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    12th Grade Planning

    Mapping out your future

    Your senior year is often an extremely hectic time! Be sure to stay on track with the college admissions process. Get organized, stay up-to-date on deadlines, and don’t procrastinate!

    Things you should be doing in the Fall

    • Meet with your school counselor about your college choices and, if you haven’t done so yet, download college applications and financial aid forms. 
    • Schedule your college visits.
    • Create a master calendar that includes:
      • Tests you’ll take and their fees, dates, and registration deadlines
      • College application due dates 
      • Required financial aid application forms and their deadlines (aid applications may be due before college applications) 
      • Other materials you’ll need for admission (recommendations, transcripts, etc.) 
      • Your high school’s application processing deadlines
    • Take the SAT® a second time: Many seniors retake the SAT in the fall. Additional coursework since your last test could help you boost your performance and increase scores.
    • Be sure to have your SAT scores sent to the colleges you’re applying to.
    • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)To apply for most financial aid, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA. Oct. 1 is the first day you can file the FAFSA.
    • Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®: PROFILE is an online application used by certain colleges and scholarship programs to determine eligibility for their aid dollars.
    • Prepare early decision/early action or rolling admission applications as soon as possible. Colleges may require test scores and applications between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15 for early decision admission.
    • Ask a counselor or teacher for recommendations if you need them. Give each teacher or counselor an outline of your academic record and your extracurricular activities. For each recommendation, provide a stamped, addressed envelope and any college forms required.
    • Write the first draft and ask teachers and others to read them if you’re submitting essays. If you’re applying for early decision, finish the essays for that application now.
    • Complete at least one college application by Thanksgiving.
    • Ask counselors to send your transcripts to colleges. Give counselors the proper forms at least two weeks before the colleges require them.

    Things you should be doing in the spring

    • Keep active in school. The college will want to know what you have accomplished between the time you applied and the time you learned of its decision.
    • Plan a visit to your final college before accepting. You should receive acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-April. Notify your counselor of your choice. If you have questions about housing offers, talk to your counselor or call the college.
    • Inform every college of your acceptance or rejection of the offer of admission and/or financial aid by May 1. Colleges cannot require your deposit or your commitment to attend before May 1. Talk to your counselor or adviser if you have questions.
    • Send your deposit to one college only.
    • Take any AP® ExamsShow what you’ve learned in your AP classes. A successful score could even earn you credit, advanced placement, or both in college.
    • Need financial aid? Ask whether funds will be available if you’re accepted.
    • Work with a counselor to resolve any admission or financial aid problems.
    • Ask your high school to send a final transcript to your college.
    • Review financial aid awardsNot all financial aid awards are the same, so it’s important to choose the aid package that’s best for you and your family.

    You’ve finished high school and are about to embark on an exciting new phase of life. Good luck!


  • Sources: College Board, Big Future, Great Schools.org, Williamsburg Learning, NCAA, Federal Student Aid office of the US Department of Education, Princeton Review and US News and World Report.