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High School Planning Timeline

12th Grade
All 12th grade planning steps are shown.
High School Planning steps are highlighted.

Fall Semester
Keep studying!
You want to avoid "senioritis" - a drop in motivation and, consequently, grades, that is sometimes experienced by seniors.
Talk to your counselor about possibilities for concurrent enrollment (taking college-credit courses while you're still in high school). Apply before October end.
Save your money!
It's a good idea to start or continue planning for those unexpected costs of college.
Some colleges require the CSS/PROFILE, a supplemental financial aid form, in addition to the FAFSA.
Find out if schools you may wish to attend will need this.
September:
Check your transcripts to make sure you have all the credits you need to get into the colleges that interest you. Use the College Admissions Tool Link opens to new window to make sure you understand how your GPA, ACT/SAT scores and coursework taken in high school will affect your choice of four-year colleges. Talk with your counselor and update your coursework plan as necessary.
Be sure to consult with your school counselor about scholarship opportunities.
Scholarships are not just for top students and athletes. There may be a perfect scholarship for you - it's worth doing a little research.
Register for the October/November SAT and ACT tests if you plan to take re-take them at your own expense.
Get a jump-start on College Application Month; make sure you meet the requirements (including any transcript requirements) for all the colleges to which you want to apply.
Double-check their application deadlines and set reminders on your My Plan page in the College Admissions Tool.
Keep an eye out for financial aid workshops and seminars, for both you and your parents.
There is a lot of help out there when you're looking for info on financial aid.
Most early decision and early action applications are due between October 1 and November 1.
Keep this in mind if you intend to take advantage of these options.
October: COLLEGE APPLICATION MONTH (Download the calendar PDF opens to new window or visit College Application Month Website Link opens to new window)
Week 1 (Sept. 25 - Oct. 1) Narrow down your options and connect careers to a program or major.
Take the Career Cluster Survey and explore careers in your favorite cluster. Career Cluster Survey
Explore programs and majors for careers that interest you. Explore Programs and Majors
Find colleges that offer your programs/major. College Matching Assistant
Take virtual campus tours. Explore Schools
Use the School Finder; what's important to you about a college? School Finder
Do Side-by-Side Comparisons of schools. Compare Schools
Use the College Admissions Tool
Run the Wizard to explore and learn about two- and four-year college options, select your preferences and enter your GPA, ACT/SAT scores to get a Matching College List.
College Admissions Tool Link opens to new window
Make a final list of schools that interest you and use the My Plan page of the Admissions Tool to track deadlines and required admission items for each school.
Many students like to have a "dream school" and a "safety school" as well as two or three others.
Your Portfolio - Postsecondary Plans
Be sure to consider two-year, vocational and four-year schools. Doing basic coursework at a two year school and transferring Link opens to new window to a four-year may serve you well and save you money. Browse Schools
Order Official Transcripts to be sent to each college you have selected. Transcripts are sent directly from your school to the colleges. Make sure your counselor understands the date by which each college must receive your transcript.
FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the key that opens the door to financial aid. It serves as the application for most financial aid, from federal and state programs to aid offered by colleges and universities.

