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September College Planning Checklist for High School Seniors

Class of 2023: Eight things you can accomplish with our preparing for college checklist.

Shawna Newman

August 29, 2022

September College Planning Checklist for High School Seniors
Take a look at our preparing for college checklist.
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.

College Planning Checklist for High School Seniors

Here are some suggestions of what high school seniors can accomplish on their preparing for college checklist this September:

Start narrowing down your college list.

You can narrow down your college list by following these steps:
• Create a list of what you’re looking for in a college. • Make a list of colleges you’re interested in. • Cross of colleges that do not meet the criteria. • Rank your list of colleges by most to least favorite.

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 ACT or SAT prep courses, get a tutor or even practice questions online for free!
If you’re still on the fence about taking the SAT or ACT, check to see if the colleges you’re interested in applying to are not requiring the SAT or ACT for Fall 2023 admissions. Many colleges went test-optional in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and have remained so to continue level the playing field after much academic disruption. If the colleges you’re applying to are all test-optional, you may be able to skip ACT and SAT prep courses as well as testing days!

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. Here is what you should do on a college visit: • Pick up brochures and financial aid information. • Sit in on a class for a subject you’re interested in studying. • Meet a professor in your intended field. • Talk to current students about their college experience. • Attend a group information session or one-on-one interview at the admissions office. • Take notes and give the college campus a rating to help you rank your college list.

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!

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. Remember, there are a variety of college tuition funding sources: • Scholarships & grants • Financial aid • Private student loans • College savings • Part-time jobs & internships • Education tax benefits 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!

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 App. 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.

Begin your college essays.

If you know which schools you’re applying to, you can check out their admissions essays and start brainstorming topics you’d like to write your essay on. Start crafting your essay using the following steps:
  1. Pick a topic.
  2. Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
  3. Write your thesis statement.
  4. Write the body.
  5. Then the introduction.
  6. And finally, the conclusion.
  7. Add the finishing touches.

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 advice on early admissions.

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