Planning your way to College: Senior Action Plan


1. Narrow your list of colleges.  Meet with a counselor about them.

2. Download college applications and financial aid forms. 

3. Plan to visit as many of these colleges as possible.

4. Create a master list or calendar that includes:

• tests you’ll take and their fees, dates and registration deadlines

• college application due dates

• financial aid application forms required and their deadlines (aid applications may be due 

before college applications)

• other materials you’ll need (recommendations, transcripts, etc.)

• your high school’s own application processing deadlines

• If you can’t afford application or test fees, a counselor can help you request a fee waiver.

• If you have not had your SAT® /ACT scores sent to the college to which you are applying, be sure to contact the testing agency to have them sent.


• Try to finalize your college choices.

• Prepare Early Decision, Early Action or rolling admissions applications as soon as possible.

• Ask for counselor or teacher recommendations if you need them. Give each teacher or counselor an outline of your academic record and your extracurricular activities. For each recommendation, provide a stamped, addressed envelope and any college forms required.

• If you’re submitting essays, write first drafts and ask teachers and others to read them. If you’re applying for Early Decision, finish the essays for that application now.

• If you have not had your SAT/ACT scores sent to the college to which you are applying, be sure to contact the testing agency to have them sent.


• Nov. 1-15: For Early Decision admissions, colleges may require test scores and applications between these dates.

• Complete at least one college application by Thanksgiving.

• Counselors send transcripts to colleges. Give counselors the proper forms at least two weeks before colleges require them.


As you finish and send your applications and essays,  be sure to keep copies.

• If your college wants to see seventh-semester grades, be sure to give the form to your counselor.


• If you apply to colleges online, be sure to have your high school send a transcript — it goes to colleges separately by mail.

  • January 1 to March 2 FAFSA Application


• No senioritis, please! Accepting colleges do look at second-semester senior grades.


• Keep active in school. If you are wait-listed, the college will want to know what you have accomplished between the time you applied and the time you learned of its decision.


• You should receive acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-April. If you’ve not done so yet, visit your final college before accepting. As soon as you decide, notify your counselor of your choice.

• If you have questions about housing offers, talk to your counselor or call the college.


• May 1: Colleges cannot require a deposit or commitment to attend before May 1. By that postmarked date, you must inform every college of your acceptance or rejection of the offer of admission and/or financial aid. (Questions? Talk to your counselor.)

• Send your deposit to one college only.

• Wait-listed by a college? If you will enroll if accepted, tell the admissions director your intent and ask how to strengthen your application. Need financial aid? Ask whether funds will be available if you’re accepted.

• Work with a counselor to resolve any admissions or financial aid problems.


• Ask your high school to send a final transcript to your college.