College Planning Checklist

Freshman and sophomore years

Learn about college requirements and explore careers.

  • Know which high school courses satisfy college requirements.
  • Create a four-year high school curriculum plan.

September–March of junior year

Think about reasons for going to college.

  • Talk with parents and a school counselor about career goals and college plans.
  • Try talking with an adult who has an interesting job.
  • Get involved at school and in the community.

January–March of junior year

Identify important factors in choosing a college; prepare for a college admission tests.

  • Think about college preferences such as two-year or four-year, location, cost, kind of atmosphere, the variety of study programs available, and entrance test requirements.
  • Locate and consult college guidebooks.
  • Explore colleges on the Internet.

March–August of junior year

  • List possible college choices and collect information about each one; take the appropriate college admission test(s).
  • Attend college fairs and college night programs.
  • Visit colleges.

August–December of senior year

Compare college choices.

  • Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each college carefully.
  • Determine which colleges meet your needs.
  • Continue visiting colleges.
  • Organize information into detailed, useful comparisons.

September–December of senior year

Apply for admission to “choice” colleges.

  • Obtain application forms.
  • Observe deadlines.
  • Submit high school records and test scores (retest if necessary).

January–February of senior year

Apply for financial aid.

  • Consult financial aid office.
  • Secure forms and note deadlines.
  • Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1.

November–May of senior year

Make some final decisions.

  • Confer with parents and counselors about final decision.
  • Confirm your decision, and decline other admission offers.

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