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The College Planning Checklist For High School Seniors

High school seniors have so much to do during that last year before college. Not only do you have to make sure you graduate on time, but there’s tons of work to do before the first day of college itself.

Use this basic college planning checklist for reference if you’re about to enter your senior year in high school with plans for college after.

While planning for college, make sure to check out our available SAT prep and ACT prep classes for extra help today.

college planning checklist


  • List out potential schools you want to attend
  • Update your resume and continue to add any new achievements/work experiences to it
  • Think about potential careers you’re interested in and what majors are attached to them
  • Start researching your target schools by speaking to representatives and checking out their websites
  • Start applying for scholarships
  • Look into available financial aid options
  • Look at setting up campus tours and interviews with admissions officials
  • Start drafting your college application essays
  • Find teachers/counselors willing to write Letters of Recommendation
  • Take either the SAT or ACT


  • Continue visiting campuses on available weekends and school breaks
  • Finalize your college application list using the research you’ve accumulated
  • Keep up your grades and extracurriculars to a high standard
  • Take the necessary standardized tests (ACT, SAT, or SAT Subject Tests)
  • Create a calendar to track application, scholarship, and other financial aid deadlines
  • Draft a final copy of your resume
  • Get at least two Letters of Recommendation drafted from willing teachers with sufficient notice (2-week minimum)
  • Meet up with your guidance counselor to discuss scholarship and school options
  • Retake the SAT or ACT to improve your score if necessary
  • Complete and submit your college applications to beat deadlines
  • Check that your applications, letters, and test scores are received by schools in time
  • Submit your completed FAFSA form and other scholarship applications


  • Follow up on your school applications and make sure they received all required documentation
  • Retake the SAT or ACT if there’s still time to submit better scores to schools
  • Keep your regular class grades up to maintain GPA
  • Finish up remaining admissions applications
  • Revise your personal statement document with recent fall semester updates
  • Find a part-time job to gain work experience and save money
  • Use your winter break to apply for even more scholarships / financial aid


  • Keep working to save money
  • Start looking for acceptance/rejection letters
  • Keep your class grades up as much as possible
  • Start pulling together your financial aid options to finalize your payment strategy
  • Check out other schools if you’re put on waitlists
  • Choose your final school once acceptance letters are received (normally by around May 1st)
  • Complete all necessary enrollment paperwork at the school you finally attend (class schedules, orientation, housing applications, etc)


  • Work on saving money for your upcoming college expenses
  • Continue applying to scholarships that have late summer/fall deadlines
  • Keep an eye out for any remaining college admissions news
  • Research available student loans if absolutely needed

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Todd Marcus

Written by Todd Marcus

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