Some Knowledge for College

College Board’s compiled list of tips for the college application process


Gabrielle Williams

College Board’s Prep Book, which is where this list originated from. This book is a great resource for college preparation.

Gabrielle Williams, Opinion and Entertainment Editor

Summer Before Junior Year 

  • Read anything interesting to you. This will help you develop better reading skills in general to assist you on exams and in classes.
  • Think about yourself. What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to end up? What are you good at? What interests you?
  • Talk to people! Talk to everyone you know about their experiences in college and start to gauge what kind of experience you’re looking for.


September Junior Year

  • Meet with your school counselor and make sure you are on track to take classes that leave your options open for different universities. 
  • Try to get the best grades possible! You will have more colleges to choose from and a better chance at getting scholarships.
  • Pick up a PSAT study guide!
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities. Try to find things that you’re genuinely interested in (meaning don’t just choose things you think colleges want to see).


October Junior Year

  • Take the PSAT. Chances are you probably won’t get scholarship money from this test specifically, but it’s great practice for other tests like the SAT and ACT. 
  • Attend a college fair. 
  • Look through college guide books and websites. You can also start making a broad list of schools that interest you!
  • Start to educate yourself about financial aid. You can use the Net Price Calculator at to get a good idea of how much aid you may get.


November Junior Year

  • Start educating yourself on scholarships.
  • Start studying for the ACT and SAT. Khan Academy has a great SAT Prep Course that is super easy to keep up with. You can also pick up one of those abnormally large ACT Prep books and stare at it for months while you wonder how you will ever get through any of it. 
  • If you have a specific major in mind already, consider looking into specific requirements or suggestions based on whatever major that may be. 


December Junior Year

  • Talk to your counselor about what courses you should take Senior year.
  • Start thinking about what kind of college you want. What size? What location? Do you want to major in something that not every college offers?
  • Make a list of college features that are specific to your preferences.
  • Make sure you’re studying for those pesky ACTs and SATs.


January Junior Year

  • Meet with your school counselor and talk about what colleges you are interested in and what you need to be doing to stay on track to get to those universities. 
  • Start thinking about what you want to study in college. What interests you? What is your favorite subject? What could you see yourself doing for a living?
  • Register for the SAT if you want to take it in March.
  • Register for the ACT if you want to take it in February.
  • Double check that you’re registered for AP Exams. 


February Junior Year 

  • Start thinking about which teachers you want to write your recommendation letters. You should lean towards Junior year, core class teachers. You could also consider teachers who specialize in whatever major you are interested in. 
  • Turn in your Course Registration!
  • Keep on studying for the SAT and ACT. Pro Tip: START!


March Junior Year

  • Register for the SAT if you want to take it in May.
  • Narrow down your college list. Keep looking at those websites and brochures, and seriously think about where you want to go.
  • Register for the ACT if you want to take it in April. 
  • Please start studying for those tests. You know which ones I’m talking about.


April Junior Year

  • Register for the SAT if you want to take it in June.
  • Plan campus visits! This is a great way to learn more about the schools on your list.
  • AP Exams are next month. I’m not telling you to study. But I am telling you that if you don’t study you won’t do as well as you want to. 


May Junior Year

  • Register for the SAT if you want to take it in August.
  • Register for the ACT if you want to take it in June.
  • Remember to breathe while you’re taking your AP Exams. 
  • Start looking for a summer job or volunteer work. But absolutely do not overwork yourself over Summer Break, you need to come back to school fresh to kick off your last year of high school!


June Junior Year

  • Look into local scholarships.
  • Start thinking about your college essays!
  • Celebrate because you got through the hardest year of high school!


Summer Before Senior Year

  • Register for the SAT if you want to take it in October or November.
  • Visit colleges on your list! 
  • Start working on your college essays. Let plenty of people read them and give feedback. Remember that the point of the essay portion of the application is to let the college know things about you that aren’t on your transcript. 
  • Write a resume. This includes accomplishments, work experiences, activities, etc.


September Senior Year

  • Meet with your counselor to finalize your college list.
  • Get an FSA ID for yourself and your parents. You will need them to submit the FAFSA financial aid form. 
  • Set up campus visits and interviews.


October Senior Year

  • Register for the SAT if you want to take it in December or January.
  • Start working on your FAFSA and submit it as soon as possible. 
  • If you are applying Early Decision or Early Action, get started now.
  • Ask for recommendation letters.
  • Get those college essays nice and polished.


November Senior Year

  • Apply to colleges with rolling admission. 
  • Make sure your test scores will be sent by the testing agency to the colleges you are applying to.
  • Give your counselor the proper forms to send transcripts to your colleges.


December Senior Year

  • Try to finish your applications before winter break. 
  • If you applied Early Decision, December 15 will either be the best or worst day of your life.
  • Apply for scholarships.
  • Contact the financial aid office at the colleges on your list to make sure they don’t require any other forms.


January Senior Year

  • Submit your FAFSA!
  • Submit any other financial aid forms.
  • Let your colleges know of any accomplishments or honors that are not in your original application.


February Senior Year

  • Contact your colleges to confirm that all of your materials have been received properly. 
  • Correct or update your Student Aid Report if needed.
  • Confirm your registration for AP Exams.


March Senior Year 

  • Admission decisions are arriving! 
  • Revisit colleges that you have been accepted into. 
  • Do not start slacking in school, it’s really important to finish strong.


April Senior Year

  • Look into what kind of money you have gotten from various schools, and make a final decision.
  • Make sure you are doing everything on your part once you figure out what your final decision is. 
  • Notify the other colleges that you will not be attending their schools. 
  • Pat yourself on the back, you did it!


May Senior Year

  • Get through those AP Exams.
  • Study hard for final exams. Your final grades can be really important to some colleges.
  • Thank everyone who helped you through the entire process.
  • If you weren’t accepted anywhere, remember that college is only one option and it will always be there no matter where you are in life.


June Senior Year

  • Have your counselor send your final transcript to your college.
  • Think about summer jobs. Remember to have fun and save up some money to make the college experience a little bit easier.
  • Enjoy your last summer before the next chapter of your life!