November College Prep Checklist for High School Seniors

Stay on top of your college admissions and financial aid to-do list.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

October 30, 2023

November College Prep Checklist for High School Seniors
November is a pivotal time of year for high school seniors - and we’re not just talking turkey.
November is a pivotal time of year for high school seniors - and we’re not just talking turkey. More than likely, it’s the month where your early admission applications are due. It’s also the month you need to start paying attention to upcoming deadlines for each college you’re planning to submit an application.

College Planning Checklist for High School Seniors

Class of 2024, here is your personalized checklist to help you keep track of what to do during the month of November to stay on top of your college admissions season.

Send Early Admissions college applications.

Always make sure to have a parent, teacher, counselor, or other adult, review your application before it is submitted. It’s best to get an extra set of eyes to ensure that everything is included.

For regular admissions, finalize your essay.

You've been working tirelessly on your college essays for quite some time (hopefully). It's time to finalize them. Again, allow someone else to look over them for the last time - your parents, teachers, or counselors would make great proofreaders.

Send official transcripts.

All colleges you’re applying to will require your official high school transcripts. Make sure you know what your school’s policies are and get the ball rolling so that your school can send your official transcripts in a timely manner.

Double check your test scores.

Double check that your ducks are in a row and that your scores have been sent to the schools you are applying to. Also, make sure you’ve checked beforehand that you’ve taken the right standardized tests for each college you’re applying to since different colleges require different exams.

Register -- or retake -- the SAT or ACT.

Do this AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if this is still on your to do list!

Finalize your college list.

Use the information you’ve gathered from your college visits and interviews to make your college application list. Your number should fall somewhere between five and eight colleges. Consider applying to a mix of reach, target, and safety schools. Once you have decided on your list, go over it with your guidance counselor, teachers, and parents.

Keep track of ALL deadlines.

This is the year of deadlines. Create a “deadline calendar” showing the deadlines for admissions, financial aid, and scholarships, so that you’ll never miss a date.

Prepare your application materials and apply!

Ensure you follow all instructions and double check that materials have been submitted as well: recommendation letters, transcripts, test scores, etc. Make extra copies before you send them so that you can keep track of where you’ve applied already. Applying before winter break may be a good plan so that you’re not rushing to meet deadlines over the holidays.

Meet with your guidance counselor.

Staying in the loop with your guidance counselor is the best way to make sure you’re on track in all aspects of your academic career.

Start thinking about financial aid.

If you haven’t already done so, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be available in December. You can find what you need to fill out the FAFSA on Fastweb, on the FAFSA website, or you can talk to your counselor. Also, check in with each school to see if they require a supplemental financial aid form. Some schools require these forms to get a better picture of family financial circumstances.

Attend financial aid workshops with your parents.

Attending a financial aid workshop is a great idea for both you and your parents to gain a better understanding of how the process works and what aid is available. It's also a great idea to learn more about student loans at this point in the process. You may need them once scholarships and financial aid packages have been distributed.

Stay on track with your grades and your extracurricular activities.

Colleges will continue to look at what you’ve done in your senior year after you’ve submitted your application. Maintain your GPA in your courses and stay committed to any extracurricular activities you’ve been involved with so that your admission is never in jeopardy!

Always continue your scholarship search.

Keep in mind that the time after you’ve sent your college applications is one of the best times to focus on your scholarship applications. Apply for scholarships from local organizations, your scholarship matches on Fastweb, and scholarships that are specific to your school or intended degree program. You can find these by asking a financial aid administrator about opportunities at your college choices. Apply for scholarships as deadlines approach and continually search for more scholarship and grant opportunities. Never give up as this should be a continual process throughout your academic career!

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