Get Prepared

When it comes to college planning, it may seem like there are a million things to think about, but don't worry. Whether you're a student or parent, the following college planning timelines will keep you on track and in the know throughout high school.

August - December

  • Contact your school counselor - your counselor plays a big role in helping you get into college. Meet to talk about your college plans and review your transcript.
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities to improve your teamwork and leadership skills. Create and/or update your Activities Resume for use with admissions and scholarship applications.
  • Finish your college visits and narrow your selection to 3-4 schools.
  • Organize materials into separate files by college.
  • Consider taking the ACT and/or SAT to improve your test score. Colleges use your top score when awarding college-based scholarships. Make sure your scores are sent to each of your colleges.
  • Apply for admission to your top 3-4 colleges - be sure to apply before the college's deadline.
  • Apply for scholarships; be sure to visit EducationQuest to start your search.
  • Ask your guidance counselor about other local awards.
  • Apply for college-based scholarships.
  • Visit free, online scholarship sites to apply for national scholarships.


  • Try to wrap up college applications before winter break. Make copies of each application before you send it.
  • Contact the financial aid office at the colleges on your list to see what financial aid forms they require.
  • Visit and explore FAFSA. Make sure to request your pin number for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Visit the "Completing the FAFSA" section at EducationQuest for free tools to help you prepare.

January - March

  • Have your counselor send your first-semester grades to colleges that require a mid-year grade report or colleges with late academic scholarship deadlines.
  • Contact your colleges and confirm that all necessary application materials have been received.
  • Apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Continue to perform well in school and don't get seniorits; colleges want to see strong second-semester grades.
  • Register for AP Exams you want to take in May.
  • Read carefully any admission decisions that arrive this month; some may require action on your part.


  • Compare the financial aid award letters that arrive this month and make a final decision.
  • Mail the enrollment form and deposit check to the college you select before the May 1 enrollment deadline (for most colleges).
  • Notify all colleges applied to with your final decision.


  • If you take any AP Exams, make sure your AP score report is sent to your college.
  • Request final high school transcripts are sent to chosen college.

June - July

  • Make sure to sign up for first-year orientation.
  • Plan your first-semester courses. Choose subjects that interest you and may become your college major.