College Planning

Planning For College Starts In Your Senior Year

Senior year in high school is the start of a new life cycle for most teenagers. For many, it means they will be making a career choice after their high school graduation, while for others it means planning for a college education or vocational or technical school training. And for some, it might mean joining one of the armed services.

If college is your goal, there are many activities you need to plan, including investigating your college and university options, planning your testing schedule, and making early admission decisions ‒ just to name a few. You also will need to work with your parents to plan college finances, visits and academic decisions.

For those considering college, there are ways to take charge of the process and make it easier for both you and your parents. Here is a breakdown of activities and timelines to help you take charge of your senior year. You can print this page and use it when planning for college. The worksheet includes a suggested month to start each process, but the earlier you start planning, the better. You can download the worksheet here.

August Your Senior Year

Make a list of colleges that interest you.

College                        Need More Information?

1. ______________________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________________

Applying for early decisions? Record the colleges and application deadlines here:

College                                            Application Due                               Test Scores

1. ______________________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________________

September Your Senior Year

Start compiling your letters of recommendations from teachers, employers, friends in the community, activities advisors, etc. List the people here. Check them off when you have received the letters.

Name                                                                                      Returned

1. ______________________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________________

Have you registered for the SATs or ACTs ? Yes ___ No ____________

If yes, Date __________ Time _________ Place _______________

You can still make it for the fall testing period. Meet with your guidance counselor for information.

October Your Senior Year

If you are planning to apply for early decisions, complete and submit your applications now. Be sure you have correctly noted their dates.

College                                                                                    Applications Deadline

1. ______________________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________________

November Your Senior Year

Start writing application essays for each college. Give to an English teacher or guidance counselor to review:

College                          Draft                     Final                        Ready

1. ______________________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________________

Have your first-semester grades been sent to the schools to which you are applying.

College                                                                                                           Date Sent

1. ______________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________

Take SAT or ACT tests.

Date __________ Time _________ Place _________________

December Your Senior Year

Complete all college applications and mail with all accompanying materials, essays, letters of recommendation, etc.

College                                                                                                           Date Sent

1. ______________________________________________________________

2. ______________________________________________________________

3. ______________________________________________________________

4. ______________________________________________________________

Visit your guidance counselor to discuss scholarship and grant opportunities.

January Your Senior Year

Begin gathering tax information. Your parents will need an estimate of their previous year’s income tax (1040) for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form must be completed by students and parents applying for Federal Title IV student aid.

January

Parents should get their taxes completed and complete the forms.

Income Tax Forms ______________________ Date Completed ________

FAFSA Forms __________________________ Date Completed ________

February Your Senior Year

Complete and send the financial aid forms for each college you have applied to. Be sure to make copies and keep them in a safe place.

College                                                   FAFSA             Income Tax     Financial Aid

1. _______________________      ______            _________      __________

2. _______________________      ______            _________      __________

3. _______________________      ______            _________      __________

4. _______________________      ______            _________      __________

Investigate scholarship and grant opportunities. Check with guidance counselor for:

Eligible Apply

1. Community Organizations                                        ______            _____

2. Corporate Scholarships                                            ______            _____

3. State Grants (PELL)                                                   ______            _____

4. Corporate Grants                                                        ______            _____

5. Credit Union Scholarships                                        ______            _____

February / March Your Senior Year

Have you received your Receipt of Student Aid Reports (SAR), the federal output document sent to a student by the application processor? The student’s eligibility for aid is indicated by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is printed on the front of the SAR.

What is your EFC? ___________ Can you afford it? _________

Start reviewing borrowing options. Contact your credit union. If you don’t have an account there, ask your parents, aunt, uncle, or grandparent to recommend you for membership. This simple step will make you eligible for many credit union benefits.

March / April Your Senior Year

Which colleges have accepted you? How much aid are they offering?

College                                          Cost                   Aid Offered                  Your EFC

1. ____________________    ____                __________                _________

2. ____________________    ____                __________                _________

3. ____________________    ____                __________                _________

4. ____________________    ____                __________                _________

Do you need to take out a loan? Yes ___ No ___

Ask the financial aid office about these loan options:

Loan                                                   Amt. Avail.                Eligible              Apply

1. Subsidized Stafford                         ____                _________      ______

2. Unsubsidized Stafford                    ____                _________      ______

3. Federal PLUS Loans                      ____                _________      ______

Contact your credit union for information about their student loan programs.

May / April Your Senior Year

Which college have you chosen? _______________________________________

How much will you need to borrow?
$ __________________________________

How much can you borrow from your credit union? $_______________________

How much can your parents borrow from home equity? $_____Other? $_____

Find a summer job? _________________________________________________

How much do you need to earn each week? $______________________________

Check out local scholarship/grant status? ________________________________

July / August After Graduation

Get ready for college!

All forms submitted? Yes___ No ___

Dorm Selection ___________________ Meal plan ________________________

Health Plan ___________________ Course Selection ______________________

Shopping completed:
Sheets/blankets _____Clothes _____ Lamps/rugs/posters _______ Other _______

Important matters:

Address Book _____ Checking account/debit card ____ Phone Card _____

August / September After Graduation

Orientation Dates: __________________________________________________

Freshman Activities Dates: ___________________________________________

_________________________________________________________

Classes Start: ______________________________________________________

Source: Excerpted from the Marketing Partners College Planner.

 

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