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College Preparation Checklist

A Guide for college-bound students
on what to do and when to do it - and simplify the entire process!

Or Try the Online Checklist

Senior Year: August through September

  • Confirm that you are on track to graduate as well as on the road to fulfilling all college admission requirements.
  • Student athletes should discuss their plans and options with coaches and counselors.
  • Tips for getting the most out of your counselor from the National Association of College Admissions Counseling.
  • Review the enrollment and financial aid sections of each school’s website.
  • Take a look at the enrollment application process and requirements.
  • Note the documents, records and pieces of information you will need to apply.
  • Note the information regarding the financial aid process and deadlines.

No, a resend in Parchment Award – Transcript Services does not have an additional fee.

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  • College Search: Search on a specific school for a quick overview of that school’s profile.
  • College Rankings: View a list of schools ranked using a complex algorithm based on student preferences.
  • College Matches: Get a display on chances of admission for similar schools outside of your region.
  • College Match Up: See which schools are chosen most often and compare analytics side by side.

Senior Year: October

  • Completing the FAFSA form allows you to be considered for federal student aid. In addition, states and colleges use FAFSA
    information to award their own grants, scholarships, and loans. To be eligible, you have to meet the application deadlines for
    federal and state programs!
  • It is in your best interest to submit as soon as possible.
  • You will want to know your eligibility details for federal student aid as early as possible.
  • Many state and federal grant programs distribute limited funds on a first-come, first-served basis using the information provided
    on your FAFSA form.
  • The latest date to file your FAFSA is June 30, but the due dates for State-issued grant funds vary.
  • What is the application deadline for student aid in your State
  • Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR), which should arrive three to four weeks after you apply.
  • Take a moment to review some tips and best practices for requesting college letters of recommendation.
  • Recommenders prefer to have several months advanced notice to prepare letters of recommendation, so it is in your best interest
    to be proactive and prompt.
  • Some high schools have “Brag Sheets” where the student/their parents/their guardians write about details that a recommender
    may not know about the student. This “Brag Sheet” and the student’s resume can be submitted to the recommender to provide a
    more holistic picture of the student. Does your school have this tool?
  • Letters of recommendation are often submitted via a college portal application or a commonly used solution such as Common
    App or Coalition App. Any of these, or similar, portals should have the ability for the applicants to track their application status and
    confirm submissions.
  • Many selective colleges will have application deadlines as early as January of the following calendar year.
  • Do any of your schools have early application deadlines?
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Parchment Prep Tip: You can use Parchment to quickly and easily send transcripts to schools.

  • Parchment makes the process easy and keeps you informed on the status of your records every step of the way.

Senior Year: November to the following January

  • Have a parent, teacher, counselor, or other adult review the application before it is submitted.
  • Resources for Early Decision and Early Action. CollegeBoard Guide for Early Decision and Early Action Confirm that your SAT, ACT and other standardized testing results have
  • If needed, register for the January SAT. It is the last one that colleges will be able to consider for a high school senior prior to
    rendering college application decisions.
  • If needed, register for the February ACT. Some colleges will be able to consider it, but some will not. Additional research may be required to confirm the exact timeframe for your prospective colleges.
  • Be sure to have submitted for colleges with regular enrollment application deadlines, which are often due in January and/or
  • After you submit, be sure to actively monitor communications, in case additional action or documents are needed to complete
    your applications and financial aid forms.
  • Expect to submit additional information and documentation in support of your financial aid forms.
  • You should send your first semester transcripts to prospective schools. In addition, at a later date, every college will require a copy of your final transcript in order to render a formal decision and save your seat.
  • Follow your school’s procedure for sending transcripts. Connect with your counselor if you need help.
  • At the end of the school year, your high school will need to send final transcripts to the college you will attend.
  • If you have a Parchment Learner Account, you can use it to manage, track and review the status of transcript and record requests
    in real time.
  • Is any further action required? Are any documents or records pending?
  • Is any further action required? Are any documents or forms needed?

Senior Year: February through May

  • May 1 is the date when the college you plan to attend requires a formal commitment and an enrollment deposit.
  • Be sure to review and accept your offer(s) for financial aid by May 1.
  • Send in your Enrollment Deposit by the postmark or submission date of May 1 to save your spot.
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Parchment Pro Tip: Your Parchment Credential Profile can be used to turn credentials into opportunities over the course of your academic and professional career.

College Preparation Checklist

for Senior High School Students
Consolidated Resources Section

We reviewed and referenced several reliable resources, publications and organizations in order to create this guide including the
Department of Education,, the National Center for Education Statistics, National Association of College Admissions
Counselors (NACAC), College Board and others.

When possible and available, direct links to relevant resources have been provided and embedded within the checklist alongside with the
related preparation item. We hope this consolidated resources page further aids you in your college preparations. You can do this!

US Department of Education Resources and Links

National Center for Education Statistics:

Scholarship, Grant, Funding Resources Database for Scholarships, and Grants with Free Access for Students: Database & Resource for Scholarships and Grants with Free Access for Students

Testing Resources

Student and College Counseling Organizations and Associations

American Counseling Association( ACA)

American School Counselor Association( ASCA)

district records services alumni records

Are you looking for more resources?

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