ACT & SAT Prep and College Admissions Blog

College Application Timeline

Posted by Lisa Alvarado on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 10:00 AM



  • Take the ACT/SAT
  • Take time this summer to volunteer or shadow a professional


  • Go on campus visits to start narrowing down your college list


  • Get started on Common App Essay* (brainstorm, outline, drafts)
  • Create a college list taking into consideration: academics, graduation rate, majors, size, location, school resources, campus life.
  • Be sure to apply to at least 4 schools. Your college list should include at least:
    • 1 Safety school (a college you’re confident that you can get into)
    • 2 Good Fits (colleges that you’re pretty sure you can get into)
    • 1 Reach (a college you have a chance of getting into, but it’s a stretch)


  • Ask teachers/coaches/mentors to write you letters of recommendation
  • Talk to your counselor to see if you’re eligible for application fee waivers
  • Retake the ACT/SAT if you were unhappy with your original scores
  • Register for/take SAT subject tests if a college you are applying to requires themResearch Early Action/Decision deadlines*


  • Create a master list listing all school’s application fees, requirements & deadlines
  • Create log-ins for all applications and financial aid forms
  • Acquaint yourself with the Common App, over 475 schools participate
  • Complete any Early Action decision applications


  • Some of your application are due this month
  • Use an application checklist for each school to track what is complete/needed
  • Your Recommenders should give you or submit any Letters of recommendation
  • Finalize your essays (have your English teacher or a strong writer review it)
  • Send test scores to universities
  • Request an off transcript from your high school to be sent to universities


  • Complete FAFSA- apply for federal grant and loans*
  • Search for scholarships
  • Keep your grades up
  • Complete and submit all applications 


  • Apply for scholarships


  • Review your FAFSA report/ EFC*
  • Keep applying to scholarships


  • Study for AP Exams


  • Evaluate Admissions letters and make a decision
  • Review financial aid award, from universities admitted to                       


  • Take AP exams
  • Accept Admission
  • Send in deposit to hold your spot in the incoming class
  • Select Housing
  • Select Meal Plan




  • Send final high school final transcript to university you will attend
  • Complete student loan applications             
  • Thank those who helped you


  • Attend Freshman Orientation
  • Take placement exams*
  • Get a physical


  • Begin College! 


College Admission Glossary: *

Common App - A standard application form accepted by all colleges that are members of the Common Application association. You can fill out this application once and submit it to any one — or several — of the 475-plus colleges that accept it.

Early Action (EA) An option to submit your applications before the regular deadlines. When you apply early action, you get admission decisions from colleges earlier than usual.

Early Decision (ED) An option to submit an application to your first-choice college before the regular deadline. When you apply early decision, you get an admission decision earlier than usual. Early decision plans are binding. You agree to enroll in the college immediately if admitted and offered a financial aid package that meets your needs

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) You fill out this application to receive financial aid from the federal government to help you pay for education expenses at an eligible college. This can include; grants, loans and work-study.

EFC (Expected Family Contribution) - This is the number that’s used to determine your eligibility for federal student financial aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA®, the application for federal student aid. Your EFC is reported to you on your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Placement exams - Tests that measure the academic skills needed for college-level work. They cover reading, writing, math and sometimes other subjects. Placement test results help determine what courses you are ready for and whether you would benefit from remedial classes.


Topics: College Applications, college advice, college timeline