Quite easily, missing a deadline can happen, but in doing so you can suffer the consequences. The following is an overview of the schedule you can follow in you final year of high school to ensure that you are ready to go off to college.
Junior Year Summer
The day after you complete your junior year of high school begins a summer of preparation that will culminate with your high school graduation one year later. Your junior year summer should combine work, fun and college visits, the latter of critical importance at this time.
Plan your summer college campus visits before your junior year ends. Those visits may coincide with a family vacation or be taken separately. Plan to visit three or four of the top colleges on your list, arranging for guided tours as well as for making impromptu visits. Scratch off from the list any college that does not meet your requirements.
First Month Back
As soon as you begin your senior year of high school, make an appointment with your guidance counselor. Discuss your plans and find out what steps you must take to get ready for college. Do not put this off as counselors will be holding hundreds of meetings with college-bound seniors over the coming months.
Talk with your parents about financial matters. You may discover that financial aid will play an important role in determining your college choice. Know this information and plan accordingly. Obtain online applications and begin to fill out applications for schools that are high on your list.
October and November
These two months will be very busy for you especially if you plan to apply to colleges early. Take note that early admissions deadlines usually fall on Nov. 1, therefore complete your applications, write your essays, obtain your recommendations and begin applying.
Fall is also when college entrance examinations are offered. Take the SAT or ACT and, register to take it again in the spring. Your highest scores will be what your college accepts.
As the Year Turns
December and January are very active months as applications are all other attendees are sent off. Fill out your financial aid information, apply for college scholarships and obtain recommendations from teachers, your guidance counselor, camp counselors, your youth pastor or your employer. Early acceptance letters begin to arrive at this time too.
No earlier than Jan. 1 can you fill out your FAFSA. Make application online and work with your parents to complete preliminary tax information. Speak with your guidance counselor about financial aid and continue to follow your deadlines.
As winter begins to wind down, your college preparation will heat up. Review your Student Aid Report to determine how much aid you can expect to receive.
At this point, you will need to narrow your college list to two or three schools. You may need to make additional campus visits before March comes to an end.
By April, you will need to make a decision on the school you want to attend. Notification deadlines are typically on May 1, therefore make your decision, send in your deposit money and fill out related paperwork. Inform the schools that have accepted you — the one that you don’t plan to attend — of your decision.
As the school year winds down, make sure that you maintain your grades. You’re doing all the things that you want to do to make memories while getting ready for college, so make sure that the senior slump isn’t part of the equation.
Use these last few months to create a schedule that will see you through your summer between high school and college, and get you ready to leave for school. Find a summer job, accept your college scholarships, develop a student budget and make sure that your final high school transcripts are forwarded to your college.
High school students can feel completely overwhelmed as they prepare for college. This is where your family comes in, especially mothers and fathers.
Parents can work with their students to ensure that a schedule is made and followed. The timely completion of required forms from parents, including financial information, is important. Parents will also accompany their sons and daughters on campus trips, knowing when to speak up and when to let their offspring make decisions for themselves.
All family members can show support by understanding the pressures, excitement, disappointment, nervousness and stress that the final year of high school can bring about. Everyone can help make a positive contribution to bring forth memories that will last a lifetime.