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Your No-Nonsense Stop For College Information

Grade Level Fall Timelines
With Help From & NACAC


Fall Tasks for Seniors: 


  • Some colleges will have deadlines as early as this month. This might include colleges with rolling admissions, early decision, and early action (if you're not sure about the difference, please contact Mrs. Casanova

  • File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible. This year, the FAFSA will not be available until sometime in mid-January. The good news? That's because it's being simplified! 

  • Finalize your college essay. Many schools will require that you submit at least one essay or personal statement. Mrs. Casanova can help you if you need ideas or aren't sure how to proceed.

  • Request transcripts be sent to your schools (talk to Mrs. Casanova if you don't know your school's procedures for requesting transcripts).

  • If you haven't already done so, request letters of recommendations from your teachers.

  • Talk with your parents about college cost. Decide how much you can afford, how much they plan to pay for, and explore your options for funding.

  • Visit Fastweb Financial Aid and  (this is also where you'll find the FAFSA) to learn more about financial aid.

  • Start applying for scholarships from private organizations. Ask your counselor, colleges and religious and civic groups about scholarship opportunities. Check the "scholarships" tab on this website. There are also some good scholarship websites, including FastWeb and The College Board's Big Futures site. You should NEVER pay for scholarship information. 


  • Keep copies of all applications and forms sent to colleges.

  • Finalize and send any early decision or early action applications due this month. Have a parent, teacher, counselor, or other adult review the application before it is submitted.

  • Request test scores and transcripts sent to colleges, if your college is accepting them.

  • Review the SAR (Student Aid Report) to make sure the information is correct. You should receive it within 3-5 days after submitting your FAFSA online.


  • Begin to organize regular decision applications and financial aid forms, which will be due in January and/or February.

  • Continue working on any remaining college applications. You should be finished this month.

  • Register for the January SAT (If needed). It is the last one colleges will be able to consider for a senior.

Fall Tasks For Juniors: 


  • Start your year off right by talking with your school counselor about the year ahead. Confirm that your courses will put you on the right track for college admission. Be sure to ask about test dates for the PSAT, ACT, and SAT. You’ll need to register about a month ahead of time.

  • If you haven’t participated in many activities outside of class, now is the time to sign up. Consider clubs at schools, team sports, leadership roles, or involvement in your religious or civic community group

  • Start yourself an official Brag Sheet document. It will serve as your student resume and help you to remember all the volunteer work and activities you’re involved in. You can also use this to find gaps or opportunities to enhance yourself academically and personally.

  • Stay focused in your studies and keep your grades up. If you’re having troubles, reach out to your teacher or an advisor.

  • Take the PSAT. Taking the test as a junior will qualify you for some scholarship consideration and identify you to colleges as a potential applicant. When you receive the results (usually in December), review them to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. Discuss the results with your family and school counselor

  • Begin to prepare for the ACT or SAT. Free test preparation may be available at your school, your local community colleges, and community-based programs; in addition, there are many free resources on the internet. If you can’t find the best websites, ask your counselor. You should plan to take at least one of these tests in the spring and again next fall during your senior year. Ask your counselor if you qualify for a fee waiver.


  • Schedule a time to meet with your counselor this month. Discuss the careers you’re thinking about and the list of colleges and universities that you’re interested in so far.

  • Ask your counselor about upcoming college fairs and/or if there are college admissions officers visiting your school soon.

  • Create a standardized testing plan. Register for AP Exams if you’re enrolled in AP courses this school year.


  • Use your winter break to do more college research and to take notes in your college planner or binder if you have one. If not, consider creating one to house all of your college research, college brochures or viewbooks you may get in the mail.

  • Volunteer within your local community. You can use these experiences to add to your student profile, Brag Sheet, or college admissions essays in the future.

  • Prep and schedule for the ACT or SAT if you plan on taking these standardized tests.

  • Finally, use your free time over winter break to fit in a few more scholarship applications this month.

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