College Planning Calendar Overview

Eighth Grade and Freshman Years

  • Become involved in the high school in class and out.  Take your studies seriously and set academic goals for the year.  Explore extracurricular opportunities available through clubs, sports, and service activities.
  • Start a resume (activities list) for keeping up with your activities, leadership positions, community service, honors, awards, summer experiences, and jobs.
  • Evaluate your grades each quarter to determine what you are doing well and what you need to improve.  Remember that “everything counts;” you are building your record for college admission when you begin high school.

Sophomore Year

  • Review your academic goals and update your resume.
  • Evaluate your performance and your interests in different academic areas.  If you are strong in a subject area, talk with your teachers about taking Honors and Advanced Placement courses.
  • Prepare to take the PSAT in October.  Use the PSAT bulletin and practice test to become more familiar with test format and the types of questions found on the PSAT.
  • Take the PSAT on the national test dates in October.  These tests are for practice only for sophomores.
  • Consider informal visits to nearby colleges and universities at home and while on vacation.

Junior Year


  • Review your academic goals and update your resume.
  • Meet with the college counselor to set up your Naviance and testing accounts.
  • Make use of college planning resources available in the College Counseling Office, as well as Naviance and other Internet sites.
  • Make use of college visits to school, evening information sessions, and college fairs.  Listen to their presentations and ask questions about your interests. Pick up information and sign up for mailing lists.


  • Prepare for the PSAT, given in October. Juniors who score high may be considered for National Merit Scholarship competition.
  • Take the PSAT on the national test date.
  • Begin to establish criteria for the type of college that you would like to attend.  Use college guides, Naviance and other internet resources; and talk to family, friends, and teachers about their college choices and experiences.


  • Evaluate your quarter grades: determine what you are doing well and what you need to improve to meet your academic goals for the year.  The grade-point average provided to colleges when you apply is cumulative through the end of your junior year.
  • Decide how you are going to prepare for the SAT and ACT.
  • Schedule an individual meeting with the college counselor to discuss your college considerations and to begin your planning.


  • Review your PSAT results.  Read the information carefully to interpret your performance.
  • Study thoroughly for exams.
  • Start test preparation for the SAT and/or ACT after exams.


  • Register and take the SAT and ACT exams.
  • Look ahead to school breaks as possible opportunities to visit colleges.

February – March

  • Encourage your parents to attend the Junior Parents’ Night held this month.
  • Continue your college research.  Develop a preliminary list of colleges.
  • Prepare for and take the ACT on the school-wide testing day.
  • Schedule a parent-student appointment with your college counselor.
  • Think of essay ideas and start developing drafts of several essay topics.


  • Review your ACT and SAT scores to determine if you have a test preference. Then, prepare for your preferred test in earnest to retest.
  • Go on college visits! During your college visits, be sure to ask your tour guides questions; talk to college students, representatives and professors, and keep track of what you liked and disliked on each campus.
  • If you are enrolled in AP courses, prepare for the AP exams given early in May.
  • Begin to consider which teacher(s) could best prepare college recommendations for you (for when you ask them in the fall).


  • Take AP Exams.
  • Allow enough time to prepare for your final exams.

June – July

    • If appropriate, take SAT Subject Tests.
    • Plan to spend your summer productively by continuing your college research, visiting campuses, and preparing to apply to at least one college.
    • Make plans to visit colleges you did not see during the school year.
  • If you are an athlete, register with the NCAA and learn what is required of you as an athlete in the application process.

Senior Year

August – September

  • Review your academic goals and update your resume.
  • Attend the College Application Boot Camp offered before school starts.
  • Submit applications! Send your applications in early for any Early Action/Early Decision schools. Request transcripts and school reports once you get your application in.
  • Encourage your parents to attend the Senior Parents’ Meeting.
  • Register to take the SAT and ACT exams again, if necessary.
  • Schedule an individual appointment to meet with your college counselor to discuss your college plans, refine your college list, and update your activities.
  • Request teacher recommendations; provide them with the materials they need to write on your behalf.
  • Attend college visits at school for any colleges you are interested in.
  • Start looking into possible scholarships.


  • Complete all rolling, Early Action, and Early Decision applications, if you have not already done so.
  • Complete any scholarship applications you are eligible for.
  • Complete FAFSA, which becomes available October 1st.
  • Complete the CSS Profile if you plan to seek financial aid and are applying to selective colleges that use the Profile.
  • Check with your teachers on completing your teacher recommendations.


  • Complete any remaining applications.
  • Retake any standardized tests, if applicable.


  • Devote time and energy to prepare for your first semester exams.
  • Request that your transcript and the mid-year school report be sent to each of your schools.
  • Verify that colleges have all necessary materials from you.

January – February

  • Note any financial aid application deadlines.
  • Submit additional information to colleges who deferred your Early Decision/Early Action application.
  • Complete any additional scholarship applications for which you are eligible.

March – April

  • Check your mail and your college accounts! Regular admissions notifications begin in early March and continue through mid-April.  Update your status at your colleges as you hear of decisions. If you are placed on a wait list, additional information to support your application may be sent at this time.
  • Revisit colleges where you have been accepted to help in making your final decision.
  • Notify the college you will attend prior to May 1 (Common Reply Date); notify all other colleges of your decision not to accept their offer of acceptance.
  • Contact the financial aid office at your chosen college with questions concerning your financial aid package.
  • Prepare for AP exams to be held in early May.


  • Submit one single deposit to the college of your choice by May 1 (Common Reply Date).
  • Show your college spirit by wearing your college t-shirt on May 1.
  • Complete the additional steps necessary to remain active on a wait list by May 1.
  • Take AP exams.
  • Complete the Senior Exit Survey, including your request for where you want your final transcript sent.
  • Congratulations on your graduation from high school and good luck in college!
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