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College Planning Checklist

 Freshmen & Sophomores

  • Get to know your high school guidance counselors.
  • Develop good study skills.
  • Explore careers you find interesting
  • Take the SCOIS Interest Inventory Assessment to evaluate your personality, interests, and skills as they related to career selection
  • Complete your Individual Graduation Plan (IGP) and choose elective courses based on interests and career plans
  • Take challenging courses (College Prep and /or Honors Level).
  • Participate in extracurricular activities.  Create an activity record to update each year rather than try to remember every activity you participate in when it comes time to submit it with scholarship and college applications.

 Juniors

August September

  • Review your courses with your counselor.  Make sure you are taking the highest level of academic courses possible (CP and Honors) to prepare you for a rigorous college course load.
  • Collect college catalogs for schools you are interested in.
  • Remain involved in extracurricular activities (sports, clubs, band, volunteer activities, work, etc.).
  • Get and stay organized. Create files to keep copies of applications and correspondence. Set up a calendar to track important dates and deadlines.

October – November

  • Attend college fairs and financial aid nights.
  • Take the PSAT to qualify as a National Merit Scholar.
  • Familiarize yourself with scholarships/financial aid.  You will not be able to apply for most until your Senior year, but be prepared.

December

  • Review your PSAT and/or PLAN results (from 10th grade) with your counselor to determine if the SAT or ACT is best for you.
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT at least once based on your counselors recommendation according to your test scores and preparedness.
  • Talk with college friends home on break about what to expect.

January

  • Identify characteristics you want in a college (small, large, rural, city, coed, etc.).
  • Attend college fairs and financial aid nights, if you haven’t already done so.

February

  • Compare college requirements to your course load.
  • Thoughtfully select senior year courses with the aid of your Counselor and Teachers.
  • Utilize test prep software or study guides for the SAT and/or ACT.
  • Register to take the SAT and/or ACT at least once during 2nd semester.

March

  • Plan campus visits.
  • Narrow your college list to a reasonable number (68).
  • Estimate how much each college will cost.

April – May

  • Visit colleges.
  • Get a summer job to save extra money.
  • If considering a military academy or an ROTC scholarship, meet with your counselor before break.

Summer

  • Improve your reading and vocabulary skills.
  • Search for scholarships and ways to pay using online tools.
  • Combine vacation plans with campus visits.
  • Start working on your college application essays.
  • Talk to people in careers you find interesting.
  • Decide what teachers and/or community leaders you’ll ask to write recommendations.
  • Talk with college friends home for summer.

High School Seniors

August September

  • Verify that your transcripts are accurate.
  • Discuss your course load, college plans, and test scores with your counselor.
  • Attend Senior Parent Night with your parents.
  • Request college applications and information.
  • Arrange campus visits with your narrowed down list of 45 colleges.
  • Register to take the SAT/ACT at least once during 1st semester
  • Begin searching for scholarships and ways to pay (online and via the HAWK SCHOLARSHIP UPDATE).
  • Stay organized: File copies of applications and correspondence. Keep your calendar up-to-date tracking important dates and deadlines.

October

  • Ask for letters of recommendation to include with your admissions and/or scholarship applications.
  • Work on admissions application essays.
  • Attend college fairs and financial aid nights.
  • “Early Decision” candidates should complete college applications.  Submit completed application packets and Transcript Request Forms to Guidance.

November

  • Continue completing your college applications.
  • “Early Decision” deadline is often November 1 or 15.
  • Contact the Financial Aid Office at the college you choose to see which Financial Aid forms are required

December

  • Complete applications ideally by December 1.
  • Take SAT and/or ACT one last time to improve scores if necessary.
  • Stay organized.

January

  • Collect family tax information.
  • Complete and submit your FAFSA. You may begin the FAFSA anytime after January 1st.  Some student aid programs award funds on a first come, first serve basis until funds are depleted. Waiting too long to submit your FAFSA could be costly. 
  • Each year Trident Technical College sponsors a College Goal Day program where students and parents can receive assistance completing the FAFSA forms.  The program is held around the middle of February. 
  • Fill out and submit required financial aid forms. Follow instructions carefully and make copies.
  • Request Semester grades be sent to any colleges you are still considering and have already applied to.

February – March

  • College decisions start rolling in.  Report all acceptances to Guidance.
  • Carefully examine your Student Aid Report (SAR) when it arrives.
  • Don’t panic if you’re selected for verification. Just provide the college with the documents they need.
  • Stay on top of important financial aid/scholarship deadlines.
  • Respond quickly to college requests for additional documentation.
  • College acceptance and financial award letters start rolling.   

April

  • Make a decision, most colleges request your reply by May 1, and send your tuition deposit.
  • Notify other colleges you won’t be attending.
  • Mark your calendar with important deadlines (housing, meals, transportation, financial aid, etc.).
May
  • Request Final Transcripts be sent to the school you will be attending. These will not be mailed from the school until AFTER graduation.  Your school should receive them the 2nd3rd week of June.
  • Report ALL scholarship (academic, athletic, community, etc) awards to Mrs. Barber, including those you will not be accepting.
  • Respond quickly to requests and return necessary forms.
  • Make sure those funding scholarships know the address for the Financial Aid Office at the college you will attend.
  • Notify your Financial Aid Office of any additional funding you’ll be receiving (scholarships and loans, etc.).
  • Evaluate student loan lenders and take time to understand student loans, if required.

June

  • Graduation