Senior Year

August/September

  • Register for the October/November SAT and/or SAT Subject Test, or October ACT.
  • Review college application deadlines and special application requirements.
  • Ask teachers, coaches, and employers to write a letter of recommendation.
  • Visit with guidance counselor to review list of colleges, making sure choices are appropriate for academic and personal requirements.
  • Update any personal records.
  • Visit Scholarships.com to conduct a free college scholarship search and to research financial aid.
  • Visit the public and high school library, bookstore, and the Internet to research any additional sources of scholarships and financial aid.
  • Plan visits, and set up interviews to those colleges not previously visited.
  • Submit applications for early decision/early action programs. Prepare applications for back-up choices.

October/November

  • Register for the December/January SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests, or December ACT.
  • Develop a schedule of admissions and financial aid deadlines.
  • Begin preparing your applications for regular admission. These applications are usually due by the end of December or early January.
  • If you submitted early decision applications, contact the admissions offices at those schools to make sure they have everything they need from you.
  • Visit Scholarships.com for college scholarships and financial aid information. Update personal profile information to include any changes or last minute additions.
  • Visit guidance counselor to make sure transcript and test scores have been sent to selected colleges.
  • Visit high school guidance office, bank or public library to inquire about scheduled financial aid presentations.

December/January

  • Early decision replies usually arrive between December 1st and December 31st.
  • Obtain all financial aid forms that may be required by intended colleges.
  • Visit Scholarships.com, update personal profile information to include any changes or last minute additions.
  • Obtain a Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) (available at high schools, colleges and libraries, or by calling 1-800-4-fed-aid. FAFSA is also available online--along with additional college information at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov). Complete, copy, and submit FAFSA (Don't wait for the deadline). Parents and students should compile income tax information and complete and file income tax returns early to complete the FAFSA application.
  • Check to determine if any other financial aid forms are required.
  • Contact the admissions office of the college(s) to which you have applied to make sure that your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you.

February/March

  • Make sure that all required financial aid forms have been submitted.
  • Many private scholarships have March 1 application deadlines. Visit Scholarships.com to update your personal profile information, apply for any new scholarship awards discovered.
  • If required, send copies of income tax returns to financial aid offices.
  • Receive Student Aid Report (SAR). This should occur approximately 2-3 weeks after you submit FAFSA. Contact school's financial aid office to ask if they need a copy of the SAR.
  • Monitor all applications, and make sure that all materials have been completed, sent and received on time.

April/May

  • Take the Advanced Placement exams for any AP subjects you've taken in high school.
  • Sign and return financial aid forms.
  • Receive admissions notifications and compare financial aid packages. Send any required deposits prior to their due date.
  • Make your acceptance choice. Find out what deposits you will be required to make to ensure your place in the freshman class.
  • Send final transcript and student loan applications to chosen college. Contact financial aid office to check status.
  • Visit Scholarships.com.

June/July

  • Complete any remaining financial aid forms.
  • Contact the school you will be attending to determine when fees for tuition, room, and board are due and how much they are.
  • Pay all college bills due.
  • Visit Scholarships.com, it's never too early to look for next year.

August

  • During the summer before your freshman year, you should participate in any summer orientation program for incoming freshmen.
  • Make any necessary arrangements for any medical exams or health insurance coverage.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

PBS Airs Documentary About Higher Ed in Prison

September 18, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

Photo credit: Jared Ames

A new PBS documentary exhibiting prison education, titled "College Behind Bars" is set to air on November 25 and 26. The four-part series documents the journeys of dozens of incarcerated men and women as they pursue college degrees in the Bard Prison Initiative - deemed one of the most rigorous prison education programs in the United States, according to Inside Higher Ed. [...]

$43M in Loans Forgiven for Students of Closed Colleges

September 6, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

The federal government discharged more than $43 million in student loan debt for former students of recently closed for-profit colleges. Students who attended programs operated by Education Corporation of America, Dream Center Education Holdings, Vatterott College and Charlotte School of Law will be able to qualify for a full discharge of their federal loans if they were enrolled when their college closed or withdrew within 120 days of the official closure date and didn’t transfer to another institution, according to Inside Higher Education. [...]

College Board Backpedals - No Adversity Score to be Added

August 30, 2019

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

College Board is ditching its previous plan to capture socioeconomic information from students with a single score - also known as an "adversity score" - when scoring their SAT college admissions test. The score would have taken into account a student's socioeconomic background and the neighborhood in which they grew up. [...]