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Senior Year College Applications Timeline - What should I be doing and when?

Senior Year of high school can carry a lot of pressure! Enjoy all of the "lasts" - homecoming, football games, theatre, music performances....but also prepare for the next steps after graduation. If you are heading to college you might worry that you are behind on something - applications, letters of recommendation, college visits. It's not too late to do all the things. And if you've already started your college search, good for you! Here is a timeline to help you get organized and stay on track.

August - October

  • Update your resume - this is helpful for your own records as you complete the Common App, individual school applications, or scholarship applications. It is also helpful to provide to teachers for recommendation letters.

  • Finalize your college list and determine the application deadline for each school.(many of these are November 1st or December 1st if you want to be considered for scholarships)

  • Consider creating a spreadsheet to keep track of what each college requires and what steps you have completed. The College Essay Guy offers a free template and you can find it here.

  • Still exploring possible majors and colleges/ Consider meeting with True Compass to complete our assessments and have a discussion about what careers are best-fits for you.

  • Keep visiting schools if needed!

  • Complete the Common App and/or individual school applications. The Common App will let you know what your prospective college requires in terms of essays and recommendation letters.

  • Check with your school counselors about how to send official transcripts to each school!

  • Apply for scholarships! Check your high school website for local scholarships, check your prospective university for scholarships. Some offer automatic merit, some require a separate application

  • Ask for letters of recommendation as needed - many schools do not require this, but some competitive schools will ask for them. You may also need a letter of recommendation if you are applying for scholarships.

November - December

  • Continue applying to scholarships throughout the year - checking your high school website for deadlines.

  • Consider signing a housing contract for more than one school if you are undecided. Many schools ask for a residence hall contract and deposit in the fall. This will hold your place for room selection in the spring. Most of this deposit is refundable so if you haven’t made your final decision, you can still get on the list for dorm selection and cancel your contract by the spring deadline!

  • Waiting to hear from schools? Check with admissions offices if you have not heard by January.

February - April

  • Check with your school about enrollment deposits, housing deadlines and make final decisions. Competitive schools will not make decisions until April 1st.

  • Evaluate acceptance letters and financial aid offers to aid in your final decision

  • Continue checking for scholarship opportunities - many have spring deadlines!

  • If you’ve decided, pay the enrollment and follow your school’s instructions for housing, etc! Orientation and class enrollment will happen in the summer - be on the lookout to register for this.

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