There’s an old Chinese saying that goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But no matter how unsure you feel taking that first step, every single one after that will be a little easier. It also helps if you have a plan to follow through your senior year—and here it is.
Senior Year Timeline: August
Sign up for the ACT or SAT if you didn’t take it as a junior, or if you aren’t satisfied with your score. Review your test results and retest if necessary.
Senior Year Timeline: August to December
- Visit with your school counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements. Consider taking courses at a local university or community college.
- Keep working hard all year; second semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility. Also, getting bad grades can result in a campus rescinding their admission offer.
- Ask for personal references from teachers, school counselors, or employers early in the year or at least two weeks before application deadline.
- Follow your school’s procedure for requesting recommendations.
- Visit with admissions counselors who come to your high school.
- Attend a college fair.
- Begin your college essay(s).
- Apply for admission at the colleges you’ve chosen. Have an adult review it before you submit it.
- Start the financial aid application process.
- See your school counselor for help finding financial aid and scholarships.
Senior Year Timeline: January to May
- If you need it, get help completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
- Ask your guidance office in January to send first semester transcripts to schools where you applied. In June, they will need to send final transcripts to the college you will attend.
- Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll.
- Decide which college to attend, and notify the school of your decision.
- Keep track of and observe deadlines for sending in all required fees and paperwork.
- Notify schools you will not attend of your decision.
- Continue to look for scholarship opportunities.
- Keep track of important financial aid and scholarship deadlines.
- Watch for your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a report of the information you submitted on your FAFSA.
- Compare financial aid packages from different schools.
- Sign and send in a promissory note if you are borrowing money.
- Notify your college about any outside scholarships you received.
Senior Year Timeline: June to August
- Make sure your final transcript is sent to the school you will be attending.
- Getting a summer job can help pay some of your college expenses.
- Make a list of what you will need to take with you for your dorm room.
- If you haven’t met your roommate, contact him or her to get acquainted in advance.
- Make sure housing documentation is quickly accessible when you move into the dorm.
- Learn how to get around at your new school. Review a campus map.
- Wait until after your first class meeting to buy your books and supplies.