August 1. October 1. April 1. May 1.
If you’re the parent of a high school student who’s planning to attend college, these dates (and others) should be marked on your calendar.
There are many steps you need to take in order to not only successfully apply to college, but find the college with the right academic, social, and financial fit for you. Check out the timeline below that Vicki Vollweiler, founder of College Financial Prep, and I created to help ensure you know what you need to do and when.
It all starts freshman year. Now’s the time to explore. Try a new club. Volunteer in your community. Be open to trying something new. Plan your sophomore year schedule and select the most rigorous courses that are the right fit for you.
Continue broadening your activities sophomore year. Identify those that are the best fit for you and start to deepen your participation. If you’re a performing artist, try out for an elite group. If you’re an athlete, look for ways to show the coach that you’re a leader on and off the field. If academics are your space, find a club that let’s you show that you’re a wiz at math, science, writing, etc. Plan your junior year schedule. Select courses that will challenge you as well as courses that let you explore your interests. Take a practice ACT and SAT and decide which is the better test for you.
Junior year is a busy time. Stay focused on your academics. Look for leadership opportunities. Take the ACT or SAT (but NOT both). Yes, more and more schools are going test-optional, but many still use these scores to award merit aid and select their honors college participants. Visit colleges. Build relationships with your teachers as they will be the ones to write your recommendation letters. Plan your senior year schedule. Make sure you are taking the classes you need to be accepted into the major you want. Science and math senior year are critical for science/engineering majors.
Senior year. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Decide on your college list. Write “The Essay”. Create your portfolio and/or resume (this step is important for performing/visual artists and business majors). Complete your applications. And finally, hit “Submit”. Send your test scores to your schools, and let your guidance counselor know that you’ve applied. Be sure to fill out your financial aid forms. Apply for scholarships. Do not fall victim to senioritis – a disease that can cause colleges to rescind their acceptance offers.
Want more details?
Check out Square Peg Square Hole Coaching and College Financial Prep’s webinar: The College Timeline.
Want personalized guidance throughout each stage of the college admissions process? I can ease the anxieties of this stressful time by providing knowledge, experience, and direction from exploration through enrollment.
Contact me to get started.