College Application "To Do" List

Organize you application process

A "To Do" list can help you keep track of the things you need to accomplish as you go through the process of applying. Decide a start and end date for each task you need to get done, and check off each task as you complete it. Here are some suggestions for your list:

  • Meet with your counselor early in the fall of your senior year to discuss your plans.
  • Make a list of the schools you are interested in.
  • Write to those schools to request information and applications for admission. Ask about admissions requirements, financial aid, and deadlines.
  • If you haven’t already done so, visit the schools you are most interested in and talk with students, professors, and counselors at those schools.
  • Register for and take the ACT, SAT Reasoning, and SAT Subject Tests and any other tests required for admission to the colleges to which you are applying. If you have difficulty paying the registration fee, see your guidance counselor about getting a fee waiver. (For more on these tests, click here.)
  • When you complete your college admissions applications, make sure you follow all instructions carefully and pay particular attention to application deadlines. At least two weeks before the application deadline, ask your counselor and teachers to submit any necessary documents to the college (such as grade transcripts or letters of recommendation).
  • Make sure the admissions offices at each school to which you have applied have received your application material and that they have received everything they need from you.
  • As soon as possible after January 1 of your senior year in high school, complete any necessary applications for financial assistance (such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid [FAFSA] and the appropriate state aid/scholarship applications).  Before beginning this application process, make sure you and your parents have completed the necessary income tax forms.
  • Your applications need to be correct and submitted on time so they’ll be processed quickly. Contact the financial aid offices at the schools to which you have applied to make sure those schools have everything they need from you.
  • You will begin to hear from the schools to which you applied in the early spring. Compare the offers that come from the schools that accept you. Compare acceptance letters and financial aid/scholarship offers.
  • Decide which offer you will accept by May 1 and notify that school by mailing your commitment deposit check.
  • Keep copies of each document you submit so you will have records for your files.

The information on this site was produced by the US Dept. of Education and has been compiled by the site owners. We are not responsible for accuracy or completeness. Site design (c)2007

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