lot since you first took it.)
  • Review ACT test results and retest if necessary

August – December

  • Visit with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements
  • Consider taking courses at a local university or community college
  • Keep working hard all year; second semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility
  • Ask for personal references from teachers, school counselors, or employers early in the year or at least two weeks before application deadlines. Follow your school's procedure for requesting recommendations.
  • Visit with admissions counselors who come to your high school
  • Attend a college fair
  • Begin your college essay(s)
  • Apply for admission at the colleges you've chosen
  • Avoid common college application mistakes
  • Find out if you qualify for scholarships at each college you have applied to
  • Start the financial aid application process
  • See your school counselor for help finding financial aid and scholarships

January – May

  • If you need it, get help completing the FAFSA
  • Ask your guidance office in January to send first semester transcripts to schools where you applied. In May, they will need to send final transcripts to the college you will attend.
  • Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll
  • Decide which college to attend, and notify the school of your decision
  • Keep track of and observe deadlines for sending in all required fees and paperwork
  • Notify schools you will not attend of your decision
  • Continue to look for scholarship opportunities
  • Keep track of important financial aid and scholarship deadlines
  • Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR)—it should arrive four weeks after the FAFSA is filed
  • Compare financial aid packages from different schools
  • Sign and send in a promissory note if you are borrowing money
  • Notify your college about any outside scholarships you received