High school juniors can get a head start in meeting requirements for college admission by using the Spring and Summer months to do research and accomplish the tasks involved in the process. The following timeline can be useful in getting students organized so that senior year is less hectic for them and their families.
Register to take the SAT and/or ACT as required by your colleges of interest.
Take Advanced Placement (AP) exams and SAT Subject Tests as needed.
Create a resume that documents your goals and interests, academic record, activities and experiences. Aspiring art students should prepare portfolios that showcase their work.
Conduct a college search online and meet with admissions counselors who are visiting your high school. Have your questions ready concerning majors, residential/student life, recreation/sports, transportation, etc.
Plan to attend a college fair and collect printed information about the colleges and universities that are represented.
Meet with your high school counselor to discuss your career and educational plans for the future and learn the counselor’s role in the college admission process.
Students who are considering applying to service/military academies or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Scholarship Programs must begin the application process the summer before senior year. Visit the counseling office for more information.
Student athletes who hope to play NCAA college sports and receive a scholarship at the Division I (DI) or Division II (DII) level need to register and be cleared by the NCAA. Transcripts and test scores must be sent by your high school and test center. See your school counselor for assistance before leaving for summer vacation.
Get your Financial Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to use in the Fall when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Keep the FSA ID in a secure place for future use.
Visit colleges and request tours and interviews with admissions counselors. Some colleges require interviews as part of the admissions process. Future music and drama students may be required to schedule auditions with faculty members at various colleges.
Go online or download college applications to fill out in preparation for Fall and Winter deadlines. Check out the Common Application that is used by many colleges at www.commonapp.org.
Write and polish college essays that will be submitted with the applications. Be sure to respond to the specific writing prompts for each college.
Take ACT and SAT exams as required by your choice of colleges. Arrange to have test scores sent to colleges.
Meet with college admissions counselors that visit your high school. Be sure to provide them with your resume.
Fill out and submit college applications and essays by required deadlines. There are November deadlines for early admission.
Request reference letters from your school counselor and teachers. Arrange to have these sent to the colleges along with copies of your transcript. Watch for deadlines.
Attend a financial aid event with your parents to learn about the different types of financial aid and the various application processes. High school counselors and college financial aid experts will provide important information concerning the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile.
After October 1, 2018, fill out and submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile (if required). Go to fafsa.ed.gov and profile.collegeboard.org for more information.
Research and apply for scholarships for which you meet the specific qualifications.
Review all college admission and financial aid offers in choosing a college. May 1, 2019 is the deadline for seniors to formally accept an offer of college admission and send in the deposit. Do not miss this deadline.
Hatfield is a certified school counselor who worked in Maine high schools for 20 years before her retirement. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and the American College Counseling Association.