College Application Timeline
- Take your classes seriously! Even though college might seem far away, it will come before you know it and your grades will matter.
- Get to know your teachers. Take an interest in them and learn from them.
- Select some activities to be involved in throughout high school. Good options include sports, music ensembles, dramas, and class council. Talk to your parents and your Dean to help you determine the best fit. Colleges generally look for a sustained commitment to a few extracurricular activities rather than minimal commitment to many activities.
- When you can, go on college visits with an older sibling, cousin, or friend.
- Stay organized.
- Take the PSAT/NMSQT in the Fall. Signup takes place in the College and Career Office in early September. This would be an opportunity to practice taking the PSAT to prepare for taking it in your junior year when it is a qualifying test for National Merit.
- Look into additional extracurricular activities.
- Maintain strong study habits in preparation for junior year.
- Use techniques learned in Career/Technical Education to continue college and career research.
- Consider volunteer, internship, job-shadowing, or employment opportunities for the summer. See the College and Career Counselor for help if needed.
- Take the PSAT/NMSQT in the Fall. Signup takes place in the College and Career Office in early September.
- Register for and take the SAT and/or ACT. Register online at www.collegeboard.org for the SAT and www.actstudent.org for the ACT. Practice materials are available on these websites. Students typically find that they do better if they wait until they have completed (or are near completion) of the 11th grade English and math courses. Mid to late second semester is perfectly acceptable.
- Research college options and their entrance requirements. Good resources are www.collegeboard.org and www.petersons.com for college search options. Try to develop a preliminary list of about 15 colleges which interest you and call or email to request information from them. If you have a specific major in mind, you may want to consider looking only at schools with that major.
- Visit the schools that most interest you. If you’re unsure about the type of environment you’d like to be in, it is advisable to visit different types of schools (small private school, state university, Christian college) so that you get a feel for the differences. Understanding the differences will help you compare and contrast thoroughly.
- During second semester, you will be scheduled for a personal meeting with the College and Career Counselor to discuss individual options, learn about resources available, and ask any questions you have about the college application process. Meetings are allotted a period of one block, to which parents are invited via a letter.
- Begin to think about who you might ask for a recommendation. Teachers, counsellors, coaches, employers, and in some cases pastors, are all relevant options.
- Continue to research and narrow your college pool. As you slim down your list, keep in mind that 6-9 schools is a good number to aim for. Applying to fewer may limit your options, while applying to more may mean that you spend less time on each application, resulting in lower quality.
- Take an SAT prep class if you want to improve your scores (view the “Testing and Preparation” section of Eastern Christian’s website).
- Acquaint yourself with the Common Application (www.commonapp.org) as well as regular applications available on each college’s website. If you’re considering using the common application, read the instructions very carefully. Failure to do so will result in much more work! Please note that the common application saves time when used for multiple schools, but may take more time if you use it to apply to only one school.
- Continue visiting schools as possible – seeing a college in person gives you a much better perspective. Refer to the resources given to you by the College and Career Counselor during your junior meeting.
- Investigate Early Decision and/or Early Action application procedures and policies. If you plan on using one of these strategies, you need to begin working on your application over the summer. Contact the College and Career Counselor if you plan on using one of these strategies.
- Use the summer to begin crafting an essay. Take a look at one of the schools that you’re considering. Go to their webpage, then go to the admissions section, and find the application (online or printable). Usually the essay is near the end. Although the essay might change as the next year’s applications become available, and although different colleges will have their own essays, it’s a good idea to start thinking seriously about this process.
- Fill out the Activity form, College and Career Office Questionnaire, and parents do the Parent Brag Sheet and hand these in to College and Career office at the beginning of your senior year. This information is used for Mr. Struck to write recommendations.
Senior Year – September
- The September ACT date (senior year) is a good test to take if you are planning on taking the ACT this year.
- Know your application deadlines. It is your responsibility to meet the deadlines. Creating a chart with the deadlines and requirements of each school is recommended. Make sure the chart is somewhere you’ll see often.
- Visit the College and Career section of the website for scholarship information.
- Begin filling out applications either online or with paper applications. Use the Common Application for schools that accept it – it is a little more work; however, everything can be done online and you can “invite” teachers to do their recommendations and also “invite” Mr. Struck to do the school form – and everything is available to all the schools you choose on your common application online.
Senior Year – October
- The October SAT date is a good test to take if you are planning on taking the SAT this year.
- Continue working on applications.
- Request transcripts and recommendations – you must allow a minimum of two weeks for recommendations and transcripts – If you do the common app, that will be done online. Some schools use “SendEdu” for their online applications. For all others, use forms available in the College and Career Office (Samples enclosed).
- Early Decision applicants – watch your deadlines and remember the 2-week requirement for supporting documents.
Senior Year – November/December
- Retake the SAT if you have done more prep work and want to improve your scores. Colleges will often accept these scores as well. Fill in college codes when you register to send scores directly to them for free.
- Keep up your grades. Colleges look at mid-year reports and end-of-year transcripts and have the right to withdraw their acceptance if your grades go down, or if you drop classes that they think you’re going to take.
- Remember that SAT and ACT scores must be sent directly from the College Board or ACT at your request. Scores may no longer be sent from high schools.
- Send out all applications before Christmas vacation!!
Senior Year – January
- Attend the Financial Aid Seminar with your parents.
- Complete the FAFSA (available after January 1st). Also complete the CSS Profile if required by your colleges.
- Review financial aid procedures by visiting the “financial aid process” section of our website, and make sure you’re paying attention to each college’s procedures, requirements, and deadlines.
Senior Year – February to June
- Notify the College and Career Office of acceptance status from your colleges.
- Bring in copies of award letters from all colleges and other sources so we can acknowledge this information on the graduation program – nothing will be printed without copies for confirmation of all awards and scholarships.
- Decide where you will attend, send in your acceptance and deposit, and notify all other schools where you have been accepted that you have decided to go elsewhere. The deadline for accepting an offer is generally May 1st.