Application Timeline

Freshman & Sophomore Years:
* This is not a dress rehearsal. Selective schools will consider your entire high school career.
* Get good grades, starting now. Prepare for Honors & AP courses; they do make a difference.
* Ask for help when you need it.
* Speak up in class. Your favorite teacher can’t write a convincing letter of recommendation if he doesn’t know you.
* The PSAT is what the SAT will be like. We give it each year so you can practice.
* Choose which extracurricular activities to excel in. It’s better to do two or three in depth than to dabble in many. Start keeping a record of what you’ve done.
* Get a professional looking email address. That means your name, or a variation of it, perhaps with a simple number. A funny one is fine for friends, but not business.
* Update your TeacherEase profile with your email address so as to be notified of important events & deadlines. 
* Everything you ever post online can be found by your future admissions officers, employers, or father-in-law. Decide now what impression you want to make.
* Enjoy reading a lot. If you don’t like to read, why torture yourself with more years of school?
* This is a college preparatory school. If you’re not preparing for college, withdraw & make room for someone who will.
* “What I did during my frosh/soph summer vacation” could make a very impressive application essay someday. Or not, if you did nothing.

Junior Year, Fall:
* Pray for guidance & discernment.
* Talk about your hopes & dreams with those you respect.
* Read about issues to consider in choosing a college at the helpful websites above.
* Think about who you are, what you’re good at, & what you want.
* List majors, careers, & colleges you are interested in.
* Jr. year GPA does count more than other years in your college applications. Improve your grades.
* The PSAT this year is also the NMSQT, which can qualify you for big scholarships.
* Set aside some time to prepare for the SAT & ACT. Their websites have prep info.
* Jr. year teachers are probably the ones you’ll eventually ask for letters of recommendation. Talk.
* Prove yourself a leader. If the club you want to have joined doesn’t exist, start it yourself.
* Begin looking for scholarships. There are thousands of organizations willing to help you with your college education. They do not come to you; you have to find them. Try web searches with “scholarship” & other key words about your parish, city, interests, race, family history, major & career goal.

Junior Year, Winter - Spring:
* Now is the time to start getting serious about scholarships. Many competitions will occur this summer.
* Narrow down your list of colleges & set dates to visit when classes are in session & stay in the dorms on a Friday or Saturday night. Ask yourself: Would I be able to learn & live (& keep my soul) in this environment?
* Take the SAT & ACT (both with writing section). You may want to retake one in the fall.

Summer between Junior & Senior Years:
* Many schools have “summer programs” to live & study at the school for a week or more. If you have a particular college or two that you are interested in & it may be difficult to get into, your participation in this might make the difference. There is usually a fee.
* Compose a résumé of your activities, work, & volunteer experiences. You may also need a portfolio.
* Consider the early options described in the notions above. It can help you beat the competition if you’re aiming at a particular school.

Senior Year, Fall:
* Grades this year still count.
* Re-take the SAT or ACT if you want to raise your score. We require that both be taken, both with writing section.
* Apply to colleges. “Aim high, middle, & low.” It’s safer to apply to a few schools in each of those three categories. But don’t apply anywhere you’d hate to go.
* Get letters of recommendation. Provide a pre-addressed stamped envelope to anyone you ask to write one. Feel free to remind them of anything that they might put in their recommendation. Remember that they are busy & will need time to complete them, so ask as soon as you know you want to apply.
* Have transcripts sent to colleges. Request transcripts by emailing the college counselor.
* Application essays can be daunting, so start writing drafts early in the fall. Show off what makes you unique. Ask someone to proofread.
* Are there optional parts of the application? Show you care. Send in that résumé of your activities, even if they didn’t ask. Call their admissions office to talk or arrange an interview or audition.
* Submit FAFSA form for financial aid: Fafsa.ed.gov. If you will need to take out a federally subsidized student loan, this application should be completed as soon as possible after October 1st & before any college financial aid deadlines. You will need your parents to complete most of this. Don’t wait.
* Complete application forms. Have them completed & finalized well before deadlines, which can be as early as Nov. 1st. Try to have them all done before Christmas.
* Contact the admissions offices to confirm that all parts of your applications are in. Don’t wait. This is your responsibility & no one else’s.
* Follow the directions & pay attention to the details. Don’t make yourself look stupid. Proofread again.
* It is the law that you must register for Selective Service within a month of your 18th birthday: SSS.gov.

Senior Year, Winter - Spring:
* Submit institutional financial aid applications to each college, usually by February. Earlier is better.
* St. Michael’s college counselor will send in GPA verification forms for Cal Grants.
* Check again whether you may be eligible for your college’s institutional scholarships.
* Complete any unfinished applications. Don’t wait until the deadline. You are running out of time.
* Compare your options. It’s time to decide which college is the best fit for you.
* Make sure that whichever college you choose is one that you can afford & one that will help you become the person you want to be.
* Many schools require a commitment deposit by May 1st. Send it in to only one college.
* If you fail any senior year courses, colleges may rescind their offers of admission. You must inform those which admitted you & explain your plan to make up the work.
* Graduate on time. Congratulations, you did it!

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