• Register to take the ACT or SAT (if you didn’t do so as a junior)Check which tests the colleges you’re planning on applying to require and register accordingly. You don’t want to apply to a school without taking the required exams! Then, keep studying until test day (don’t burn yourself out, though) to ensure you’re as prepared as possible.
• Begin a college admissions process calendarOn your calendar, you can keep track of everything regarding the college admissions process, from standardized testing dates and college interviews to scholarship deadlines. At this point, you can look up dates that have already been set for the fall semester. Start by looking up standardized testing dates, if you’re planning on taking exams. Make sure to note registration deadlines and actual test dates on your calendar. Also, keep in mind that there are also deadlines to send in registration and test fees! If you know any colleges you will absolutely be apply to, look up the college application deadline dates for those particular schools. You can usually find them listed on their website. Continue adding to your calendar throughout the fall, as the college admissions process progresses – there will certainly be a lot more to add!
• Make sure you’re on the right track to fulfill graduation and college admission requirementsMeet with your counselor to ensure that all courses you are taking will meet both your high school’s graduation requirements as well as college admission requirements.
• Start narrowing down your college choice listYour list should consist of the following three categories: 1. “Safety” schools – Schools that you absolutely know you’ll gain admission to, based on the admission requirements. At these schools, you’ll likely be towards the top of your class ranking.
2. “Realistic” schools – Schools you’ll most likely gain admission to, based on the admission requirements, and will most likely end up attending. At these schools, you will most likely fall somewhere in the middle of your class ranking.
3. “Reach” schools – Schools you’d like to apply to and would be happy to get into, but are unsure that you will be accepted to, based on the admission requirements. At these schools, you’ll most likely fall into the bottom tier of the class ranking.
• Continue to apply for scholarships
Whether this is on your checklist or not, it should always be on your mind. Because the more you get into the habit of applying, the more scholarships you’ll apply for. And, the more scholarships you apply for, the better your odds are of winning. Do yourself (and your future bank account) a favor and never stop applying to scholarships you qualify for!