The 12 Month Countdown to College |

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The 12 Month Countdown to College


So you're just starting your senior year and are planning on going to college next year, here's the 12 month low-down to go from senior to college Freshman!

  • Request information and applications packages from your short list of colleges. Use's "request info" feature for a fast way to receive information from colleges.
  • Schedule college visits, attend college fairs and meet with admissions staff at your prospective colleges.
  • Start identifying who will provide your recommendations and asking them for letters.
  • Plan your education budget, including the application fees, using the Budget Builder.
  • Determine the application requirements for each of your target colleges based on the information they sent.

  • October
  • Start to work on your application essay. Give yourself plenty of time to write several drafts and have someone else proof it.
  • Register and take the SAT or ACT tests in October. Click here for the test dates.
  • Determine how you will be financing your education. Your savings. Part-time job. Parents. Scholarships. Student loans.
  • Request transcripts to be sent to your prospective colleges.
  • Start researching and applying to scholarships. Check both private and public sources for relevant scholarships.
  • If needed, investigate student loans. Check out Request application information or apply online for funding.

  • November-December
  • If applying early, get your application packages submitted in November to those colleges that accept Early Actions and Early Decisions.
  • Request ACT or SAT test scores to be sent to your early application colleges.
  • Finish your essay, making sure it's customized for each college you are applying to.
  • Confirm receipt of your letters of recommendation.
  • If applying with the regular deadline, get your applications packages ready in December.
  • Register and take the SAT or ACT tests in December. Click here for the test dates.
  • Maintain a file of all submitted applications per college.
  • Start gathering materials and financial records for applying to FAFSA.

  • January-February
  • Apply to FAFSA as soon as possible.
  • Submit applications to colleges with January / February deadlines.
  • Request financial aid information and forms from the colleges you are applying to.
  • Send mid-year marks to colleges if necessary.
  • Verify that your applications package has been received by the colleges you applied to.
  • Review your Student Aid Report from FAFSA to ensure the information is correct.

  • March-April
  • Confirm with your prospective colleges if they've sent out letters of offer yet. Watch the mail.
  • Check with the financial aid office of any of the colleges you've received a letter of offer from.
  • Compare the offers you have received from your prospective colleges. Determine which college is going to be the best choice for you.
  • Make a decision.

  • May
  • Notify all the colleges that sent you letters of offer of your choice that you will or will not be attending.
  • Apply for on campus housing if this is going to be your living arrangement, or look for off campus housing. Sometimes student housing options are limited and go fast.
  • Register for the college meal plan if this is going to be your arrangement.
  • Apply for health / medical insurance, if attending college away from home.
  • Verify your scholarship funding and notify the college of any private scholarships.
  • Finalize your student loan options, if needed.

  • June-August
  • Have your final transcripts sent to your college.
  • Finalize your housing arrangements, especially if you are renting off campus.
  • Research and confirm your banking options near the college.
  • Confirm all of your financial arrangements such as scholarships and student loans.
  • Create a first-year college budget.
  • Confirm and register for your first year classes.
  • Purchase your text books. If you do this early, you may be able to purchased used text books at a discount.
  • Investigate on campus jobs if you'll be working during the school year.
  • Get ready to work hard and have fun!

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