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College Prep Checklists

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The following checklists may be helpful to you as you organize your path to college.  Remember, these are general guidelines and not all items will apply to everyone.

Freshman Checklist

Sophomore Checklist

September

October

November–January

February–March

April–May

Junior Checklist

September

October

November

December

January

February–March

April–May

May–August

Senior Checklist

August

September

October

November

December

January

February

March

April

May

June

Freshman Checklist

        

  • Attend Freshman Orientation
  • Visit all the resources on campus—Library, Counseling Office, College & Career Center, etc.
  • Establish strong study habits and time management techniques
  • Get involved!  Join clubs, join ASB, play sports!
  • Explore and participate in community service
  • Meet your counselor and start thinking about classes you might want to take while at PHS
  • Start a list of any accomplishments or awards to use later when you prepare a resume or fill out college applications

Sophomore Checklist        

September

        

  • Concentrate on academic preparation and continue to develop basic skills and extracurricular interests
  • Take challenging classes, when appropriate
  • Register for the PSAT -- good practice for the SAT
  • Sign up for extracurricular activities
  • Participate in community service

October

        

  • Take the PSAT as a practice test
  • Stay on top of your academics
  • Be a leader in clubs, sports and other ECA’s
  • Take the Mock SAT or ACT                 

November–January

        

  • Receive results from PSAT in December
  • PSAT - review strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop learning strategies/plan for taking SAT and/or ACT in junior year        

February–March

        

  • Keep your grades up
  • Continue with community service
  • Explore summer internships and jobs
  • Attend Sophomore orientation        

April–May

        

  • Visit local colleges, and attend College Fairs
  • Sign up to take summer classes at a nearby college
  • Volunteer, work or take classes over summer
  • Navigate Naviance
  • Talk to friends and family about a variety of colleges
  • Register for SAT Subject Tests, if applicable
  • Add to your list of accomplishments and awards

        

Junior Checklist        

September

        

  • Visit College & Career Center to check resources
  • Sign up for college visits at College & Career Center
  • Take challenging classes, when appropriate
  • Continue with community service during school year
  • Register with NCAA Clearinghouse if you want to play Division I or II sports                  

October

        

  • Take the PSAT
  • Have your counselor evaluate your records for college preparation
  • Make sure you are meeting the “a–g” course requirements for UC/CSU
  • Continue attending college admission representative visits                 

November

        

  • Network with your peers, family, and friends for information on college choices
  • Start keeping a list of colleges, careers, and majors that might interest you
  • Research colleges
  • Visit local colleges                 

December

        

  • Research colleges
  • Visit local colleges
  • Explore careers
  • Develop art portfolios, or music/drama audition ideas                 

January

        

  • Plan a strategy for getting the SAT and/or ACT scores you want
  • Continue community service
  • Register for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests, and/or the ACT
  • Review PSAT scores with counselor, use PSAT tutorial
  • Add to your list of accomplishments and awards                

February–March

        

  • Make a list of your top 15 colleges and begin investigating them
  • Plan college campus visits for your spring break
  • Explore careers/majors more in depth—visit College & Career Center
  • Attend Junior Orientation and meet with your counselor to review transcripts, senior classes, etc.
  • Visit colleges
  • Research and sign up for summer internships
  • Take SAT or ACT
  • Keep your grades up         

April–May

        

  • Visit colleges
  • Create a separate email account for all college info—check it regularly
  • Narrow down to 8–10 schools to focus on investigating further
  • Take SAT or ACT
  • Review test results; decide whether to take preparation course, if re-testing
  • Attend the East Bay College Connection Fair at Saint Mary’s College
  • Attend “Case Studies Night” with parents in May
  • Sign up for and take AP exams in May (if appropriate)
  • Begin drafting resume          

May–August

        

  • Continue to collect information on your top colleges, majors, and career choices
  • Take summer classes
  • Volunteer or get work experience
  • Brainstorm ideas for writing college personal statement—draft statement
  • Discuss college finances with parents
  • Take test preparation class, if appropriate
  • Continue developing art/music/drama portfolio, if appropriate
  • Review your SAT or ACT scores with counselor
  • Visit more colleges during the summer
  • Ask for teacher recommendations
  • Add to your list of accomplishments and awards

        

Senior Checklist        

August

        

  • Meet with parents to discuss college finances and any other help you need
  • Register for any additional testing and send scores to schools you are sure you will apply to
  • Check transcripts to make sure they are complete and there are no errors
  • Complete your resume (helps teachers with recommendations, and you with applications)
  • Keep brainstorming essay ideas
  • Begin searching for scholarships                 

September

        

  • Visit schools you are interested in and take a tour
  • Ask for recommendations
  • Complete your questionnaire and Senior Packet (in Naviance), and make an appointment with your counselor
  • Make a list of colleges you will apply to and their deadlines
  • Decide if you are applying Early Action or Early Decision to any schools
  • Invite teachers to send recommendations online         

October

        

  • Online application opens for Cal State Universities on Oct. 1; remember to check each individual campus for deadlines
  • FAFSA opens Oct. 1 (financial aid application)
  • Register for CSS profile (for financial aid at private schools), especially if you are applying early to colleges
  • Write your UC insight questions
  • Complete essays for early decision/early action
  • Complete any rolling admission, early action, or early decision applications         

November

        

  • Online application opens for UCs on Nov. 1
  • Complete UC and CSU applications/essays
  • Send SAT or ACT test scores to all schools that need them
  • UCs and CSU “impacted” campus application deadline is Nov. 30                 

December

        

  • Continue working on essays/applications for Common App schools
  • Complete all applications
  • Complete all testing        
  • Verify that all schools have received your test scores

January

        

  • Keep checking deadlines—most private college applications will be due sometime in January
  • Turn in your FAFSA form (for your financial aid package) by March 2 for the Cal Grant
  • Send thank you notes to teachers and counselor for recommendations
  • Check email from colleges
  • If you were admitted somewhere by early decision, you must withdraw all other applications                 

February

        

  • Most priority deadlines for CSS Profile are in Feb.
  • Check for email from colleges                 

March

        

  • FAFSA deadline is March 2 for California schools
  • Cal Grants application deadline
  • Complete any requests from schools that admitted you (housing, essays, etc.)        

April

        

  • Preview programs and visit colleges for an overnight
  • Send Intent to Register, and then notification to colleges you are not attending. (Deadline for Intent to Register is usually May 1). If deferring for a Gap Year, notify the college in writing
  • Check for any other deadlines (e.g. housing, scholarships)—some deadlines will be in early May                 

May

        

  • Send deposit for housing
  • Register for AP tests, if appropriate        
  • Complete enrollment paperwork for your selected college         
  • Complete senior survey

June

        

  • Ask for final transcript to be sent