College Preparation Timeline


    • Do your best in school.  If you are having difficulty - seek out help from a teacher, tutor, counselor or mentor.
    • Become involved in school or community based extracurricular activities that enable you to explore your interests, meet new people and learn new things.   


    • Take challenging classes in core academic subjects.
    • Take electives that align with your potential career and/or college major.
    • Investigate the foreign language requirements of the schools and programs you are interested in.  Many colleges require a minimum of 2 years of a foreign language, while some require more.     
    • Stay involved in school or community-based extracurricular activities that interest you or enable you to explore career interests.  Consider volunteering.  Remember - it is the quality, not just the quantity, of your activities that matters.
    • Keep a record of your activities and honors/awards.  This will be helpful when you develop an activities resume your senior year.


    • Meet with your school counselor to review graduation requirements and the various resources available in the counseling office.  Discuss with him/her course weight and what classes would be best for you to select for next year.
    • Work diligently in your classes.  Your high school cumulative grade point average and class rank begin to accrue now.   
    • If you would like to do interest inventories or career assessments, they are available through our school's SmartFuture program. SmartFutures is available from any computer that has access to the internet. If you would like assistance with this, please see your school counselor for more details.     
    • If you are considering athletics in high school and college, review the NCAA clearinghouse requirements regarding your high school curriculum. 


    • Make an appointment with your school counselor to discuss your interests, strengths, colleges, careers, and college requirements.
    • Explore the web sites listed on the counselor's recommended links.    
    • Explore SmartFutures with its available interest and career inventories, college search features and occupation information.
    • Consider taking the PSAT Exam in October of your 10th grade year.


    • Take the PSAT in October.  
    • Register for and take exams for college admission. Most colleges accept the SAT or the ACT. Check with the colleges you are interested in to see what tests they require.   
    • Research colleges that interest you. Research colleges using SmartFutures or College Board
    • Investigate financial aid including scholarships. There are some scholarships which are exclusively for juniors.
    • Attend college open house dates.
    • Schedule college visits.


  • Summer
    • Narrow down the list of colleges that you are interested in attending. If possible, visit any of those schools which you have not already seen.
    • Access the college applications for admission on the college website. Research information about financial aid, admission requirements and deadlines. 
    • Decide whether you are going to apply under a particular college's early decision or early action program. Be sure to learn about the program deadlines and requirements.
    • Meet with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements.
    • If you have not done so already or if you desire another chance to improve your score, register for and take exams such as the SAT or the ACT. 
    • Develop an activities resume in SmartFutures.
    • Apply to the colleges you have chosen. Prepare your applications carefully, follow directions closely, and pay close attention to deadlines.  
    • Well before your application deadline(s), ask your teachers or counselor to write your letter of recommendation. 
    • Research scholarships. A list of scholarships are available on the Counseling website.
    • Complete any scholarship applications with early deadlines.
    • As soon as possible, after October 1, complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) along with any other financial aid applications your schools of choice may require. Complete the FAFSA at
    • You should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within 1-4 weeks after submitting the FAFSA.  Quickly review it and make any necessary corrections and submit them to the FAFSA processor.
    • If you have not done so already, complete the FAFSA.
    • Complete scholarship applications.
    • Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll.
    • Review your college acceptances and compare financial aid packages.
    • When you decide which school you want to attend, notify that school of your commitment and submit any required financial deposit.  Many schools require this notification and deposit by May 1st.
    • Notify other colleges where you were accepted that you have chosen to attend elsewhere.  This is helpful for students who may have been "wait-listed" at that school.