Action Plan for High School Seniors
The senior year in high school is a prime spot along the college preparation path. It is usually at this point that a student must finally choose which university or college they will attend, make sure they have been accepted by the school, consider financial options to pay for school, as well as other choices.
It should also be a wonderful time for celebration. There will be plenty of opportunities to spend time with friends at sporting events, dances, parties and other places. However, this is not the time to rest on your laurels and slack up on your studies. Continue to focus on finishing up your studies and making the best you can of every single class.
August to October
- Go to college fairs and contact students at the college that are former students from your high school. Ask them if you can chat with them about college life.
- Narrow down your choices of college to approximately 5 or 6 schools. Sit down with your guidance counselor and make a chart of the deadlines for school application as well as entrance exam dates. Pick a couple of “dream” schools as well as a few “safe” choices.
- Register for the upcoming entrance exams, either the SAT or ACT depending on the school of your choice. Register for the early sessions, such as the October or November tests. This gives you a chance to take the test again in March or April if your scores are not to your liking.
- Get letters of recommendations from various teachers.
- Take a trip and visit the colleges that interest you the most.
- Start applying online and completing any necessary essays. Make sure to have either a teacher or counselor to review the essays before submitting them.
- If you are trying to apply for the early decision process (ED) also called early action (EA) get all of your documents in order: Entrance exam scores, school transcripts, and application. Most schools require this information no later than November 15.
- Determine if the school you have chosen requires any specific financial aid documents and complete those.
November to February
- Go over your list of schools and appropriate deadlines.
- Complete the college entrance exam if you have not already done so.
- Finish up any applications online and follow up with your high school to make sure that your transcripts were forwarded. The majority of applications must be submitted from November 1 to March 1.
- If any of the colleges request your grades from the first semester, get in touch with your counselor and ask that your information is forwarded along.
- Call or email to confirm each college has received all necessary application documents.
- Finish up with any local college applications as well as any local scholarship opportunities.
March to May
- Most of the decisions from schools will arrive all the way up until the first part of May. Look over the acceptance letters along with necessary financial requirements and review these items with parents, guardians or other interested parties.
- If you get posted to the waiting list of your primary school, get in touch with the admissions counselor. Ask if there are any things you can do to help improve your opportunity of being accepted.
- After being accepted and deciding on one school, inform the other schools on your list of your decision.
- Get your tuition deposit ready and sent to the appropriate office for the school prior to May 1.
- Complete any exams for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes and ask the test administrator to send the scores to the school of your choice.
- Graduate from high school!
June and July
- Get in touch with your high school guidance counselor and ask for your final high school transcript to be forwarded to the college which you will be attending.
- Find out if the college offers a summer orientation. This will be a prime opportunity to learn about housing options, roommates, as well as the schedule for your classes. Sit down with parents or a trusted adult and develop a budget that will allow you a respectable standard of living for the upcoming year.
Strategy for Senior Year
- Keep all the important deadlines and testing dates together on one calendar. Refer to it on a regular basis to make sure you have not missed anything.
- Find out if the various schools you are considering allow use of the Common Application. This is a form that can usually be completed one time online and can be sent to a whole host of schools. Even if one or two schools ask you to complete an essay you can save a lot of time by filling out one application.
- Don’t get lazy! Keep enrolling in the tough classes, study hard to make sure your grades stay high and always take any IB or AP classes that are available.