Checklist for College Bound Seniors

Well college bound seniors, this is it – the home stretch! There are just a handful of important things to do each month before you graduate. Make sure you don’t miss any of them.
Good luck, you’ve got this!

If you didn’t do this stuff as a junior, tackle these things first:

  • Figure out who your guidance counselor is and his favorite snack from the school’s vending machine.
  • Bring your guidance counselor his favorite snack and introduce yourself. Schedule a meeting to discuss your college plan. On average, there are going to be about 400 students competing for his time and he won’t be able to help them all. He will, however, help the student who brought him a Snickers bar.
  • Smile! You just took the first step towards getting into the school of your dreams.
  • Make friends with a couple of teachers. You’re going to need recommendations when you’re applying to college and the best recommendations come from teachers who know you.
  • Join something – You’re going to need some stuff for your college resume. If you have even the slightest idea of what you want to study in college, join a club that relates to that major. Colleges like to see relevant extracurricular activities on your resume.

August/September:

  • Get excited! This is going to be the best school year of your life!
  • Have that meeting you set-up with your guidance counselor. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to fulfill college admissions requirements.
  • Register to take the SAT or ACT in October or November. If you’ve already taken it, take it again. Hopefully you crushed it the first time, but if you didn’t, the statistics show you’ll do better this time. If you need extra help, go to How to Get Into College. You’ll find resources there to assist you with all aspects of the tests.
  • If you haven’t already, order Turbo Admissions by TAP Into College. This video tutorial will help you put together an amazing college application faster and easier then you ever imagined.
  • Take a look at a college application and begin to think about what you are going to write about for your essay. Brainstorm with trusted adults and close friends who really know you and have them help you figure out your keywords.
  • Start looking into financial aid options if you will need them.

October:

  • If you have your heart set on a particular school, now is the time to start the application process for early admissions. Most are due at the end of October/beginning of November.
  • If you are applying for early admissions, it’s time to speak with the teachers you’ve befriended about writing you a letter of recommendation. Do this as early as possible so that they have time to put together a stellar letter.
  • Take the SAT or ACT again before senioritis sets in. You don’t want this test hanging over your head through the holidays and into spring.
  • Review your early admissions application. Make sure you don’t have any typos. There is a big difference between writing, “I’m from a small town outside of Chicago.” And saying, “I’m form a small town outside of Chicago.” Spell-checker won’t pick it up but an admissions officer will.
  • Go trick-or-treating.

November:

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  • Wrap up your college search and begin to make a list of schools where you’ll be applying. Have a couple of “safety schools,” a couple of “match schools” and a couple of “reach schools.”
  • If you’re completing a regular decision application, now is the time to hit up your teachers for those letters of recommendation. Do this as early as possible so that they have time to craft a remarkable letter about you.
  • Try to enjoy Thanksgiving.

December:

  • It’s time to get to work on your regular decision applications. Some schools have deadlines as early as January 1st. Make sure you know everything that each school will need in order for you to fulfill their application requirements.
  • As you work on your applications, have your parents start to work on the financial aid packages from the schools.
  • Meet with you guidance counselor again. Make sure you know how your transcripts and test scores are going to get to the colleges you’ll be applying to. Different schools have different procedures.
  • Start to go over your Federal Student Aid paperwork.
  • Send off your amazing, well-packaged applications to the schools with January deadlines.

 January:

  • Make sure you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It’s due by February 1st.
  • Send off your amazing, well-packaged applications to the schools with February deadlines.

February, March and April:

  • Watch the mailbox, open acceptance letters and try not to stress.
  • Select which college you will be attending in the fall and celebrate!
  • Do something nice for all the people who helped you during the application process.

May: 

  • Send off your deposits to make sure you’ve secured your spot.
  • No matter where you choose to go to college, get excited! Life is about to get awesome!
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