Weekly College Column

Senior Timeline — Ouch, there’s still more to do…

Over the last two weeks, I have shared timelines for Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors. This week the focus is on Seniors. So if you’re currently a senior or the parent of a senior; you can move to February. However, if you’re a junior, this is what’s in store for you for next fall and beyond.

Senior Year—Apply to colleges. Make decisions. Finish high school with pride in yourself.


• Make a list of all your colleges with their specific deadlines
• Decide if applying Early Decision (binding) makes sense for you. See which schools on your list offer Early Action (non-binding)
• Review your transcript and brag sheet/resume to ensure their accuracy.
• Register for the SAT or ACT testing through the end of the year
• Ask teachers/employers, etc., to write Letters of Recommendation, if you didn’t ask in the spring of the junior year. Write thank you notes to those who have written recommendations and keep them informed of your decisions.
• Plan visits to colleges and set up interviews, if available. Talk with current students and professors.

• Complete the FAFSA – FAFSA Deadline has moved earlier, from Jan 1 to Oct 1. FAFSA is using “prior-prior-year” tax returns.


• Go to College Fairs – view schedules on NACAC’s Web site (www.nacacnet.org) & the Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs.

• Submit applications. Many colleges now have October 15 and November 1 early deadlines
• Check with your guidance counselor to make sure your transcript and test scores have been/will be sent.
• Submit financial aid information if requested from early decision/action candidates.


• Take the ACT, and SAT. Don’t forget to have test scores sent to colleges on your list. Wait until you see your returned scores, if possible.
• Work hard and make sure your first quarter grades are good.
• Continue completing applications to colleges. Make copies of all applications before mailing the applications.
• Keep all records, test score reports, and copies of applications for admission and financial aid. Do not throw anything away until at least the end of your first year in college. Having detailed records will save you time and effort should anything be lost or should you decide to apply in the future to other colleges and scholarship programs.

• If more than four weeks have passed after sending in your FAFSA and you have not received an acknowledgment, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Service at 319/337-5665 or toll-free, at 800/433-3243. To identify you, they will need your name, social security number, address, and date of birth exactly as it was written on your FAFSA.


• Have official test scores sent to colleges on your list if you have not done so.
• Submit regular decision applications with due dates of January 1 or after.
• If you applied for Early Decision, you should have an answer by mid-December. If you are accepted, follow the instructions for admitted students and also notify the other schools where you’ve already submitted applications. If the decision is deferred until spring or you are denied, submit applications now to other colleges.


• Keep working on your grades! Courses continue to count throughout the senior year.
• Request that your counselor send the mid-year transcript with first semester grades to the colleges where you applied and haven’t received notifications.


• Remember to monitor your applications to be sure that all materials have been sent and were received on time and that they are complete. Stay on top of things and don’t procrastinate; you can ruin your chances for admission by missing a deadline.
• Complete scholarship applications. You may be eligible for more scholarships than you think, so apply for as many as you can.
• Enjoy your final year in high school, but don’t catch senioritis!


• Revisit colleges for “Accepted Student Days” to help make your decision.


• Review your college acceptances and financial aid awards. Be sure to compare financial aid packages in your decision-making process. If you are positive you will not enroll at one or more of the colleges that accepted you, please inform those colleges you have selected another college. Keeping colleges abreast of your plans might enable those colleges to admit someone else.

May 1
• Decide on one college by May 1 (National College Decision Day) and send in the tuition deposit. Notify the other colleges that accepted you that you have selected another college.

• Notify colleges of your interest if you were wait-listed. Do not lose all hope. Some students are admitted off the waiting list. Talk with your counselor, and contact the college and ask them what their procedure is for notifying wait-listed students. Keep the college updated on your activities.
• Take Advanced Placement examinations, if appropriate, and request that your AP scores be sent to the college you will attend.

June – July

• Request that your counselor send your final transcript to the college you will attend. Notify the college of any private scholarships or grants you will be receiving.

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@bierercollegeconsulting.comwww.bierercollegeconsulting.com

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