High School Seniors

Your senior year is your final opportunity to prepare for your college education. Be certain you have an adequate filing system and calendar to keep track of your college applications and applicable paperwork or attachments. Being organized will make the process much easier and less stressful. Be certain you have scored your best effort on the ACT and/or SAT to submit with your college application(s), and if not, consider retaking them. Glance back over the freshman, sophomore and junior timelines on this webpage to be certain you haven't missed any critical steps in the college planning process.

Senior Year Checklist

  • Write an early draft of a college and/or scholarship application essay over the summer or early in the fall. You will need time to refine your college essays. Have others critique the initial draft you compose.

  • Continue a solid college prep curriculum. Your senior year schedule and performance will be important in college admission decisions.

  • Register for and take the fall ACT and/or SAT and Subject Tests (if needed).

  • Utilize free test preparation resources available online and elsewhere, such as the SAT and ACT web sites' free practice tests, and sites focusing specifically on college entrance preparation, such as www.number2.com and www.march2success.com.

  • Continue college visits; narrow down college options. Make sure you take advantage of overnight visits at the colleges you are seriously considering.

  • Some colleges require an admission interview, to determine if the college is a good match for you. In an interview, you may be asked some of the following open-ended questions: tell us about yourself, why you are interested in the school, what is your proposed major in college. Don't go to an interview unprepared. Be on time and dress appropriately.

  • Complete and mail college and scholarship applications, paying close attention to deadlines. Be aware of special admission options such as Early Decision and Early Action.

  • It's a good idea to apply to at least one college to which you have a very good chance of being admitted. While there is certainly nothing wrong with applying to your dream school, don't limit your postsecondary options by only applying to highly competitive schools.

  • Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you plan to play sports at a Division I or II college (if you haven't done so already).

  • Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1. You can file online at FAFSA.

  • Be sure to attend the financial aid workshop offered at your high school, or at a nearby site, to receive help with completing the FAFSA. Submit any other financial aid forms required by the college(s) you may attend and check to be sure the college(s) you are still seriously considering do not have earlier dates by which any of the financial aid-related forms must be filed.

  • Review the Student Aid Report (SAR) and financial aid award packages from the colleges you applied to, after submitting the FAFSA and receiving your results.

  • Start thinking about your college major field of study. Consider: 1) what are your specific interests and 2) are you preparing for a specific field or job. Determining a major is an important decision that will be influenced by the life and career you want to build after you leave college. Research your choices, be honest with yourself, and seek wise counsel to help ensure you make the right, successful decision.

  • Make onsite visits to your final college choices and meet with admissions and financial aid.

  • Submit the enrollment deposit to the college you plan to attend by May 1 (National Candidate Reply Date), or other date as designated by the college.

  • Register for and complete AP tests for any AP courses you are taking your senior year.

  • The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams test mastery of college-level material acquired in a variety of ways - through general academic instructions, significant independent study or extracurricular work. Many colleges will grant credit to students that meet their minimum qualifying score, which varies by school.

  • File any necessary loan paperwork, housing information, etc. that may be required by the school you plan to attend.

  • Attend the on-campus orientation/registration sessions offered to students and parents at the college you will attend.

  • Continue to save for college. Every family must contribute towards the cost of attending college. Although your college years will begin next fall, remember that anything you can put away now will be welcomed assistance when the time comes.