The Admissions Process: Advice for High-School Seniors

September

  • Work hard and keep your grades up. Colleges look unfavorably at falling grades and light or reduced loads during the senior year.
  • Register to take the October SAT and ACT. (Check your counseling office for fall testing deadlines.)
  • Continue meeting with your college representatives when they visit your school and college fairs in your area (through October and November).
  • Set up a chart or checklist for each school where you’re planning to apply. Note all application deadlines (including early action deadlines) and create columns where you can check off steps in the application process as you complete them.
  • Be sure you fill out not only the required application(s) for admission but also any applications required to be considered for scholarships at your selected colleges. Applications for scholarships are different from the financial aid form (FAFSA).

October-November

  • Take the SAT-I again.
  • Begin filling out applications and submit them by the deadlines you noted in your checklist.
  • Request that your high-school transcript(s) be sent to the colleges where you’re applying.
  • Continue working on unfinished college applications.

December

  • Take SAT-II Subject Exams and/or the ACT.
  • You should try to submit all your college applications before the winter break.

January

  • Submit the financial aid form (FAFSA). This form may not be completed until Jan. 1.
  • Take SAT-II Subject Exams if you have not already done so.

February

  • Ask your counselor to send your first semester’s grades to the college where you have applied.
  • Meet the FAFSA (financial aid) form submission deadline.

 March-April

  • Keep track of acceptances and awards of financial aid on your checklist.
  • As soon as you have made your decision, reply promptly to all colleges whether you plan to enroll or not. This includes replying to awards of financial aid.
  • Visit campuses again if you still aren’t sure of your final decision.

May

  • May 1 is National Candidates Reply Date. Most colleges expect you to notify them of your decision by this date.

June

  • Ask your counselor to send your final grades to the college you have chosen to attend.