Planning for College: a High School Timetable

One of the biggest mistakes students make in planning for college is not starting soon enough. Don’t wait until your senior year to take the ACT or the SAT test. Don’t wait until your senior year to take tough classes. Don’t wait until your senior year to become concerned about your grade point average. Don’t wait until your senior year to decide to go to college.

9th Grade:

  • Now: Write to colleges that interest you. Ask about requirements for admissions. Plan your high school schedule accordingly.
  • During the year: Get involved in one or two activities you like best, then work toward leadership positions in later years. Don’t spread yourself too thin with too many activities.
  • Next Spring: Sign up for tougher classes that will be available next school year.


10th Grade:

  • Now: Take tough classes.
  • During the year:Concentrate on getting good grades and participating in extracurricular and/or service projects.


11th Grade

  • Now: Narrow your field to eight or ten colleges that have what you want in courses, location, and extracurricular activities. (Check more that one directory in your counselor’s office or public library, because they sometimes contradict each other.)
  • Until December: Write to colleges on your list to inquire about admissions requirements and financial aid procedures. Ask about “merit aid”, not based on financial need. Write to different service clubs and organizations about scholarships they provide.
  • October Take PSAT Test: Qualify for National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • April - June: TAKE SAT OR ACT TEST.
  • July & August: Try to reduce your list of schools to four or five and visit them. Talk to admissions and financial aid officers, and take a campus tour.


12th GRADE

  • Now: Sign up to take SAT or ACT again this fall.
  • October: Select schools to which you will apply and write for application forms and financial aid information. Take campus tours.
  • November: Solicit written recommendations from counselors, teachers, and people in the community. Take campus tours.
  • December: Mail applications, transcripts, recommendations, and financial requests. (EVEN IF SCHOOL DEADLINES ARE LATER, APPLICATIONS RECEIVED EARLY ARE READ MORE CAREFULLY.)
  • January: Call admissions offices of schools where you have applied and ask if you have forgotten anything. (THIS WILL CONFIRM THAT YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED.) Ask your high school counselor for financial aid forms, complete the forms, and mail as soon as possible.
  • March - May: Wait for the mail.  


Source: Highland High School Counseling Office; Salt Lake City School District