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Preparing for College: Senior Year

College and University Blog - Resources, help, and insight for your college experience

You finally made it! You’re a senior! When it comes to preparing for college, your senior year will be full of decision making and deadlines. The following will help you in your preparation:

  • By now you should have narrowed down your college choices. Request literature, financial aid information, and an application from the schools you have chosen if you haven’t already.
  • Get your applications in order by creating files and a calendar for your target schools. Make a note of application requirements (recommendations, essays, transcripts, etc), deadlines, fees, and financial aid requirements.
  • Schedule college interviews with prospective schools if needed. Visit your chosen schools if you haven’t already.
  • Set up a budget for college application costs –they can add up.
  • Request letters of recommendation from teachers, advisors and employers. Give each person your resume, a stamped and addressed envelope, and any required forms. Make sure to send thank-you notes to those that provide recommendations.
  • Write application essays. Ask teachers, parents, and friends to read first drafts. Revise as needed.
  • Continue to talk to your parents about college costs. Keep researching scholarship options and apply for as many as possible.
  • Request test scores sent to colleges. If you haven’t taken the SAT, make arrangements to do so. If you are applying for early admission, your test scores may be needed as early as November.
  • Work on college applications! Most applications are due between January 1 and February 15. If you are applying for early admission, your application may be needed as early as November. Keep copies of everything you send to colleges.
  • Request that high school transcripts are sent to your target schools. Send your final transcripts to the college you have chosen at the end of the year.
  • After submitting all required information, contact colleges to make sure they have received all necessary application materials.
  • Start gathering materials and financial records for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). File as soon as possible after January 1. To get the most attractive award package, apply by the priority date. Keep copies of everything you send. You should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) in 4-6 weeks (1-2 weeks if you submit your FAFSA electronically). Review the SAR to make sure the information is correct. Males 18 or older must register for the selective service to receive federal financial aid.
  • You should get acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-April. Compare your offers. Ask your guidance counselor to help you weigh your options. If waitlisted, notify the admissions office if you’re still interested.
  • It’s time to make a decision. Most schools ask that you contact them of your acceptance or rejection of admission offers by May 1.
  • Check for any final deadlines for housing, financial aid, etc.

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