Checklist for College Planning

When to Begin What to Do How to do it
Freshman and Sophomore years

Learn about college requirements and continue exploring careers. Which high school courses satisfy college requirements? Have you taken ACT’s tenth grade test, PLAN? Are you involved in extracurricular activities?

Create a four-year high school curriculum plan. Review your PLAN test results. Try job shadowing. Get involved at school and in your community.
September - March of Junior year Think about your reasons for going to college. What are your goals? What learning opportunities’ are most important? Do your college plans include career plans?
Talk with your parents, counselors, teachers, and friends. Investigate possible career options and degree level required.
March - August of Junior year List colleges you are considering and collect information. Have you included all possible choices? What information do you need? How can you get it? Attend college fairs and college night programs. Prepare for and visit colleges. Take appropriate college admission test.
August - December of Senior year Compare the colleges on your list. Have you weighed pros and cons carefully? Which colleges will meet your needs?
Continue visiting colleges. Organize information into detailed useful comparisons.
September - December of Senior year Apply for admission to your “choice” colleges. Do you have all the necessary forms? Are you sure of the application deadlines?
Obtain application forms. Observe deadlines. Submit transcript and test scores (retest if necessary).
January - February of Senior year Apply for financial aid. Have you investigated all possible sources of aid? When should you apply? Consult financial aid office. Secure forms and not deadlines. Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1.
November - May of senior year Make some final decisions. What additional preparation might be helpful? Should you consider summer school? Do you feel comfortable with your final choice? Confer with parents and counselors. Confirm your decision, and decline other admission offers. Show initiative.