Senior Year To Do List

Senior Year To Do List

Fall

  • Continue to take a full course load of college-prep courses.
  • Keep working on your grades. Make sure you've taken the courses necessary to graduate in the spring.
  • Continue to participate in extracurricular and volunteer activities. Demonstrate initiative, creativity, commitment and leadership in each.
  • Establish your college short list, keeping it to no more than eight, but preferably five to six.
  • Share the list with your parents, friends, counselor and relatives for feedback and advice.
  • Visit college representatives at your school and if possible, attend classes in the subjects you are interested in. It’s time to start making some real decisions so use this opportunity to ask questions that address concerns you might have. 
  • Use college websites to learn more about academic programs, activities… and request additional information (including financial aid/housing).
  • Begin to file rolling admission/regular decision applications.
  • Write essays for colleges that require them. Proofread at least three times and prepare final drafts.
  • Provide personalized recommendation forms to those you’ve chosen, along with stamped, addressed envelopes so they can send them directly to the colleges. Even if they aren’t required, these can’t hurt.
  • Send test scores and transcripts to colleges you’ve applied to. 
  • Request financial aid applications from colleges you’ve applied to. 
  • Register for CSS/Financial Aid Profile if necessary. 
  • Give School Report forms to your high school’s guidance office. Fill in your name, address and any other required information on top. Verify with your guidance counselor the schools to which transcripts, test scores and letters are to be sent. Give your counselor any necessary forms at least two weeks before they are due or whenever your counselor’s deadline is, whichever is earlier.
  • Keep a checklist or calendar to make sure you meet your deadlines. It’s crunch time! 
  • Mail or send electronically any applications for early-decision admission by November 1.
  • Take/retake ACT when offered.

Winter

  • Continue to focus on your schoolwork!  If required, send midyear grade reports to colleges.
  • Find out if the colleges you are interested in require the SAT I, ACT Assessment, or SAT II Subject Tests for admission and take them when offered.
  • Get the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form from your counselor, college or online.
  • Attend Open Houses and other Admission events and make appointments with faculty, financial aid or coaches.
  • Mail or send electronically any remaining applications and financial aid forms before winter break. Make sure you apply to at least one college that you know you can afford and will be accepted.
  • Follow up to make sure that the colleges have received all application information, including recommendations and test scores.
  • Meet with your counselor to verify that all applicable forms are in order and have been sent out to colleges.
  • If you receive Early Admission/Early Decisions, rank schools for preference.
  • Make sure you’ve visited every school you’re interested in and use that experience to weed out or strengthen your choices.
  • Complete and file the FAFSA after January 1 and before February 1.
  • Attend financial aid information night at local colleges, if available.

Spring

  • Keep your grades up - it still matters!
  • Start watching your mailbox.  Look for acceptance packages between March 1 and April 1 and notification of financial aid awards between April 1 and May 1.
  • Review SAR (Student Aid Report) from FAFSA carefully. 
  • Review financial aid packages from schools who accepted you carefully, comparing schools on an equal basis as much as possible.
  • Revisit schools where accepted, if needed, to help you make your decision.
  • Go to college websites or social networking groups where you’ve been accepted and talk to future and current students as it’s a great way to decide if you fit in.
  • Make your final decision and discuss it with your parents or guardians.
  • Mail a deposit to ONE school by May 1. Its non-refundable so be absolutely sure.
  • Notify all of the other schools that accepted you of your choice by May 1. 
  • If you’re wait-listed and still interested in that school, contact the admissions office.
  • Be sure that you have received a FAFSA acknowledgment.
  • Notify financial aid office if you have any special circumstances or private scholarship awards and to make sure you meet all financial aid requirements.
  • Complete follow-up paperwork for the college (scheduling, orientation session, housing arrangements and other necessary forms).
  • Throw away that stack of mail, which marks the completion of your college search!

Summer

  • Request that your guidance counselor send a final transcript to your college in June.
  • Receive the orientation schedule from your college.
  • Follow procedures for college housing and orientation.
  • Get residence hall assignment from your college. Contact your roommate and introduce yourself. 
  • Obtain course scheduling and cost information from your college.
  • Enjoy graduation and summer—you’ve earned it!  Good luck.
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