High School Senior College Checklist

As an upcoming high school senior, you may be thinking ahead to college. There are a lot of different things to do and dates to have on your calendar. For those that plan to continue their education beyond high school, several things must be done so that you are properly prepared for your freshman year of college. Making a list and prioritizing it by deadline is a helpful way to make sure that everything is taken care of in plenty of time so that you can have things lined up and enjoy your last year of high school. A little bit of planning now will ensure that you have nothing to worry about later. Below are a few things to keep in mind so that no deadlines are missed.

FAFSA: The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for the academic year of 2012-2013 is not currently available, but it will be on January 1, 2012. You only need to file once for each academic year and filing early is always best. The deadline for the 2012-2013 academic year will be June 30, 2013. Receiving free money like government grants can truly depend on how early you file, so keep that January 1 date in mind.  Once those government grants are gone, the only options available for federally funding your education would be student loans or work study programs. When filling out the FAFSA, you will need your parents’ tax and income information for 2011 and you can choose what schools you want your award information sent to. You can pick several schools to receive this information, which is helpful if you haven’t picked your college when you start filling out your FAFSA.

SAT/ACT Deadlines: Standardized testing is a major part of being admitted to many of the colleges across the country. Different schools may require one test over another, and some will take either one. Figure out which test your potential college requires and give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the test, take the test and have your scores sent to your potential school. If you are still narrowing down what school you want to attend, have your scores sent to all colleges on your list. Your scores can lead to scholarship offers, so be sure to check on specific deadlines for submission to ensure you are considered. There are several tests given throughout the year, but the next upcoming ACT test is on September 10 with a registration deadline of August 12. There is a late registration deadline of August 26. For those taking the SAT, the next test will be on October 1 with a registration date of September 9. There is also a late registration date of September21 for the SAT test. Keep in mind that there are additional fees involved when you do the late registration, so early is always better.

Application Deadlines: You have to apply to be admitted to college, so don’t overlook this important step. Applying to college means having your high school transcripts submitted along with your standardized test scores. Make sure you are on top of the deadline for the school you want to attend, and then you can have your test scores sent when they are available. Some colleges require that you write an essay about yourself and provide info on why they should admit you to their school. If you are applying to several different colleges, get your materials ready for the school that has the earliest deadline, and submit all applications at once if you can. This will reduce the work for you and help you get some applications in early. Sending everything in early is always better than waiting until the last minute. Get familiar with your high school timeline for getting preparing your transcripts so that you will have all of your materials ready to go when necessary.

Getting ready for college will be a lot less stressful if you keep a good timeline and are aware of important deadlines. Getting all of the above tasks handled as early as possible will allow you to enjoy your last year of high school, and be confident in knowing you are ready to attend college when the time comes.

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