September College Prep Checklist for High School Seniors

Elizabeth Hoyt

August 21, 2019

September College Prep Checklist for High School Seniors
Remember, the earlier you begin, the easier it will be.
Summer is over and a new semester has arrived. So, you're probably wondering: What should I be doing to prepare for college? This is the year you’ll finally be graduating. You’ll be applying to colleges and, soon enough, heading off to college. This is the big leagues, folks. There’s so much to do! But we know you can handle it. Remember, the earlier you begin, the easier it will be.
Here are some suggestions of what high school seniors can do to prepare for college admissions this September:

1. Start narrowing down your college list.

Start by creating a list of what you’re looking for in a college and making your colleges list. Then, compare the two, crossing off any colleges that don’t meet your criteria. Order your colleges list based on which schools meet the most criteria at the top to the colleges that meet the lowest amount of your criteria at the bottom.

2. Register to take or re-take the SAT/ACT exams.

Since you’re a high school senior, this needs to be done ASAP! Also, remember to prepare for the exams as early as possible. You can sign up for test prep courses, get a tutor or even practice questions online for free!

3. Schedule as many college visits as possible.

Campuses are so beautiful in the fall, especially Fastweb’s top ten fall campuses and it's always beneficial visit campuses when students are active and present on campus. That means there's no time like the present to plan to see potential colleges, since everyone will soon be returning to campus for a new semester.
Make a list of colleges you'd like to visit and try to schedule them throughout the next few months. Visiting schools will make narrowing down your list much easier and can be vital to the admissions process. Remember, seeing and experiencing a school is vastly different than researching it online!

4. Start out - and stay in - great academic shape.

As you're working on college applications, you’ll want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward – academically speaking. Make a strategy on how you’ll approach this semester - and follow it. A strict semester game plan helps ensure you’ll stay focused on achieving your best. Your high school grades matter (all of them) and a slip up is really difficult to recover from, especially in terms of your cumulative grade point average. It's not impossible to recover from a slump, but why give yourself the extra anxiety? If you stay on top of your grades, you won't have even more pressure than you already do! Remember, even if you’re admitted to a college, if your grades slip too far below from the grades you applied with, colleges are able to rescind your admissions offer. So keep those grades up – you’re not out of the woods yet!

5. Start evaluating how you’ll pay for school.

If you start applying for scholarships now, it will be a lot easier to pay for school later! Begin by organizing your scholarship search, then apply for as many scholarships as possible. Talk to your family about your college budget so that everyone is on the same page and you can have specific financial aid goals in mind. While it’s important to be realistic regarding your college choices and tuition prices, if you have your heart set on a specific school, you'll simply have to work a little harder to achieve the funding. Don't worry, any amount is possible to achieve with hard work and determination!

6. Start gathering and preparing your application materials.

It’s helpful to have any documents you may need on hand for your college applications, like your ACT/SAT scores, any personal information and any payment information if you’re not applying via the Common Application. That way, you won’t have to worry about gathering your materials each time you want to submit an application – everything will be in one place.

7. Begin your college essays.

If you know which schools you’re applying to, you can check out their essays and start brainstorming topics you’d like to write your essay on. Tip: it’s helpful to begin with an outline of what you’d like to say and go from there.

8. Consider if early admissions options are right for you.

If you already know which college is right for you, you may want to consider an early admissions option. It’s not right for everyone, but it may be worth considering if you have your heart set on a specific school. You can learn more about early admissions and what this entails to decide if it’s the right route through Fastweb’s early admissions articles.

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