College planning can be overwhelming for high school seniors, but a monthly plan of action can help students overcome their anxiety and prepare in an organized manner.

By Wendi Ostroff

• Narrow your college list to between 8-14. Have some in 4 targeted areas: safety, match, reach, and super reach
• If applying to any University of California schools, create your UC account. Application opens August 1
• If interested, register to take one final SAT/ACT and aim for no later than November’s test date. Most schools are test optional so this is not a requirement or suggested for a first time taker to sign up at this point
• Create an account for the Common App (for many private & out-of-state colleges)
• If a student athlete, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center and send an athletic resume to coaches
• Explore scholarship opportunities

• Schedule a meeting with your high school counselor going over your courses, requirements, and draft college list
• If applying early to any colleges, be sure to ask teachers/counselor for letters of rec as soon as possible if haven’t
• It’s a good idea to create an academic resume and can share with anyone you ask to write a letter of rec
• Keep track of user names/passwords, application and scholarship deadlines, and days off from school when you can go visit nearby college campuses
• Continue to update college list- be sure to read through individual applications thoroughly to see if there are additional questions and supplements

• FAFSA opens 10/1. It is recommended to start the earlier the better, like now.
• If applying to the Cal States, create your Cal State account. Application deadline is 11/30.
• Follow up with teachers about letters of recommendation
• Do your best in your current classes (grades still matter)
• If applying early to colleges, request test SAT scores through CollegeBoard or to be sent to your schools
• Get started working on essays if haven’t been working on them- they take longer than you think

• Edit, revise, have someone else review essays and go over applications before submitting
• Submit early applications with 11/1 and 11/5 deadline
• Complete UC and CSU applications with 11/30 deadline

• Submit other applications and scholarships
• Submit FAFSA information if haven’t already
• Continue to keep track of deadlines and messages from colleges-including visiting their portals or checking email

• Request a Mid-Year Report from your counselor (an updated transcript) for schools requiring it
• Continue to check your email and portals for early answers. Most schools have March-April responses which is a long time. Good luck!

• Keep track of acceptances, waitlists, denials and financial award letters. If on a waitlist, you may need to opt in
• Decline any acceptances from schools you know you will not attend. Someone else may be waiting for that spot
• Remember to thank anyone who has helped
• If taking AP tests, now is the time to start preparing. Getting extra college credit is worth it- try your best

• May 1 is called signing day and is final day to make your decision and give a deposit. Congratulations!
• Let counselor know your destination to be sure final transcript gets sent at the end of the year