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College Planning Checklist - Senior Year
Summary: Checklist for Senior Year


All Year
* Finish strong; don't be fooled into thinking colleges will not care about your senior grades. Offers of admission are contingent on GPA maintenance.

* Staying organized, following time lines and meeting deadlines are key to a successful application process.  This process includes completing applications for the schools, financial aid programs and scholarship applications, which will require follow up throughout your entire senior year.

* Attend college admissions presentations in September and throughout the fall.  Continue your college search online.  If you haven't already done so, request information from all of the schools on your list.  Check out their websites to see if an admissions representative will be visiting in the area in the fall.

* Keep a file of your applications and information for each school.  Maintain a list of user names and passwords. Keep a calendar of important deadlines.

* If needed, register for fall SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests, and the ACT, if you have not completed the required tests or you think you can improve on a previous score.  Consider attending a prep class if you feel you need more practice.  Visit the College & Career Center or the high school website for a list of courses available both on campus and in the area.

* If letters of recommendations are required for your applications, ask someone who knows you well among your teachers, counselors, employers and/or coaches, to write a letter(s) on your behalf.  You will need to provide your up-to-date My Academic Resume so they will be aware of your accomplishments and be able to write a stronger letter.

* Work on your essays.  Proofreading is essential.  Ask for guidance or help proofreading.  

* Online applications for CSUs are available October 1st.  Check for deadlines.  Apply early!  No essays are required.

* Ask for your letters of recommendation if needed.  CSUs and UCs do not require letters.

* Attend the College Night for Seniors and College Planning Workshops.

* Keep track of application deadlines.  If appropriate, consider Early Action and Early Decision applications.  

* Continue researching scholarship opportunities.  Not all organizations require stellar grades or specific income levels for scholarship consideration.

* Online applications for UC are available November 1.  Apply early!

* Take the ACT, SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests as needed.  Colleges must receive official score reports directly from the testing agency and it is your responsibility to make sure this happens.

* Attend Scholarship Night and the FAFSA Workshop (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), to learn more about financial opportunities.  Visit, and CSS Profile, profile online at  

* Continue completing applications, triple checking for accuracy, and making copies before submitting.

* UC and CSU deadline for applications is November 30.  (Do not wait until the last minute; the website can and does get overwhelmed!)  Deadlines for Common Application schools and other public and private schools vary so check for due dates.

* Check your college application status to make sure schools have received all required information.  Don't ignore any request for additional information; respond as quickly as possible, maintaining a dated copy of what you send.  Check your e-mail frequently!

* Early decisions are mailed.  If accepted, follow ALL the instructions in your packet.  If your decision was deferred or you were denied, take heart, you have other options!

* Financial aid applications (FAFSA, CSS Profile and individual school applications) are due beginning in January.  Check individual schools for their deadlines.  It is particularly important that parents begin gathering information to file tax returns early. Keep all records in a secure place.  Please note: some schools require financial aid applications as early as January 1.

* Attend the SVHS Financial Aid Night.  Submit your FAFSA application as soon as possible. The window for applying is January 1-March 2.  Some schools require early filing so be aware of each school's deadlines.

* Attend the FAFSA Tutorial in the College & Career Center and work with a parent/ guardian to gather the materials to complete financial aid applications.  

* See the Registrar to submit your Cal Grant GPA verification.  GPA verifications are sent electronically at your request and are due by March 2.

* Submit Mid-Year Reports for Common Application schools to the Registrar by mid-January.  Come to the College & Career Center if you have questions or need help.

* Most private college applications are due no later than January. A few schools have "rolling applications"which are applications that will be accepted throughout the year.

* Complete scholarship applications and make a note of deadlines throughout the spring.

* Monitor your applications closely to ensure that they are complete.  If a school requires a transcript, you need to request one from the Registrar.  Some CSUs may ask for transcripts, so watch your e-mails and respond quickly.  UCs will not ask for official transcripts until after you have been admitted.  For Common Application schools, transcripts will be sent with the Midyear Reports.  For all other schools, please check carefully with individual school requirements.

* The FAFSA deadline is March 2, but apply earlier if possible. You should receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) within four weeks after submitting your FAFSA.  Review it for accuracy.  If you have not received your SAR, call (800) 433-3243, giving them your name, social security number, address, and birth date exactly as submitted on your FAFSA.

* Attend the second Scholarship Night at SVHS and apply for local scholarships as applicable.  A complete list will be on the College & Career Center bulletin board or on the SVHS website.  Hard copies can be obtained from the Counseling Office.

* If applying to schools with later, ongoing or rolling admissions, remember the earlier you apply, the better the availability.  

* Inquire about housing applications for each school to which you applied.

* Community Colleges accept applications in the spring of your senior year.  Attend the information session on campus and be sure to sign up for placement tests.

* You will hear from most colleges by the end of March or early April at the latest.  UCs generally post their decisions online beginning in mid-March.  Common Application schools are slightly later.

* Your final decision is due May 1.  Consider academic, geographic and demographic factors and total financial packages.  When you have decided, send in your tuition deposit and follow all instructions.  Check your e-mail and school portal often to see what is new and what is due.

* As soon as you know you will not enroll at one or more of the colleges that accepted you, let them know.  

* If you are still on a waiting list, confirm your interest in staying on the waiting list with the school.  Register at the preferred college on your list of acceptances until you know you have cleared the wait list to hold your place.

* If you have applied for financial aid, check the financial aid award for each school for which you are accepted.  Make sure you are clear about the type of aid you will receive and check to see if additional paper work or forms are needed by the school  (i.e., tax returns, W2ís, Employment Verfication, etc.).  Some schools use an IDOC document clearinghouse where financial documents must be sent.  Since schools often have different requirements, it is extremely important to check e-mails, portals and mail communications carefully.

* Continue to apply for local scholarships by due dates.

* Keep your grades up!

* Take AP exams and have your scores sent to your college.

* Complete remaining local scholarship applications.

* Once decisions have been made, additional scholarship or grant funds may become available at the college of your choice; ask about additional financial support if needed.

* Check your college portal frequently for new information.

* Complete the SVHS Post High School Survey and attend the "Off to College" Workshop/Celebration.

* Request with the Registrar that your final transcript be sent to the college you will attend.

* Report to your college any private scholarships or grants you will be receiving.

* Check your college portal frequently and respond quickly to paperwork, tuition, room and board, meal plans, roommate requests, etc.  Ask about payment plans that will allow you to pay in installments if needed.

* Check to see when your on campus orientation program is scheduled.

* If you need help or have questions, never hesitate to call the registrar, housing office, financial aid office, health office or other service on campus. College personnel prefer to hear from you and not your parent or guardian.

Congratulations, you did it!

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