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College Planning Timeline

11th Grade
All 11th grade planning steps are shown.
College Planning steps are highlighted.

Fall Semester
Maintaining your grades during your junior year is important!
Colleges put a lot of weight on your marks for this year.
Make sure you're challenging yourself academically.
Colleges will consider how difficult your courses are.
Now is the time to really focus your career and college research.
As you research education and career options, share your discoveries with your family.
You'll be working together a lot over the next couple of years as you leave high school and enter college or pursue another path.
If your schedule permits, stay involved in school and community activities.
Talk to your guidance counselor (or teachers, if you don't have access to a guidance counselor) about the following:
Availability of and enrollment in AP classes
The possibility of concurrent enrollment: taking college-level courses before you graduate from high school
Schedules for the PSAT, SAT I and SAT Subject Tests, ACT and AP exams
Why you should take these exams and how they could benefit you
Which of these exams would be the best fit for you — and then sign up for those tests. Remember, you can always change your mind
How to start getting ready for the exams!
Your academic record. Review it with your counselor and talk about ways to improve
The admissions requirements for the colleges you're interested in. Do your research, and be sure to find out about any additional requirements on top of GPA and test scores
August:
Obtain schedules and forms for the SAT I, SAT Subject Tests, ACT and AP exams.
September:
Register for the PSAT exam offered in October.
Remember that when you take the PSAT in your junior year, the scores will count towards the National Achievement Program (and it is good practice for the SAT I).
Start a file for college catalogs and other admissions information.
Keep an eye out for college nights at any schools in your area you may want to attend.
October:
Take the PSAT if you registered for it this month.
Narrow your list of colleges to include a few colleges with requirements at your current GPA, a few with requirements above your current GPA, and at least one with requirements below your GPA.
Begin scheduling interviews with admissions counselors.
If possible, schedule tours of the school grounds on the same days.
You and your parent(s) may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation so you don't have to miss school.
December:
You will receive your scores from the October PSAT if you took it that month.
Depending on the results, you may want to consider signing up for free online SAT prep.
Spring Semester
If you're choosing your senior year classes, look for classes that will give you a strong transcript.
You'll also want to look for classes that will fit your college study plans.
Consider looking for a summer job or internship.
Not only can you earn money for college, you can also learn valuable skills.
January:
Continue with your campus tours online or in person.
You want to be narrowing down your list of potential colleges.
February:
Register for the March SAT or the April ACT, or both.
Research the requirements of the colleges you're interested in to learn about admission deadlines and which tests to take.
March:
Take the March SAT I exam if you registered to take it this month.
If you are interested in taking an AP exam, you should sign up now.
If your school does not offer the AP exams, check with your guidance counselor to find schools in the area that do administer the exams, as well as the dates and times they're offered.
April:
Take the April ACT test if you registered for this month.
May:
Take the AP, SAT I and SAT Subject Tests exams.
Talk to teachers about writing letters of recommendation for you.
Think about what you would like to include in these and politely ask your teachers if they can help.
June:
Add any new report cards, test scores, honors or awards from the year to your file.
Continue with your college visits. Call ahead for appointments with the financial aid, admissions and academic advisors at the colleges in which you are most interested.
If you go on interviews or visits, don't forget to send thank-you notes.
Take the SAT I, SAT Subject Tests and the ACT tests if you're registered.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
Continue to work on your application essays and review the application procedures for the colleges you plan to apply to.
Decide if you are going to apply under any early decision or early action programs.
This requires you to submit your applications early, typically between October and December of your senior year.
Read your college mail and send reply cards to your schools of interest.