Planning Timeline - Senior
Senior year is often an extremely busy time with schoolwork, activities, and special events. Be sure to stay on track with the college admissions process. Get organized, be aware of deadlines, and don’t procrastinate.
Continue to visit schools.
Fall is a great time to look at colleges because classes are in session, and you are better able to meet and talk with students and professors. You may even be able to sit in on a class or two.
Finalize your college list.
Use the information you’ve gathered from visits, interviews, and your own research to decide to which schools you will apply. It’s okay to apply to colleges that you think will be more difficult to get into. But it’s also important to put a few safety schools (where you’re sure you’ll get in) on your list. Talk to counselors, teachers, and parents about your final choices. Apply using Naviance, it is not time to put the colleges of choice in the “Colleges I’m Applying To” tab. From there you will be able to request transcripts, unofficial ACT and SAT scores, and etc.
Stay on track with your grades and cocurricular activities.
Colleges will look at what you’ve done in your senior year; so, stay focused on doing well in your classes and maintaining a commitment to other activities at the same time.
Take standardized tests.
Register for and take the ACT as soon as possible, if you haven’t yet taken it. Be sure you have requested (either by mail or online) that your test scores be sent to the colleges of your choice.
Keep track of deadlines.
You’ll be filling out lots of forms this year. It’s important to know what form is due when and where. Make a calendar showing the application deadlines for admission, financial aid, and scholarships.
Ask for letters of recommendation.
Give requests for recommendation letters to the teachers and others you have chosen, first verbally followed up with an electronic request via Naviance. Discuss your goals and ambitions with them so they’ll be more prepared to write about you.
Communicate with the Guidance Department
Your counselor can help you stay on track with admissions requirements. Documents required for college applications should be requested in Naviance. Please allow a week to process the requests, keep this in mind when looking at application deadlines.
Before submitting your application online, proofread and check carefully for accuracy. The Guidance office will complete the Counselor Recommendation Form and electronically send it along with unofficial test scores, recommendation letters, transcripts, essays and any other necessary materials. Make sure each college received ALL your application materials.
Continue your scholarship search.
Look at the list of scholarships in Naviance. Apply for scholarships with deadlines in mind, and keep searching for more scholarship and grant opportunities, www.fastweb.com. Ask colleges about what scholarships for which you may qualify. The downtime after applications have been sent is a great time to focus on financial aid.
Act on the results of early decision applications.
If you applied early decision, you’ll soon find out if you were accepted. If you get in, you likely have to withdraw your applications from other schools. If not, keep your other applications out there, and focus on those colleges.
Follow up on your applications.
Verify with your counselor that all forms are in order and have been sent out to colleges. Check with the schools to make sure they have received all your information, including test scores, transcripts, and recommendations.
Submit financial aid forms.
Request a PIN (www.fafsa.ed.gov), fill out the FAFSA online and, if necessary, the PROFILE. Help for doing so is available in the Guidance office. No matter what your family’s income level is, the FAFSA is your main priority for financial aid purposes because it will determine how much you’re expected to pay. Submit the information online as soon as possible on or after January 1. Some families enter year-old tax data and revise when previous tax year data becomes available. Later, review your Student Aid Report (SAR) from the U.S. Department of Education to see if corrections are necessary.
Send mid-year grade reports.
Ask the Guidance Office Assistant to send your mid-year grade reports to the colleges to which you applied. Remember that the schools will continue to keep track of your grades; so, it’s important to keep working hard throughout your senior year. “Senior-itis” may lead to your admission being canceled.
Watch your mail for notification from colleges.
If you applied under the regular application process, you should receive an admissions decision within 2-4 weeks. Notifications of financial aid awards should arrive by the end of April.
Check out your options if you’re put on a waitlist.
Being put on a waitlist is not a rejection. Keep watching your mail. You should receive a decision by May. In the meantime, keep your options open in case you don’t get in. Check out schools that have late or rolling application deadlines.
Compare financial aid packages.
Make sure to consider each financial aid award carefully. You can use Peterson’s Award Analyzer tool to enter your award information and easily calculate any unmet need for each school. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the financial aid office of the college to get more information. Financial aid is a key factor in deciding where you will attend and includes scholarships and grants, work-study, and loans (borrow as little as possible).
Prepare for any last standardized tests.
You may be taking AP or CLEP tests to earn some college credit as the school year winds down.
Make your final college decision.
Notify all schools of your intent by May 1. If you’re not sure which offer to accept, make one more campus visit to the schools you’re considering. Make sure to send your deposit to your chosen school and request your final transcript via Naviance.
Follow up on financial aid information.
Make sure you have received a FAFSA acknowledgment. If you were offered a Pell Grant, you will receive a Student Aid Report statement. Review this notice, make a copy for your records, and send the original to the college you plan to attend. If necessary, apply for loans.
Complete enrollment paperwork for the college you will attend.
Once you accept an offer, you should receive information from the college about course scheduling, orientation sessions, housing arrangements, and other necessary forms. Be sure to complete all required paperwork by the appropriate deadlines.
Congratulations! You’ve finished high school and are about to embark on an exciting new phase of life. Be confident that God will continue to guide and guard you in all your ways!