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Updated: Mar 25, 2021

If you plan to apply to colleges as a freshman applicant and want scholarships, you will need to do several key things on a very demanding timeline. You will need: Essay, References, Transcript, School Report, Counselor's Recommendation, and Resume.

Applications start August 1st and end November 1st.

Rising Senior Checklist

Jan-Feb of 11th Grade

  •  Update your high school degree plan to confirm what classes you need for 12th grade.

  •  Confirm registration for final fall classes at school, coop, AP or dual credit.

  • Take 1st SAT to get a baseline. Do basic prep online.

  • Take 1st ACT to get a baseline. Do basic prep online.

Mar-Apr of 11th Grade

  • Visit colleges and create a list of 3-8 colleges that you will apply to.

  •  Do online college research and make a list of ones you love.

  • Do a real and/or virtual visit for each college you are planning to apply to.

  • Ask for an application fee waiver at the end of each in-person visit.

  • Have your baseline SAT & ACT compared to pick the one to retake.

May-Jun of 11th Grade

  •  Take final AP exams that will show on your application.

  • Sign up for August SAT2 Subject Tests if required.

  •  Sign up for a retake SAT or ACT. Not both. Get a comparison!!

  • Ask teachers to start referrals. These will be due 10/1.

  •  Ask mentors to start referrals. These will be due 10/1.

  • Get a resume template from and start your resume.

July - Aug of 11th Grade

August (Senior Year)

  •  Take final SAT or ACT no later that Nov. 1st

  •  Take final SAT2 Subject Tests if you are registered

  •  Start fall classes with a light load. You will need lots of time for college apps.

  •  Complete one application to your top college.

  • Complete a rough draft of your master college essay.

  • Confirm which teachers and friends will give you references.

  • Email and ask us to “Optimize” your app/essay/references.

  • If you are a homeschooler, send an email asking us to optimize your transcript.

September of 12th

  •  Continue optimizations of primary app

  • Continue edits on master essay

  • Submit in-app requests to teachers and friends for references

  • Submit in-app requests to counselor and school for reports (transcript)

  • Try to get ahead of the curve so you don't lose out on scholarships. The key rule to remember is that you can apply for admissions well into next year but if you don't submit your application by 11/1, you will not get merit scholarships.

October of 12th

  • ‡ Take final SAT, ACT, SAT2s

  • Complete FAFSA and send to all colleges.

  • Consider CSS Profile for any colleges that use it.

  • ‡ Request high school transcript to be sent to all colleges that you are applying to.

  •  Request all tests scores to be sent to all colleges that you are applying to.

  •  Request all referrals to be sent or uploaded to all colleges that you are applying to.

  • Copy your primary app to create all other apps.

  • Submit all apps by Halloween.

  • Apply "Early Action" when possible

  • Apply "Early Decision" only if you are certain you want to attend that college!

  • (Essay should be inside your apps)

  • Submit HS transcript to each college.

  • Submit Dual Credit transcript and AP scores to each college.

  • Submit SAT, ACT, and/or SAT2 scores to each college (or apply 'Tests Optional')

  • Submit Teacher & Friend referrals to each college.

November ( D-Day!)

  • ‡ November 1s - Make sure to get all apps submitted by this date.

  • Apps are not complete until all supporting documents have been submitted

    • Essays

    • Teacher References

    • Mentor References

    • Counselor’s Report

    • School Report

    • Final Junior Transcript

    • Any Dual Credit Transcripts

    • SAT & ACT scores sent from Corporate

    • SAT 2 & AP scores sent from Corporate

    • Parent’s Contract for Early Decision

  • ‡ Email or call each college to confirm your app is processing and complete

  • Watch email for an ID from each college that allows you to login to their portal

  • On the portal, upload resume, additional references, or any missing docs

  • ‡ Request audition, tryout, or interview if applicable. (Contact the department directly.)

  • ‡ Complete the master scholarship app via the portal when available

  • ‡ Once apps are secured, start searching for one-off scholarship applications.

  • Find and apply to at least one scholarship at each college you applied to.

  • Make sure to meet or exceed posted deadlines for each app.

December of 12th

  • ‡ Submit at least one scholarship application for EACH COLLEGE YOU APPLIED TO

  • ‡ Contact the financial aid office at each college at each college you apply to

  • Ask about any “Scholars Events” that you might be eligible to attend

  • Ask what outside scholarships previous students in your major have earned

  • Follow through and complete scholarship apps or talk to dept. for interviews.

Jan-Feb of 12th

  • ‡ Send mid-term report and updated transcript to each college you applied to.

  • ‡ Send “Thank You” notes to anyone who wrote a referral.

  • ‡ Contact financial aid office at each college to ask about special circumstance aid.

  • Ask for GI Bill help or Special Circumstance Review if you are eligible.

  • ‡ Watch for Admissions Offers. Then watch for financial aid offers.

  • Compare all offers then either accept, reject, or defer each school.

  • All offers are good until May 1st unless stated otherwise on an official doc.

March of 12th

  • ‡ Colleges must submit all offers in March at the latest.

  • Compare all college offers side-by-side. Get clarity then start negotiating.

  • Remember, initial offers are not the most you will get, they are the assured minimal.

  • ‡ Contact each college to find out if there is anything you can do to improve your offer.

  • Once you accept a college, immediately sign up for orientation. This is where you will register for classes and you don't want to be last.

  • Make housing arrangements asap but be careful of nonrefundable deposits.

May 1st is National Decision Day!

  • ‡ All offers are good until this date unless stated otherwise in writing!

May-June of 12th

  • ‡ Accept school of choice

  • Submit a deposit

  • ‡ Sign up for 1st available orientation!

  • Arrange for housing and put down a housing deposit

  • ‡ If you have not got the FA you want by this time, there is a small window in May where all rejected offers come back to the coffers and can be renegotiated for students who are going to attend. Followup with the financial aid office.

  • Send your final HS transcript to the college you accept

  • Graduate High School!

NOTE – This year all colleges are tests optional. That means you do NOT need to take or report an SAT or ACT in order to gain admissions, but you will need at least one of these tests on file if you are an NCAA athlete or if you want to earn scholarships for college. Remember, you don’t have to report them for admissions but you should take just one so you are eligible for NCAA & Aid.

Email or call 972-414-2690


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