Timeline for College Admissions

by Carol Chandler-Wood

The college admissions process involves many steps, and it is important for students to be aware and execute them beginning their freshman year in high school. Following is a list of many of the more important steps to take:

Freshman Year

  • Meet with you school counselor to discuss your academic goals and school curriculum
  • Begin to review college resources
  • Begin to achieve your high school GPA
  • Continue saving money for tuition
  • Join clubs in which you have a shared interest
  • Begin obtaining teacher recommendations

Sophomore Year

  • Begin taking a foreign language
  • Take the PSAT in October
  • Take a career interest survey
  • Take on a challenging part time job
  • Volunteer for special community projects and events
  • Travel if possible
  • Continue your studies, achieving good grades, reviewing college resources, saving tuition, participation in clubs, and obtaining teacher recommendations
  • Take SAT IIs as you successfully complete courses

Junior Year

  • Take the PSAT again and analyze your score for areas of improvement needed and to possibly qualify for the National Merit Scholarship
  • Consider taking a third year of foreign language
  • Attend a college fair
  • Find out if SAT IIs are required by the colleges to which you plan to apply
  • Review and revise your list of colleges to which you are interested in applying
  • Visit prospective schools in an official visit
  • Set up a filing system with individual folders for each college
  • Take both the ACT and SAT on one of the spring national test dates
  • Look for financial aid and scholarships opportunities
  • Continue the steps for the freshman and sophomore years
  • Look for a summer job

Senior Year

  • Continue steps included during the Junior year
  • Take the SAT and ACT again if desired
  • Attend college and financial fairs
  • Continue college official visits and inquiries
  • Schedule interview with admissions officer
  • Request college applications
  • Complete financial aid and scholarship applications
  • Pay special attention to details and deadlines and create a checklist of such
  • Obtain additional recommendations from teachers, counselors and others
  • Draft your essay early so it does not hold up your application submission
  • Fight off Senioritis and maintain high grades
  • Take Advanced Placement exams
  • Request final transcripts to be sent to colleges


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