Here's the Plan - Make life after high school a success
any new adventure requires advance planning. But if your idea of advance planning is deciding what to do this Friday night, you might find yourself shortchanged when it comes time to go to college. After all, who has the time to plan for the future between homework, after-school practices, jobs and social life? That's why we're here to help you get the most out of your high school years and prepare for the future. The list below maps out what you need to do each year of high school to put you on the path to success.
Meet with your guidance counselor early in the school year to discuss possible majors and identify potential schools.
Request application and brochures from the colleges in which you are interested.
Schedule interviews with prospective schools. Identify at least one school that you are fairly certain of admission.
Make a list of application requirements for each school, making sure to note deadlines.
Ask teachers, advisors and other adults for letters of recommendation.
Work on application essays.
Establish a budget for application costs. You have to pay for each application you submit, so choose only the ones in which you are truly interested.
Get serious with your parents about college costs: what you can afford and what will be needed in terms of financial aid.
Have your high school transcripts sent to prospective schools.
Take the SAT/ACT and have results sent to your prospective colleges.
Continue your search for scholarships and begin scholarship application process.
If you've already decided on your school, submit your early decisions application (usually due by December).
Continue working on applications and have teachers, friends and family members review your essays.
Be certain you've included all fees, forms, essays, transcripts and other necessary material with the application. Retain copies of all paperwork sent to prospective colleges.
Ask prospective schools about financial aid - loans, grants, and scholarships.
Take another shot at improving those test scores. Both the SAT and ACT tests have dates scheduled for December.
Finish up those college applications! Many are due in December or by early January.
Gather financial materials needed to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and file as soon as possible after January 1. (Your parents' income tax returns will be required in order to complete the FAFSA, so remind them to file those taxes early!)
Check with prospective schools about any additional financial aid forms needed.
Check to ensure schools have received your application.
Be on the lookout for your Student Aid Report (SAR) to arrive four to six weeks after your submit your FAFSA. Check to make sure information is accurate.
You should begin receiving reponses to your applications. Compare offers and weigh the pros and cons.
If you receive notification that you have been placed on a waiting list, let the admissions office know if you are still interested.
Apply for summer jobs or internships.
Decision Time! Most colleges request that you accept or decline by May 1!
Check to make sure you have the required forms for housing, financial aid, health care insurance, etc.
Notify the college of any private scholarships you have received.
Check out additional information on scholarships and student loans. (Check with local businesses and community organizations or your church.)
Notify the colleges you have decided not to attend.
June/ July/ August
Check final deadlines for financial aid, housing, etc.
have final high school transcripts sent to your college.
Set up a college budget.
Get established with a bank near your new school.