College Planning Timeline for High School Seniors

It’s time for your final year of high school and there’s lots to do to get ready for college next year. Let us help. Here’s a timeline to keep in mind to stay on top of everything for your senior year:

September / October

  • Complete and submit college applications for admission. (Consider the deadlines.)
  • Ask your favorite teacher, coach, youth pastor, and/or guidance counselor for recommendation letters.
  • Complete your college visits.
  • You can file your FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) beginning Oct. 1.
  • Talk with college representatives that visit your high school.
  • Research possibilities of scholarships. Ask your guidance counselor, your college admissions counselors, and your religious/civic groups about scholarship opportunities. You should never pay for scholarship information.
  • Create a checklist and calendar to chart:
    • Standardized test dates, registration deadlines, and fees
    • College application due dates
    • Financial aid application forms and deadlines
    • Other materials you’ll need for college applications (recommendations, transcripts, essays, etc.)
    • Your high school’s application processing deadlines

November / December

  • Retake the SAT and ACT to raise your scores and have the results sent to your top choice colleges.
  • Complete and submit college applications for admission. (Consider the deadlines.)
  • Request official transcripts be mailed to the schools where you are applying.
  • Apply for academic, athletic, and other achievement scholarships from the schools where you have been accepted. (Consider the deadlines.)

January / February

  • Receive your acceptance letters from colleges you applied to.
  • Complete and submit the FAFSA (www.fafsa.ed.gov) before the deadline for the schools you are considering (NOTE: Goshen College’s priority FAFSA deadline is March 1). If you need assistance, attend College Goal Sunday in your local area.

March / April

  • Complete any other financial aid forms required by your top choice colleges.
  • Acceptance letters and financial aid offers will start to arrive. Review your acceptances, compare financial aid packages and visit your final choices, especially if you haven’t already. Make final decision on what college to attend.
  • Send in your enrollment deposit to top choice college or university before May 1. This deposit is refundable by written request before May 1.

May

  • Finalize financial aid paperwork and decide on payment plan option.
  • Sign up for your summer orientation and registration (SOAR) date.
  • Congrats on graduating from high school!

June / July

  • Have your high school send your final transcript to your college of choice.
  • Send in residence life information, health forms and other required paperwork.

August

  • Start packing.
  • If living on-campus, talk with your roommate to decide who will be bringing what items.
  • If living off-campus, find out about commuter student resources such as lounges, computer labs and parking.
  • Congratulations! It’s time to start college!