In order to complete the FAFSA, you will need to create an FSA ID, a username and password combination that allows you to sign your FAFSA electronically. Your FSA ID also can be used to sign loan contracts and to access certain information online.
Tips for FSA ID Application Completion Link opens to new window
Week 2 (Oct. 2 - 8) Financial Aid and Scholarships
Once your FSA ID has been created, start gathering the documents needed to apply, such as Social Security, parent's Social Security, Federal tax information, etc. Tips for FSA ID Application Completion Link opens to new window
When you have all your documents ready, fill out your FAFSA. Once submitted, FAFSA information is shared with the colleges and/or career schools you list on the application. The financial aid office at a school uses your information to figure out how much federal student aid you may receive at that school. www.fafsa.gov Link opens to new window
Explore and search for matching scholarships using the Scholarship Finder. Scholarship Finder
Update your scholarship profile and get your matching scholarships.
Select at least ten Scholarships from the Scholarship Finder and look at the deadlines and requirements you need in order to apply. Start applying as soon as possible.
Scholarship Finder
Enter to win a laptop and one of ten College Go Packs. October 7th: Tell us about the scholarships opportunities that you found. CAM Website Prize page Link opens to new window
Week 3 (Oct. 9 - 15) Prepare your resume and requests for letters of recommendation.
Get some guidance on how to request letters of recommendation. How to Info on letters of recommendation
Read How to Request Document opens to new window Letters of Recommendation and look at samples.
Use the Checklist to prepare Document opens to new window your request.
Complete the "All About Me" worksheet Document opens to new window.
Distribute your letter of recommendation requests including a stamped, college-addressed envelope (or provide send to information) for each. Make sure your portions of the forms are filled out completely and that recommenders know by when they must send in the recommendation.
Use the Resume Builder to create or update your resume. Resume Builder
Review the College Materials Checklist for each of your colleges. College Materials Checklist Link opens to new window
Complete Personal and Educational Information of the Practice Application Practice Application
Complete the High School Coursework section of the Practice Application Practice Application
Enter to win a laptop and one of ten College Go Packs. October 14th: Send us your completed "All About Me" worksheet. CAM Website Prize page Link opens to new window
Week 4 (Oct. 16 - 22) Write your essays and personal statement.
Complete Enrollment Information on the Practice Application Practice Application
Talk with your parents about your plans and work with them to complete the Tuition Classification and Contact Information sections of the Practice Application. Practice Application
Review the College Materials Checklist for each of your colleges to ensure you understand the focus or question to be addressed in your essay College Materials Checklist Link opens to new window
Get some guidance on writing a great essay or personal statement How to Info on essays and personal statements
Help on how to begin Document opens to new window. Essay Tips Step-by-Step Link opens to new window
Review the dos and don'ts of personal essays Document opens to new window.
Enter to win a laptop and one of ten College Go Packs. October 21 CAM Website Prize page Link opens to new window
Week 5 (Oct. 23 - 29) Apply!
Complete the Prepare First checklist Document opens to new window
Check out sample essays Link opens to new window.
Use the Get Ready to Write worksheet Document opens to new window
Write each essay or personal statement to be included with application to each of your colleges. Give your essays to others (teachers, parents, friends) for feedback.
Create a thank you note for the teachers, employers and others who helped you with your applications. Thank you letter builder
Review the College Checklists and Application Links for each of your colleges. Check off each item to ensure that you have completed that requirement. College Checklists and Application Links Link opens to new window
Enter to win a laptop and one of ten College Go Packs. October 28: Send us your best essay or personal statement. CAM Website Prize page Link opens to new window
Week 6 (Oct. 30 - Nov. 4)
Complete an application for each of your colleges, using the materials you have prepared during the month. Use each college's online application. Online applications
Review the "I Applied. Now What?" PDF opens to new window worksheet.
Make sure that your SAT scores are sent to all of your colleges (you may send your scores to more colleges even if you did not register them at the time you took the test).

Register for December or January ACT, if necessary.
SAT Scores Link opens to new window
Congratulations, you've worked hard! If you are not quite done with all your applications, complete them during the month of November.
November:
You can continue to submit college admission applications.
Be sure to check them over thoroughly! Having someone else review your application with you can help you catch any errors.
Work on your scholarship applications, and mail according to deadlines.
Check with the financial aid office of schools to which you are applying for specific information on scholarships and costs for tuition, fees, room and board, and any additional financial aid info they require.
December:
Watch your mailbox if you submitted an early decision application.
Early decision replies usually arrive between December 1st and 31st. If you do get an acceptance letter and decide to attend that school, you should withdraw any other applications.
If you haven't already done so, make sure your official test scores are being sent to the colleges to which you are applying.
Schedule any remaining required interviews.
Start thinking about how you're going to spend your summer. Summer is a great time to earn extra money and gain work experience.
Ask your counselor about internships and start researching the summer job market in your area.
Spring Semester
January:
Check for other financial aid options.
In order to be considered for financial aid, you will need to submit a FAFSA, even if you have not yet been notified of your acceptance to the college(s) to which you applied.
If you don't already have a good computer, investigate purchasing one for college.
You or your parents can subsidize the cost of a computer for college in your student loans.
Request that your high school send your official transcripts to the colleges to which you are applying.
Contact the admissions office of the colleges to which you have applied to make sure that your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you.
February:
Complete your scholarship applications.
Contact the financial aid office of the colleges to which you have applied to make sure your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you.
March - April:
You will probably hear from the colleges as to whether or not you are accepted by April 15. Use the Award Letter Comparison Tool to help you analyze your reward letters.
Compare your acceptance letters, financial aid and scholarship offers.
These are all important things to consider when choosing a college.
Use the SLOPE (Student Loans Over Projected Earnings) calculator to determine the interest and monthly payments for your student loans based on your potential career choice.
When you choose a college that has accepted you, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit for freshman tuition.
This should ensure your place in the entering freshman class.
May:
Take AP exams for any AP subjects you studied in high school.
Decision time!
You should decide on a college by May 1. Notify that school by mailing your commitment deposit check. Many schools require that your notification letter be postmarked by this date.
If you were placed on a waiting list for a particular college and have decided to wait for an opening, contact that college and let them know you are still very interested.
June:
Have your school send your final transcripts to the college you will be attending.
Contact your college to determine when fees for tuition, room and board are due, and how much they will cost.
Summer After Senior Year
Prepare for college and living on your own by understanding how to manage your money. Complete the online Money 101 courses.
Participate in any summer orientation programs for incoming freshmen.
Now that you know you will be attending college in the fall, it is a good idea to make sure you have student health insurance in case of any emergencies.