High School Student Timeline

This college planning timeline should help you to keep track of what you need to do throughout the high school years to make college planning less stressful and a lot easier.

Graduation may seem far away, but getting ready for college takes planning and preparation—starting the first day of ninth grade.

         
   


9th grade 

   

 

 

10th grade

   
   

  • Take interest and skills assessments to help you explore careers options.
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  • Talk with your school counselor about career options and the education required for those careers.
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  • Talk with your parents about saving and paying for college.
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  • Talk with friends, teachers, counselors and your parents about college.
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  • Check if your school requires 10th graders to take the PLAN to prepare for the ACT.
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  • Participate in extracurricular activities.
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  • Review your high school class plan. Take the most difficult classes you can handle. Stay focused on your schoolwork.
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  • Sign up for classes that will earn college credit during your junior year through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Postsecondary Enrollment Options or College in the Schools.
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  • Explore internships and apprenticeships.
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  • Enroll in a summer enrichment program.
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11th grade

   

 

   

 

 Fall

   

 

   

 

   

Winter

   

 

   

Spring

   
   
  • Sign up for the PSAT test.
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  • Attend college and career fairs in your area.
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  • Register for any AP tests that you will take in the spring. (optional)
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  • Start looking for financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Search online or ask for resources at the public library or high school counseling office.
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  • Decide which spring tests you will take. SAT tests are only offered specific weekends, so check for scheduling conflicts and plan ahead.
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  • Practice! Take at least one practice test to prepare for SATs or the ACT that are offered in the spring.
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  • Register for the SAT I. Ask an advisor or educator how to get a waiver if you can’t afford the fee for any test.
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  • Begin approaching your adviser, teachers and other mentors with questions about college and how to apply.
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  • Visit college websites and look through college pamphlets. Make a list of 10-15 schools that interest you.
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12th grade

   

Fall

   

 

   

 

   

 

   

 

   

 Winter   

 

 

 

   

 

 Spring   

 

 

 

 

   

 Summer   

  
  • Make time to visit your top college choices.
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  • Meet with your school counselor to make sure you’re academically on track for the college of your choice.
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  • Meet with the admissions representatives of your top three schools.
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  • Make a list of due dates for forms completed and information already sent.
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  • Begin asking for letters of recommendation from your teachers, guidance counselors and employers.
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  • Start your scholarship search
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  • Begin working on admission application essays.
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  • Attend special programs, such as college fairs and financial aid workshops.
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  • Obtain any additional financial aid applications or material required by your colleges.
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  • Begin all college applications.
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  • Check deadlines for due dates when applications need to be postmarked.
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  • Apply for your FAFSA PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.
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  • Gather materials to fill out the FAFSA.
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  • Submit your FAFSA as soon after January 1st as possible. Use estimated figures if family tax returns are not yet completed.
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  • Keep copies of all forms you submit.
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  • Check to see if your mid-year high school transcripts have been sent to your colleges.
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  • Look into taking AP or College-Level Examination Program Exams.
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  • Rank your finalized list of colleges.
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  • Look for your Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail or electronically, depending on how you submitted your FAFSA.
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  • Submit your SAR to any colleges you did not indicate on your FAFSA.
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  • If you have not received your SAR, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243.
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  • Have your final high school transcript sent to the colleges to which you've applied.
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  • Choose a college and notify in writing those you don't plan to attend.
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  • Send in any required forms or deposits.
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  • Review orientation materials from the college you selected.
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  • If living on campus, check with the college for a list of what's provided by the school and what the school expects the student to provide.
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  • Contact your roommate.
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For more information click here to for college checklist provided by FAFSA

   

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