Does the thought of all those decisions, applications and deadlines make your head spin? Don’t panic! Here’s everything you need to know to help you deal:
- Do your research. Visit prospective colleges.
- Research admissions and merit scholarship requirements at each school.
- Register for the September ACT/SAT.
- Make some files and get organized.
- Create a file for each college to hold information and forms.
- Create a resume including academic achievements, extracurriculars, community service & awards, work history.
- If any of your schools require an essay, start it now.
- Request recommendation letters. Provide a copy of your resume and a deadline. Follow up, and don’t forget to send thank you notes to the teachers/coaches/mentors who provide them.
- Create online accounts for requesting/sending electronic copies of your high school transcript to colleges (Parchment.com allows you to send transcripts for $10.50 each).
- Make a calendar for admissions and scholarship deadlines for each school.
- Begin applications for schools with early decision/rolling admissions according to each school’s deadline. Don’t forget to send transcripts and SAT/ACT scores; your application won’t be processed until all documents are received!
- Register for the December SAT/ACT. Make sure to have these scores sent directly to colleges to which you are applying!
- File your FAFSA, even if you do not think you will qualify for federal financial aid; some schools require it for scholarship consideration.
- Check in with housing; some schools with limited space fill up, so send deposits early to secure your dorm choice. This may mean sending in deposits to multiple schools if you have not yet decided where you will attend in the fall.
- Keep applying!
- Check medical requirements for your schools and get required vaccinations.
- Avoid senioritis! Colleges have been known to revoke acceptance if your grades fall, so be sure to stay on track. See “Finishing Strong” on page 29.
- The 1st of May is decision day! If you haven’t chosen your school yet, today is the deadline.
- Take AP exams for senior AP courses.
- Don’t forget to send your final transcript!
- Keep copies of everything! College applications, financial aid applications, essays…you never know when you may be asked to resend documents, so have them ready!
When should I expect to receive my acceptance letter?
For early decision applications, you can expect to hear back sometime around mid-December.
For rolling admissions, letters are usually sent out 6-8 weeks after applying.
Regular admissions deadlines are typically around the first of the year, and those letters are
sent out March through April.
For more help, download our CollegeOrganizer forms from the download section at