Senior Year

Lots to think about during your Senior Year!  Check out this tool posted on a website called Quintessential Careers:

College Planning Tutorial:
Empowering College-Bound Students

“This free 60+ page tutorial is designed to help you walk through all the important steps in choosing a college — including college search, college entrance criteria, college application process — with special attention on the application essay, and financial aid…  ”

For an interactive site with checklists for students and parents CLICK HERE.

A few more things to think about:
Adapteded from NACAC’s PACT Guide, 2000. Revised Online Only: March 2005

Apply to colleges. Make decisions. Finish high school with pride in yourself and your accomplishments.


  • Make sure you have all applications required for college admission and financial aid. Write, phone, or use the Internet to request missing information.
  • Check on application and financial aid deadlines for the schools to which you plan to apply. They may vary and it is essential to meet all deadlines!
  • Meet with your guidance counselor to be sure your list includes colleges appropriate to your academic and personal record. Review your transcript and co-curricular records with your school counselor to ensure their accuracy.
  • Register for the October/November SAT Reasoning Test and/or SAT Subject Tests, or September/October ACT.
  • If the colleges require recommendations, ask the appropriate people to write on your behalf. At least three weeks before the due date, ask your counselor and teachers, employers, or coaches to write letters of recommendation. Provide recommendation forms, any special instructions and a stamped, addressed business envelope to the people writing your recommendation. Be thoughtful! Write thank-you notes to those who write recommendations and keep them informed of your decisions.
  • Plan visits to colleges and set up interviews (if you didn’t get to them during the summer or if you want to return to a campus for a second time). Read bulletin boards and the college newspaper. Talk with current students and professors.


  • Attend a regional college fair to investigate further those colleges to which you will probably apply. Some of the college fairs you might choose to attend include the Willamette Valley College Fair, NACAC’s National College Fair (held in Portland) and the National Performing and Visual Arts College Fair (held in Portland).
  • Mail applications in time to reach the colleges by the deadlines. Check with your guidance counselor to make sure your transcript and test scores have been/will be sent to the colleges to which you are applying.
  • If applying for early decision or early action, send in your application now. Also prepare applications for back-up schools. Remember, if you are accepted under the early decision option, you are expected to enroll at that college and to withdraw all other applications. Submit financial aid information if requested from early decision/action candidates.
  • Register for the December/January SAT Reasoning Test and/or SAT Subject Tests, or December ACT if you have not completed the required tests or if you are not happy with your previous test scores and think you can do better.
  • Have official test scores sent by the testing agency to colleges on your list.


  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test or SAT Subject Tests if appropriate. Don’t forget to have test scores sent to colleges on your list.
  • Be sure your first quarter grades are good.
  • Continue completing applications to colleges. Make copies of all applications before mailing the applications.
  • Check to see if the colleges to which you are applying require financial aid forms or documents such as the CSS Profile. Register for the CSS Profile if required and obtain the college’s own financial aid forms, if available.
  • Keep all records, test score reports and copies of applications for admission and financial aid. Do not throw anything away until at least the end of your first year in college. Having detailed records will save you time and effort should anything be lost or should you decide to apply in the future to other colleges and scholarship programs.
  • Complete all college applications by the end of Thanksgiving Break.  Watch ALL deadlines, as some colleges have earlier priority deadlines, and some offer extra scholarships for applying early.


  • Have official test scores sent to colleges on your list if you have not done so.
  • Consult your school counselor again to review your final list of colleges. Be sure you have all bases covered. It is a good idea to make copies of everything before you drop those envelopes in the mail. If for some reason your application gets lost, you will have a back-up copy. File your last college application.
  • If you applied for early decision, you should have an answer by now. If you are accepted, follow the instructions for admitted students. If the decision is deferred until spring or you are denied, submit applications now to other colleges.


  • Keep working in your classes! Grades and courses continue to count throughout the senior year.
  • ON JANUARY 1st, parents and students together complete and return your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  If you cannot do it on January 1st, file it as quickly as possible after January 1st. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO USE LAST YEAR’S TAXES TO ESTIMATE THIS YEAR’S ACTUAL NUMBERS.  You will go back in later when you have this year’s taxes done and correct any differences.
  • Check to make sure your colleges or state does not require any other financial aid forms. If they do, consult your guidance counselor or contact the college’s financial aid office.
  • Request that the school registrar send the transcript of your first semester grades to the colleges to which you applied.


  • Remember to monitor your applications to be sure that all materials are sent and received on time and that they are complete. Stay on top of things and don’t procrastinate; you can ruin your chances for admission by missing a deadline.
  • You should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within four weeks after submitting the FAFSA. Review the SAR carefully and check for any inaccuracies. If necessary, correct any items on the SAR and return it to the FAFSA processor (if a college transmitted your data directly, notify the college of any change).
  • If more than four weeks have passed after sending in your FAFSA and you have not received an acknowledgment, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (319) 337-5665. To identify you, they will need your name, social security number, address, and date of birth exactly as it was written on your FAFSA.
  • Complete scholarship applications. You may be eligible for more scholarships than you think, so apply for as many as you can.
  • Enjoy your final year in high school, but don’t catch senioritis!


  • Stay focused and keep studying-only a couple more months to go!


  • Do not take rolling admission applications for granted. (Some colleges do not have application deadlines; they admit students on a continuous basis.) These schools may reach their maximum class size quickly-the earlier you apply, the more availability there may be.
  • Review your college acceptances and financial aid awards. Be sure to compare financial aid packages in your decision-making process. If you are positive you will not enroll at one or more of the colleges which accepted you, please notify those colleges that you have selected another college. Keeping colleges abreast of your plans might enable those colleges to admit someone else. If you know which college you will attend, send your tuition deposit and follow all other instructions for admitted students. You must decide which offer of admission to accept by May 1 (postmark date).


  • By May 1, decide on the one college that you will attend. By May 1, send in your tuition deposit to the college you will attend. Notify the other colleges that accepted you that you have selected another college.
  • BE PROUD-you have completed a difficult task.
  • If your first-choice college places you on their waiting list, do not lose all hope. Some students are admitted off the waiting list. Talk with Mrs. W and/or your counselor, and contact the college to let them know you are still very interested. Keep the college updated on your activities.
  • Take Advanced Placement examinations, if appropriate and request that your AP scores be sent to the college you will attend.


  • Request that your school send your final transcript to the college you will attend. Notify the college of any private scholarships or grants you will be receiving.
  • Know when the payment for tuition, room and board, meal plans, etc., is due. If necessary, ask the financial aid office about a possible payment plan that will allow for you to pay in installments.
  • Congratulations, you’ve made it through high school! Enjoy your graduation and look forward to college.


  • Look for information in the mail from the college about housing, roommate(s), orientation, course selection, etc. Respond promptly to all requests from the college. August-September
  • Ease the transition into college. Accept the fact that you’ll be in charge of your academic and personal life. What you do, when you do it and how things get done will be up to you. You’ll have new responsibilities and challenges. Think about budgeting your time and establishing priorities. Take charge of the changes that lie ahead and eliminate or minimize pressures. Go forth with confidence and enthusiasm, willingness to adapt and determination to succeed academically and personally.
  • Pack for college. Don’t forget to include things that remind you of friends and family. Be prepared for the new opportunities and challenges. Have a great freshman year!

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