The last year and a half of high school is pivotal when it comes to the college application process. If you have a high school junior, it’s halfway through the school year—is she staying on top of the important college tasks and deadlines?
Help your teen stay on track with this 2019 college checklist:
January – Make an appointment with the guidance counselor to get up to speed on exam dates and discuss college plans.
February – Register to take the SAT or ACT this spring/summer for the first time:
SAT date Registration deadline
March 9, 2019 February 8, 2019
May 4, 2019 April 5, 2019
June 1, 2019 May 3, 2019
ACT date Registration deadline
April 13, 2019 March 8, 2019
June 8, 2019 May 3, 2019
July 13, 2019* June 14, 2019
*Not in California
March – Talk with teachers and the Advanced Placement (AP) Coordinator about AP exam dates (in May) to ensure you have the dates on the calendar.
April – Your teen should start researching scholarships and keeping a spreadsheet of those that interest her. Most scholarships have deadlines between October and March, but it’s not too early to start exploring options and getting ideas from the guidance counselor on what scholarships would be worth pursuing.
May – Summer break is coming up, which is a good time to visit colleges. Have your teen do some online research on tours for prospective students at the colleges she’s considering. She should also prepare for and take those AP exams.
June – Your junior should narrow that college list (if she hasn’t done so already) so that she can look into things like admissions requirements, cost, possible majors and more this summer.
July/August – Goodbye, junior year; hello, senior year! Summer is the time for your teen to really focus on all things college. Here’s a summer to-do list:
Research admissions requirements and deadlines for her top several college picks.
Do something meaningful—a volunteer or travel experience or a philanthropic endeavor—that would expand your teen’s horizons and boost the resume.
Work on creating a resume to use for college and scholarship applications.
Start drafting the college application essay (if any colleges on your teen’s list require one). There’s plenty of time to keep fine-tuning, but it can’t hurt for your teen to begin thinking about the experiences that have shaped her. Maybe something your teen does this summer will be a worthy essay topic!
Sign up for an exam prep course at Huntington. Summer is a great time to focus on studying for the SAT or ACT, especially if your teen took either exam in spring/early summer and wants to raise her score. Both the Sat and ACT offer a mid-summer exam:
SAT dates: ACT dates:
June 1, 2019 June 8, 2019
August 24, 2019 July 13, 2019
October 5, 2019 September 8, 2019
Sign up for SAT Subject Tests if desired. SAT Subject Tests are offered in August, October, November, December, May and June. Visit the College Board website for more information.
September – This is it: senior year! If your teen is considering applying early decision/early action for any college, encourage her to start getting the application package together. Deadlines could be as early as November.
October – Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after October 1 as possible. Also, pay attention to any scholarship application deadlines and fall SAT/ACT test dates (if your teen is taking the SAT/ACT one last time):
November 2, 2019
December 7, 2019
October 26, 2019
December 14, 2019
November/December – College application time! This is when your teen should get those college applications together, assuming she isn’t doing early decision/early action. Many colleges have regular application deadlines around January 1. Also, you should have received the Student Aid Report by now if you submitted the FAFSA in early October. The colleges your teen listed on the FAFSA also receive it (and use it to create their financial aid award package).
Keep this 2019 college checklist on hand for your juniors-going-on-seniors. Your teens should also visit their school guidance counselor office regularly throughout junior and senior year. Good luck with this exciting process, and if you ever have questions about preparing your teen for college and SAT and ACT prep, contact Huntington.