Summer Before Senior Year
Start the preliminary phases of college admissions
Guaranteed you have thought about which colleges you want to apply to for a long time. Make sure you know when all the deadlines are for applications and also what applications and materials you will need to start collecting.
Ask for letter of recommendation
You want to keep a list of people that can provide you a recommendation as early as Freshman year. You want to make sure you don’t leave anyone out as the more people you have on your side the better.
Personal essay or personal statement
Most colleges read every singe essay that comes across their desk, this is your time to shine! You want to make sure the admission committee gets to know you on a more personal level. Keep notes about the things you do throughout high school and the accomplishments you reach as when you look back you don’t want to leave anything out.
Explore their websites to learn admissions requirements
This is very important as every school is different. You want to make sure you know when every deadline is and that you know everything that is required. Missing something will not be a good first impression.
Request an application
Make sure you have an application well in advance so you can begin this process early and not let is eat you alive.
Required courses you’ll need for enrollment
You really need to start looking at this as early as freshman year as many classes are going to need a prerequisite and you are going to need to know that early so you can take the necessary classes so everything lines up like you want.
October through January
Meet with your school’s guidance counselor for assistance
Sometimes this can be a hidden gym. You counselor is there is guide you along this journey. Many schools now have a college room in which they have personal advisors and information that is super helpful.
College essay is in tip-top shape
Make sure when writing this you go through several rounds of edits. It doesn’t hurt to pay someone to look over it for you and provide you with some feedback, you could receive more money back in scholarships for a good essay so it could totally be worth it.
Request your high school transcript
Sometimes people think this process is easy and it will be quick. It doesn’t always happen that way and you don’t want this to hold up your application process. Order this in enough time to give yourself some wiggle room.
Send your ACT or SAT scores
Make sure you are only sending in your best score. If you have taken it several times to get the best score that is ok as they will only be sending the best one in.
Early decision deadlines
If you are looking into early decision make sure you know all the requirements that go with it and also all the rules as they can be lengthy at some schools.
Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as January 1st
Why not apply for free money, the worst thing they can say is no and then you are in the same boat as you started. Get use to requesting money from places you never know what you may receive.
February through April
Avoid contracting senioritis
Many students love to slack off their senior year and take easy classes, I have to admit I was one of these students. Learn from my mistakes that is not the best thing to do. Colleges want to see what course load you took your senior year. You wont be able to submit your final grades from senior year when you apply so they will be looking at course load and your essay so make these count!
Keep track of all acceptance letters, rejection letters, and wait lists
Create a folder (paper or on the computer) where you keep track of everything., There may be a time you will need it again and it would be really nice if it was easy to pull from.
Don’t wish to attend, notify them promptly as a courtesy
If you know you aren’t going to attend somewhere that has accepted you, let them know. You are holding a spot that could be offered to someone else. Colleges are use to this so don’t feel bad just let them know so they can offer that spot to someone else.
Acceptance letters Compare financial aid packages
When you do get accepted to a college look at what is being offered to you. financial aid is a big deal to many and this is something that doesn’t need to be overlooked. Some colleges will offer you more.
Make sure you keep everything together and easy to find. Last thing you want is for the college to request something and it takes you a week to find it. Starting off being organized and having a plan for everything will help you going forward.