High School Seniors
College Planning Checklist
Check off each item as you complete each suggestion.
√ Meet with your guidance counselor as soon as possible to review admission requirements for each college to which you are applying. Review your transcript to confirm that you have taken all of the required classes for each school.Discuss what classes you should take in the fall in order to maximize your chances of being accepted at those schools.
√ Talk to your counselor about local scholarship opportunities.
√ Request applications, brochures, and financial aid information from the admission offices of the colleges to which you are applying. Visit each school’s website.
√ Make campus visits to as many of the colleges on your list as possible this fall. To get a feel for the campus first view www.ecampustours.com, then take a personal visit, talk to students, take a tour, sit in on a class and try to stay overnight in a dorm. Be sure to schedule an admissions interview and meet with a financial aid officer.
√ Request application materials for targeted scholarships and grants, and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for each program.
√ It’s time for you to ask teachers, counselors, coaches, and other mentors to write recommendation letters.
√ Work on college application essays.
√ Some colleges and scholarship programs require the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE application. Visit the college board to submit your application online. (There is a fee associated with this service.)
√ Review your completed school and scholarship applications and essays to make sure they’re error-free and clear. You may want to have another person review them, too. Note that many scholarship application deadlines are in December.
√ Complete and send in college applications and scholarship applications this month.
√ Gather necessary documentation to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after January 1. Complete the FAFSA online at studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa. Get help tackling the FAFSA.
√ Male students who will be 18 at the time they complete the FAFSA must register with Selective Service.
√ Avoid senioritis and stay focused.
√ Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. Complete the FAFSA online at studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.
√ Colleges like to see strong second semester grades, keep your grades up.
√ Most priority financial aid deadlines fall in February. If you’ve not done so, complete the necessary aid forms, including FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE. Keep copies of everything that you send.
√ Shortly after you have filed your FAFSA, you will receive the Student Aid Report (SAR). Review it for accuracy. Make corrections if necessary and file.
√ Start looking for a summer opportunity — either a job, internship or volunteer opportunity. Real-world experience can give you a preview of careers in which to be interested.
√ Most admission decisions and financial aid award letters arrive this month. You should read each carefully, and note all reply deadlines.
Send the enrollment form and deposit check to the college you will attend.
√ Notify the other colleges to which you were accepted of your decision.
√ If wait-listed by a college, contact the admission director to reiterate your interest in the school.
√ Concentrate on studying for May AP Exams. You can earn credit or advanced placement at many colleges with a qualifying grade.
√ AP Exams are administered the first two weeks in May. You should have your scores sent to your final-choice college.
√ If it will be difficult for your family to pay the Expected Family Contribution for the semester, it’s time to start pursuing alternatives such as parent loans to close the financial aid gap.
√ Taking SAT Subject Tests may enable you to place out of freshman academic requirements or place in advanced classes.
√ Send thank-you notes to teachers and other mentors who wrote you recommendations.
√ Finalize your summer plans.
√ Send thank-you notes to scholarship programs that gave you aid.
√ A final transcript should be sent to your college.
√ Notify the financial aid office of about any scholarships you have been offered.
√ Relax and enjoy your summer. You’ve earned it!
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