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College Planning Timeline

11th Grade
All 11th grade planning steps are shown.
College Planning steps are highlighted.

Fall Semester
Maintaining your grades during your junior year is important!
Colleges put a lot of weight on your achievements during this year.
Make sure you're challenging yourself academically.
Colleges will consider how difficult your courses are.
Now is the time to really focus your career and college research.
As you research education and career options, share your discoveries with your family.
You'll be working together a lot over the next couple of years as you prepare to graduate from high school and pursue educational and career opportunities..
If your schedule permits, stay involved in school, community and job activities.
Talk to your guidance counselor (or teachers, if you don't have access to a guidance counselor) about the following:
Whether your plan of study meets your high school's graduation requirements
Availability of and enrollment in AP classes
The possibility of concurrent enrollment: taking college-level courses for college (and high school) credit before you graduate from high school - apply before the end of October!
Get the scheduled dates for the SAT, ACT and AP exams that you might need to take.
Why you should take these exams (the SAT is mandatory in Colorado for all juniors) and how they could benefit you
Which of these exams in addition to the SAT would be the best fit for you - and then sign up for those tests. Remember, you can always change your mind.
You will be taking the SAT during April. You can start preparing to take the test here.
How to start getting ready for the exams!
Your academic record. Review it with your counselor and talk about ways to improve
The admissions requirements for the colleges you're interested in. Do your research, and be sure to find out about any additional requirements on top of GPA and test scores
September:
Register for the PSAT exam offered in October at your own expense.
Remember that when you take the PSAT in your junior year, the scores will count towards the National Merit Scholarship Program (and it is good practice for the SAT).
Begin requesting information from the schools you may want to attend. Start a file for college catalogs and other admissions information.
Keep an eye out for college fairs taking place at schools in your area that you could attend.
October:
Take the PSAT if you want to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Narrow your list of colleges in which you are interested to include a few colleges with requirements at your current GPA, a few with requirements above your current GPA, and at least one with requirements below your GPA.
Begin scheduling interviews with admissions counselors.
If possible, schedule tours of the school grounds on the same day you schedule your admissions interview.
You and your parent(s) may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation so you don't have to miss school.
December:
If you took the October PSAT you will receive your new scores this month.
Make sure to link your test results to your Khan Academy account in order to receive personalized practice recommendations. You can also get practice test for the SAT on the College Board Website. In addition to independent preparation, many high schools offer short-term preparatory classes or seminars on the various exams. All of these resources can help prepare you for what to expect and can help to boost your scores.
Spring Semester
If you're choosing your senior year classes, look for classes that will give you a strong transcript.
You'll also want to look for classes that will fit your program or major during college and your career choice.
Consider looking for a summer job or internship.
Not only can you earn money for college, you can also learn valuable skills.
January:
Continue with your campus tours online or in person.
Begin narrowing down the list of potential colleges to which you will apply.
February:
Register for the March ACT if colleges of interest require it.
Research the requirements of the colleges you're interested in to learn about admission deadlines and which tests to take (all juniors in Colorado must take the SAT). Make sure your test dates give colleges ample time to receive test scores. It is a good idea to take the SAT and/or ACT in the spring to allow you time to review your results. You may retake the exams in the fall of your senior year if you wish to improve your scores.
March:
If you are interested in taking an AP exam, you should sign up now.
If your school does not offer the AP exams, check with your guidance counselor to find schools in the area that do administer the exams, as well as the dates and times they're offered.
Show your college spirit;
get your school to participate in College Friday.
Talk to your counselor about the possibility of concurrent enrollment: taking college-level courses for college (and high school) credit before you graduate from high school - apply before the end of March!
April:
Take the April SAT test.
May:
Take the AP Tests if you registered for them.
Talk with teachers about writing letters of recommendation for you.
Think about what you would like to include in these and politely ask your teachers if they can help.
June:
Add any new report cards, test scores, honors or awards from the year to your file.
Continue with your college visits. Call ahead for appointments with the financial aid, admissions and academic advisors at the colleges in which you are most interested. During your visits, talk to professors, sit in on classes, spend a night in the dorms, and speak to students about the college(s). Doing these things allows you to gather the most information about the college and the atmosphere in which you would be living, should you choose to attend. Some colleges have preview programs that allow you to do all of these; find out which of the schools that you will be visiting offer these programs and take advantage of them.
If you go on interviews or visits, don't forget to send thank-you notes after you return home.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
Continue to work on your application essays and review the application procedures for the colleges you plan to apply to.
Decide if you are going to apply under any early decision or early action programs.
This requires you to submit your applications early, typically between October and December of your senior year.
Read your college mail and send reply cards to your schools of interest.