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Senior Timeline



  • Take the SAT or ACT if you haven't already done so or need to aim for higher scores. 
  • Request applications, brochures and financial aid information from the admissions offices of the colleges to which you are applying.
  • Make campus visits to as many of the colleges on your list as possible.  To get a feel for the campus, talk to students, take a tour, sit in on a class and try to stay overnight in a dorm. Be sure to schedule an admissions interview and meet with a financial aid officer.
  • Review admissions requirements for each college to which you are applying.
  • Request application materials for targeted scholarships and grants, and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for each program.


  • Manage your list of schools online, compare them side-by-side and track requirements for your applications for each college.
  • Ask teachers, counselors, coaches and other mentors to write recommendation letters.
  • Early action? If so, be careful to meet all application deadlines.  Most deadlines are in October or November.
  • Work on college application essays.
  • CSU Application can be submitted from Oct. 1 - Dec. 4.  Don't wait until December 4th!
  • Scholarship Search  -
  • Get a copy of the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or, after October 1, complete the FAFSA online at Get help tackling the FAFSA.
  • Male students who will be 18 at the time they complete the FAFSA must register with Selective Service.
  • Attend a Financial Aid Night (Cash for College) at a school in your area.
  • Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1


  • UC Applications can be submitted from Nov. 1 - 30.  Don't wait until November 30th!
  • Practice college interviews with trusted family members or friends.
  • UC Applications Due November 30th 
  • CSU Applications Due December 4th


  • Check your email for any requests from the colleges you have submitted applications.
  • You should complete and send in college applications and scholarship applications this month.
  • Send SAT ACT scores online to the colleges on your list. Avoid senioritis and stay focused.


  • Check your email for any requests from the colleges you have submitted applications.
  • Colleges like to see strong second semester grades, so avoid "senioritis!"


  • Check your email for any requests from the colleges you have submitted applications.
  • Most priority financial aid deadlines are in February.  Complete the necessary aid forms, including FAFSA and CSS/Financial Aid PROFILEKeep copies of everything that you send.
  • About four weeks after mailing in your FAFSA, you'll receive the Student Aid Report (SAR). Review it for accuracy.


  • Confirm your FAFSA submission by March 2
  • Check your email for any requests from the colleges you have submitted applications.
  • Look for a Summer opportunity—either a job, internship, or volunteer opportunity.  Real-world experience can give you a preview of careers in which you are interested in.


  • Most admission decisions and financial aid award letters arrive this month.  Read each carefully and note all reply deadlines.
  • Review financial aid packages.  Use the Compare Your Aid Awards tool to do a side-by-side comparison.
  • Send the enrollment form and deposit check to the college you will attend.
  • Notify the other colleges to which you were accepted of your decision.
  • If waitlisted by a college, contact the admission director to reiterate your interest in the school. 
  • Concentrate on studying for May AP®Exams.  Earn credit or advanced placement at many colleges with a qualifying grade.  Visit the AP Prep Center.


  • AP Exams are administered the first two weeks in May.  Scores should be sent to your final-choice college.
  • If it will be difficult for your family to pay the Expected Family Contribution for the semester, it's time to start pursuing alternatives such as parent loans or private loans to close the financial aid gap.
  • Taking SAT Subject Tests™ may enable you to place out of freshman academic requirements or help placement in advanced classes.
  • Send thank-you notes to teachers and other mentors who wrote recommendations.


  • A final transcript should be sent to your college.
  • Finalize summer plans.
  • Send thank-you notes to scholarship programs that have given you aid.
  • Notify the financial aid office of your college about any scholarships you've been offered.
  • Relax and enjoy yourself this summer.  You've earned it!
  • Start packing!