Senior Year College Application Timeline

Bibliography of Books on the College Application Process

August / September

  • Register for the SAT and/or the ACT if you didn’t take the test as a junior or if you aren’t satisfied with your score. Remember that the Guidance Office may be able to help you with fee waviers.
  • Take a look at some college applications and consider all the different pieces of information you will need to compile.
  • Visit the Guidance Office to make sure that you are on track to graduate and fulfill college admissions requirements. It may be helpful to have a list of potential colleges in mind, as colleges may have different admissions requirements.
  • Consider dual enrollment.
  • Take every opportunity to get to know colleges: meet with college representatives who visit EMHS during the fall, attend local college fairs and visit campuses.
  • Narrow down your list of colleges and begin to consider “safe,” “reach,” and “realistic” schools. Make sure you have the application and financial aid information from these schools. Find out if you qualify for any scholarships at these schools.
  • Create a checklist and calendar to keep track of standardized test dates and registration deadlines, college application due dates, financial aid deadlines, and deadlines for completing essays, procuring transcripts and requesting letters of recommendation.


  • Register for the SAT and/or the ACT if you didn’t take the test as a junior or if you aren’t satisfied with your score. Remember that the Guidance Office may be able to help you with fee waviers.
  • Some colleges have deadlines as early as this month. These would include rolling admission, priority, early decision and early action deadlines.
  • If you cannot afford the application fees that many colleges charge, talk to the Guidance Office about requesting a fee wavier.
  • Finalize your college essay. Most colleges will require at least one essay with your application.
  • Request personal recommendations from teachers, counselors or employers. Provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope and provide the person who will be writing the letter any forms required by the college, a copy of your resume and academic record and any other pertinent information. Be sure the write a thank you once the person has completed your recommendation.
  • Research scholarships. Ask the Guidance Office, your college and your religious and civic groups about scholarship opportunities. Check the database of scholarships of interest on Naviance. There are also some good scholarship websites. You should NEVER pay for scholarship information.


  • Finalize and send any early decision or early action applications due this month. Have a parent, teacher, counselor or other adult review your application before it is submitted.
  • Every college will require a copy of your high school transcript. Talk to the Registrar in the Guidance Office about sending a transcript.
  • Make sure the ACT and/or SAT have sent your scores directly to the colleges to which you are applying.
  • The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will be available this month, but cannot be completed before January 1. This form will tell you what financial aid you are eligible to receive from the government. Ask in the Guidance Office for a copy, visit and attend the SPSO-sponsored workshop in February.


  • Begin to organize regular decision applications and financial aid forms, which will be due in January or February.
  • Register for the January SAT if needed. It is the last one colleges will be able to consider for a senior.


  • Many popular and selective colleges have deadlines as early as January 1. Others have deadlines later in January and February. Keep track of and observe deadlines for sending in all required fees and paperwork.
  • If necessary, register for the February ACT. Some colleges will be able to consider it.
  • Ask the Guidance Office to send first semester transcripts to the schools at which you applied. At the end of the school year, the Guidance Office will need to send final transcripts to the school which you will attend.
  • File the FAFSA. The sooner the FAFSA is completed, the sooner you will have an idea of your financial aid options. Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report – it should arrive four weeks after the FAFSA is filed.

February / March / April

  • 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.
  • Don’t slack in the classroom. The college you do attend will want to see your second semester transcript.


  • Many colleges require a commitment and a deposit by May 1. When you have made your college decision, notify the Guidance Office and the colleges. Send in your deposit. If you have been offered financial aid, accept the offer and follow the instructions given. Notify the schools you have decided not to attend.
  • Make sure you have requested that your final transcript be sent to the school you will be attending.
  • If you are “wait-listed” by the college you want to attend, visit, call and write the admissions office to make your interest clear. Ask how you can strengthen your application.


  • It has been a long journey through high school and college. Take time to enjoy your summer.
  • Getting a summer job can help pay some of your college expenses and give you great career preparation.
  • Make a list of what you will need to take with you to school. If you will be living in a dorm, furniture, prohibited items and room dimensions can usually be found by visiting your school’s website and searching under “Housing” or “Residence Life” for more information.
  • You will most likely get a roommate assignment from your college. Call, write or email to get acquainted in advance. Figure out what you each will be bringing to furnish your room.
  • Some colleges offer a summer orientation and registration. Make sure to attend in order to meet fellow students and other important people on campus and to familiarize yourself with your new school. This is often the time you sign up for your fall courses.