College Admissions Timeline

This is a general timeline of things you should be thinking about each year of your high school career that will help you with college admissions.




–          Take Myers-Briggs Personality Test

–          Experiment with courses, activities, clubs, and sports

–          Read books, magazines, articles

–          Ask a lot of questions and develop relationships with your teachers

–          Volunteer in the community

–          Start actively practicing a foreign language

–          Start developing a plan for your high school career


–          SAT II Subject Tests

–          Summer planning: Find a summer activity or a job that will contribute to self-discovery




–          Take a trial run of the PSAT in October

–          Finalize plan for your high school career and start implementing it

–          Commit to 1-2 Extracurricular activities, get really involved, and develop a relationship with the leaders of that organization, sport, or club

–          Continue reading and practicing a foreign language

–          Find a volunteer organization or cause that you are passionate about and commit to it


–          SAT II Subject Tests

–          Summer planning: Find a summer job, volunteer activity that will develop specific skills


–          Summer job/activity

–          Start looking over the Common Application so you know what you will need to collect in the next 1 ½ years

–          Start talking to people who are in college and ask them about their courses and experience

–          Start doing college research


11th grade: HARD WORK


–          Take the PSAT in October

–          Take AP courses

–          Continue reading and practicing a foreign language

–          Assume a leadership role in an extracurricular activity

–          Study!


–          Take the SAT

–          Meet with your college counselor and start putting together a college list

–          Research colleges and college visits

–          AP exams and SAT II Subject Tests

–          Summer planning: Find a job, volunteer work, travel, sports camp…etc. that will challenge you. By now, you should have a general idea of what interests you


–          Summer job/activity

–          Register for ACT or SAT for fall

–          Look over the Common Application and research colleges

–          Create a list of colleges: safety, match, and reach schools

–          Brainstorm college essay ideas and put together a brag sheet


12th grade: APPLICATIONS


–          Register for SAT, SAT II Subject Tests and/or ACT

–          Request letters of recommendation

–          Run for leadership position in student council, volunteer organization, club, or sports team

–          Finalize list of colleges and create chart of application deadlines (early decision, regular decision, FAFSA, CSS Profile)

–          Take challenging classes and keep academic record strong

–          Create an account with The Common Application

–          Finalize your college essays and ask people you trust for feedback


–          Take the SAT, SAT II Subject Tests, and/or ACT

–          Attend college fairs

–          Complete your application if you are applying early

–          Ask for your high school transcript and review it

–          Research scholarships and grants


–          Submit early decision/action applications

–          Submit scholarship and grant applications

–          Make sure all test scores were sent to the colleges

–          Make sure your letters of recommendation were sent and received

–          Complete and submit your applications for regular decision before the January or February deadlines

–          Prepare your FAFSA forms

–          Study!!


–          Submit the FAFSA according to the individual school’s deadlines

–          Submit all remaining regular decision applications


–          Make sure you received confirmation from colleges you applied to

–          Register for AP exams

–          Submit scholarship and grant applications

–          If you submitted the FAFSA, you should receive the Student Aid Report (SAR): Look it over for any mistakes

–          Study!!!


–          Collect acceptance, rejection, and waitlist letters and compare financial aid packages

–          If you are waitlisted, don’t just wait: Be proactive

–          Notify schools that you have decided not to attend.

–          May/June: Make sure you meet the deposit deadline of the school you want to attend.

–          Avoid senioritis and study!

–          Take AP exams.