College Planning Timeline*
Your counselor is ready and willing to help you make sense of your college and career options. Set up a meeting to talk about your plans for high school and the future.
Extracurricular activities are an important part of high school. Make an effort to get involved with groups, clubs, or teams that interest you.
Make sure you enroll in the appropriate college-prep classes and that you’re taking key core requirements. Challenge yourself by taking rigorous or advanced courses, if possible.
Use Naviance as a research tool for college and career. Discuss your skills and interests with your guidance counselor. Create SMART Goals for yourself on Naviance.com
Keep track of academic and extracurricular awards, community service achievements, and anything else you participate in, so it will be easier to remember later. Think about volunteering, getting a job, or signing up for an enrichment program over the summer.
Taking the PSAT as a sophomore will help you prepare for the real thing next year. It also allows you to release your name to the colleges so you can start receiving information from them.
Work with your guidance counselor to make sure you’re enrolled in the courses you need to prepare you for college or a career. Remember that your grades affect your GPA and class rank, two factors that colleges consider in the admissions process. Stay focused on doing well in your classes.
Explore Naviance and get familiar with general college entrance requirements.
Stay involved in your extracurricular activities and work toward leadership positions in the activities you like best. Get involved in community service.
Complete the Career Interest Inventory on Naviance.
Meet with your guidance counselor to see what courses you still need to take. Check on your transcript and GPA. Even if your grades haven’t been that good so far, it’s never too late to improve. Colleges like to see an upward trend.
Taking the PSAT is a good way to practice for the SAT. It may also qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship program.
Find out if the colleges you are interested in require the SAT, ACT, or SAT Subject Tests. Register to take the tests you need. Most juniors take them in the spring of junior year, and then again in the fall of senior year.
Complete the Game Plan Survey on Naviance.
Make sure you have all the information you need about the colleges you’re interested in. Then begin comparing the schools by the factors that are most important to you and rank your choices.
Colleges look for consistency and depth in the non-academic activities you pursue. Taking on leadership roles and demonstrating commitment are important.
Meet with your counselor to determine what classes you’ll take next year and to make sure you’re on track for graduation. Colleges consider your senior year courses and grades, so stick with a schedule that challenges you.
Consider which teachers and/or guidance counselor you’d like to ask to write you a letter of recommendation. Ask teachers who know you well and who will have positive things to say about you.
Many colleges have open houses in the spring. Take a tour and speak with the admissions and financial aid staff.
Research the essay topics for the colleges you will be applying to, and compose rough drafts of the essays you will need.
Use the information you’ve gathered to decide which schools you will apply to. Think about choosing reach, target, and safety schools.
Colleges will look at what you have done in your senior year, so stay focused on doing well in your classes and maintaining a commitment to extracurricular activities.
Register for and take the ACT, SAT, or SAT Subject Tests as necessary. Be sure you request that your test scores be sent to the colleges of your choice by the testing agency.
Ask up to two teachers in person to write you a letter of recommendation. Send an official request to your teachers through Naviance.
There are lots of scholarships out there; you just need to spend a little bit of time and effort to find them. Use online scholarship search tools and Naviance to find scholarship options.
Finish your college applications. Be mindful of deadline dates. You should plan to submit everything before winter break.
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the application for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), the CSS Profile (if necessary), as well as any other financial forms the colleges you are applying to require.
If you applied under the regular application process, you should receive an admissions decision by March or April.
Make sure to consider each financial aid award carefully. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the financial aid office at the college to get more information.
Notify the college of your intent to enroll by May 1st.