College Checklist for Junior and Senior Students in High School


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If your or your child is in 11th or 12th grade of high school, consult this comprehensive checklist of important things to keep in mind in order to prepare for a post-secondary education.

Also see our general high school checklist (including separate lists for those in 9th and 10th grades). We also have separate checklists for parents, and for middle school/junior high students.

Fall, 11th Grade

  • Ask your counselor if you should take advanced math and college prep English and other college prep courses, such as chemistry or physics, or social science. Do your best to earn A’s and B’s.
  • Sign up to take the PSAT (practice or pre-SAT) in October.
  • Narrow your list of colleges. Tour campuses of the colleges you are interested in attending.
  • Go to college fairs. See your counselor for dates and locations.

Winter, 11th Grade

  • Register for the SAT and/or the ACT six to eight weeks in advance. Ask your counselor if you're eligible for an SAT fee waiver.
  • Meet with college representatives that come to your school.

Spring, 11th Grade

  • Continue college visits.
  • Take the SAT.
  • Begin looking for scholarships. Your counselor will have information on some available scholarships. Provident Credit Union is one resource.
  • Review your senior class schedule with a counselor. Find out if additional honors, AP or community college courses are beneficial. Community college classes are much less expensive.
  • Look for summer jobs, courses and volunteer opportunities.

Summer, 11th Grade

  • Determine application deadlines for your colleges of interest, as well as admission requirements and financial aid.
  • Make a checklist of what each college needs (e.g., personal statement, transcript and letters of recommendation).
  • Draft your personal statement/entrance essay.
  • Create a calendar of important dates and deadlines for the upcoming year.
  • If you plan to re-take the SAT or ACT in the fall, register for the test as soon as possible.

Fall, 12th Grade

  • Meet with your counselor to make sure you are still on track for graduation and to fulfill admission requirements.
  • Ask your English teacher to review your personal statement/entrance essay and give feedback.
  • Request letters of recommendation. Good references are teachers, or other adults who know you well. Provide a stamped, addressed envelope and any other information they will need.
  • Re-take you’re SAT or ACT if needed.
  • Double-check deadlines for college applications and financial aid and submit applications as needed. Have someone you trust—parent, teacher, counselor—review your applications.
  • Maintain or improve your G.P.A. Schools may rescind acceptance if your G.P.A. falls too low.

Winter, 12th Grade

  • Check for scholarship deadlines. Some are due as early as December.
  • Apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in January. Visit the FAFSA website for specific deadlines. Enlist the help of your parent or guardian.
  • Verify financial aid deadlines. Most are due in February.
  • Sign up for summer orientation or summer bridge programs at a college you are interested in attending. Visit the college’s website for availability and dates.
  • Maintain or improve your G.P.A. Schools may rescind acceptance if your G.P.A. falls too low.

Spring, 12th Grade

  • Time to start watching for college acceptance letters and notice of financial awards!
  • Review your college acceptances and compare their financial aid packages.
  • If you haven’t yet visited the campuses of colleges that have accepted you and you’re not certain where you want to go, consider visiting them to help you with the decision.
  • If you're on a waiting list of a college you want to attend, let admissions office know you are still interested.
  • Once you’ve decided on a college, send notification of your decision and ask about the deadline and amount of any required deposit. It’s also a good idea to let any other colleges that accepted you that you won’t be attending.
  • If you’ve decided to attend community college, apply to the college of your choice.
  • Maintain or Improve your G.P.A. Schools may rescind acceptance if your G.P.A. falls too low.

Before Graduation or Shortly Afterwards

  • Make sure your transcript is sent to the school you've chosen.

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