Gandhi Samaj of Chicago Youth Committee have put together below timeline to help high school students plan for their College:
- Make up a tentative “4 year” plan to ensure you will get in all of your requirements and any other classes of interest
- Attend careers days at your school
- Start getting involved in extracurricular activities
- Establish a relationship with your academic counselor (get a parent involved)
- Meet with counselor once/semester
- Consider a College Savings Plan
- Start volunteering in your local community
- Get a summer job
Job/Volunteer options: hospital, park district, library, local cafes, local health clinics (dental, optometry, etc).
- Take a practice PSAT
- Find out about the PLAN assessment program offered by American College Testing. This program helps determine your study habits and academic progress and interests; it will also prepare you for the ACT.
- Review and revise your “4 year plan”
- Continue meeting with your counselor each semester
- Get familiar with general college entrance requirements
- Explore potential careers; focus your volunteer work on a particular field of interest
- Practice your writing skills to help prepare you for admissions testing and college entrance essays
- Start looking at colleges of interest
- Familiarize yourself with Common App (this is the new way to apply to colleges as you create a profile that consists of your GPA, test scores, essays, etc).
- Take the PSAT, which qualifies you for the National Merit Scholarship program
- Go to college fairs and careers days
- Make a college list
- Plan when you will be taking SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, AP exams
- If planning on applying early action or early decision, start your application
- Consider taking the actual ACT/SAT early, submit best score to colleges
- Determine if you will be signing up for test prep courses (Kaplan, Princeton, etc).
- Decide who will write your letters of recommendation
- Choose teachers, work employer who know your strengths and someone who will write a positive letter
- Narrow down your college list
- Find out fees for applying
- Make deadline timeline to avoid missing out
- Research and apply for summer internship opportunities
- Create Common App portal online
- Take SAT/ACT
- Prepare a resume, application essays
- Learn about financial aid, scholarships
- Contact your recommendation writers and give them a deadline (3-4 weeks)
- Give letter of recommendation forms to the teachers you have chosen, along with stamped, addressed envelopes so your teachers can send them directly to the colleges. Be sure to fill out your name and address and the school name on each form. Discuss your goals and ambitions with your teachers so they’ll be more prepared to write about you.
- Set up appointments for site visits
- Look into colleges with direct programs (if interested)
- Continue visiting schools
- Retake ACT/SAT if needed/wanted
- Meet with your guidance counselor, who usually sends out transcripts and score reports.
- Complete applications
- Continue your scholarship search.
- Follow up on applications
- Check with schools (most have an online system) to ensure they have received application, transcripts, test scores, and recommendations
- Fill out FAFSA information for financial aid (can’t send forms until after January 1)
- Send mid-year grade reports to colleges you’ve applied to
- Find out which colleges you’ve been accepted to.
- You should hear about admissions decision by March or April.
- Compare financial aid packages and make your final decision
- Notifications of financial aid awards should arrive by the end of April.
- Check out your options if you’re put on a waitlist.
- Make your final college decision – notify all schools by May 1
- Complete enrollment paperwork for the college you will attend.