Your senior year in high school is your final opportunity to prepare for your college education. Be certain that you have an adequate filing system and calendar to keep track of your college applications and applicable paperwork or attachments. Being organized will make the process much easier and less stressful for you. Be sure to determine if you need to retake standardized tests (ACT and/or SAT) to be certain you have scored your best effort to submit with your college application(s). Glance back over the freshman, sophomore and junior timelines on this webpage to be certain you haven't missed any critical steps in the college planning process.
Senior Year Checklist
- Write an early draft of a college and/or scholarship application essay over the summer or early in the fall. You will need time to refine your college essays. Have others critique the initial draft you compose.
- Continue a solid, college prep curriculum. Your senior year schedule and performance will be important in college admission decisions.
- Register for and take the fall ACT and/or SAT and Subject Tests(if needed).
- Utilize free test preparation resources available online and elsewhere. The SAT and ACT web sites offer free practice tests as do web sites that focus specifically on college entrance exam test preparation including the free sites www.Number2.com and www.March2Success.com.
- Continue college visits; narrow down college options. Make sure you take advantage of overnight visits at the colleges you are seriously considering.
- Complete and mail college and scholarship applications paying close attention to deadlines. Be aware of special admission options such as Early Decision and Early Action.
- It is a good idea to apply to at least one college to which you have a very good chance of being admitted. While there is certainly nothing wrong with applying to your dream school, don’t limit your postsecondary options by only applying to highly competitive schools.
- Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center if you plan to play sports at a Division I or II college (if you haven’t done so already).
- Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. You can file online at FAFSA.
- Be sure to attend the financial aid workshop offered at your high school, or in early spring attend Arkansas College Goal Sunday at a nearby site to receive help with completing the FAFSA. Submit any other financial aid forms required by the college(s) you may attend and check to be sure the college(s) you are still seriously considering do not have earlier dates by which any of the financial aid-related forms must be filed.
- Review the Student Aid Report (SAR) and financial aid award packages from the colleges you applied to, after submitting the FAFSA and receiving your results.
- Make onsite visits to your final college choices and meet with admissions and financial aid.
- Submit the enrollment deposit to the college you plan to attend by May 1 (National Candidate Reply Date), or other date as designated by the college.
- Register for and complete AP tests for any AP courses you are taking your senior year.
- File any necessary loan paperwork, housing information, etc. that may be required by the school you plan to attend.
- Attend the on-campus orientation/registration sessions offered to students and parents at the college you will attend.
- Continue to save for college. Every family must contribute towards the cost of attending college. Although your college years will begin next fall, remember that anything you can put away now will be welcomed assistance when the time comes.