Senior Year College Tasks

There is a lot to do your senior year and the fall of 2020 is a year like no other. But never fear, there is more information online than ever before - the silver lining of COVID. Colleges are working hard to reach out to students - via virtual college tours, virtual information sessions and virtual high school visits. Check Naviance and sign up for informational sessions with your schools of interest.

Your LJHS counselors will meet with you as well, and have a lot of information to share. Start by reviewing this presentation which they showed you during your one-on-one meetings in September. Click here to review it.

Now, check out the timeline below and follow the steps. If you haven't done something that should have been completed by now, don't fret - just get busy!


  • Continue researching colleges and refine your list. Take into account college costs and find generous colleges. (Refer to Financial Aid section for additional information about merit aid.)

  • If you want to play a Division I or II sport in college, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center (

  • Visit all of your colleges if possible, or take virtual tours on their websites.

  • Finalize your Activities Resume with your accomplishments, activities, and work experiences.  It will help you with your organization as you begin your college applications.

  • Keep training and stay fit if you plan to play a sport in college.

  • If you haven’t done it before, this is a good time to make contact with the colleges on your list to let them know you are interested in them. You can email the regional admissions representative with specific questions (contact information is found on most college websites under "Admissions").

  • Attend online information sessions for your colleges. Watch their YouTube channels and follow them on social media.

  • Determine which of the colleges on your list you want to apply to first. If possible, have one school on your list that offers rolling admission and complete that application before school starts. 

  • Since the Common Application is available August 1; determine which colleges on your list accept the Common App; open your account and begin filling out the general information.

  • The UC application is also open as of August 1. If applying to UC schools, create your account and begin filling out the application.

  • Begin your essays (Common App schools) or Personal Insight Questions (UC schools). Refer to Essay tab under "Applying to College" for more information.

  • Organize a spreadsheet (or bulletin board or college application checklist - however you best organize yourself) with information on college name, due dates, parts of the application, scholarships. List information for all of your colleges.

  • Research whether your colleges offer interviews. Reach out to admissions to ask and book an interview over the phone, Skype or Zoom. Ask if you can interview with the admissions representative assigned to your school (and prepare for the interview - come armed with good questions)!

  • Decide whether or not you want to apply Early Decision or Early Action to college/s.



  • Meet with your counselor to finalize your list of colleges.  Make sure you include “safety,” “likely,” and “reach” schools.

  • Listen closely to all presentations from your counselors. Check your email daily for information from LJHS and from your colleges.

  • Request a fee waiver from your counselor if you can’t afford application fees.

  • Check your email for information on virtual college visits for your colleges - and sign up. Connect with the admission rep - get your questions answered and get their contact information so you can follow up with any additional questions.

  • Keep refining your essays. If English teachers offer advice as a class assignment, all the better.

  • If you are applying under an Early Decision or Early Action plan, get started now.  Some colleges have October deadlines.

  • Begin filling out any rolling admissions applications and/or first choice college applications.

  • Follow up with your teachers who you have asked for letters of recommendation, being sure they are aware of your deadlines and have all the materials they need to craft you a strong letter.



  • Complete your early, rolling, or first choice school applications and submit them in time to meet the college deadlines. Most early deadlines are at the end of October, beginning of November.

  • Don’t forget to print everything that you send colleges.

  • File all admissions applications, test scores, etc. on your computer. Don’t delete things - particularly those messages showing confirmation of submission. 

  • Make sure that your high school counselor, teachers and other recommenders send off their recommendation packages for your early, rolling applications.

  • IF you have SAT or ACT test scores you're planning to submit, check to see if they are self reported on your application or if your college wants an official score from the testing company.

  • Meet any college rep of colleges on your list that comes to your high school for an information session.

  • Attend any city meetings of colleges on your list.

  • Take the time to carefully fill out the applications, making sure that there are NO omissions or mistakes.

  • Finalize your college essays and ask your parents and teachers to review them.

  • If you will apply for financial aid, know the forms your colleges require. Both the FAFSA and the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE go live October 1 and can be submitted after that. For more information on Financial Aid, check that tab on this website.

  • If applying EA or ED, check your colleges' financial aid deadlines, as some colleges expect financial aid forms (FAFSA and CSS PROFILE if required) to be submitted at the same time as the application.

  • Remembering, that many colleges pay close attention to first semester, sometimes even quarter grades, keep your grades as high as you can.



  • Continue completing and submitting top-choice college applications, recycling essays from applications already completed.

  • Confirm that your SAT and/or ACT scores will be sent by the testing agency to each of your colleges.

  • Make sure your counselor has the proper forms to submit transcripts to your colleges at least two weeks in advance.

  • If you are applying to private colleges, your parents should prepare to complete the CSS/Profile for financial aid as early as November.



  • If you applied for Early Decision, you should have an answer by December 15.  If you are denied or deferred, submit applications now to other colleges.

  • Complete your regular college applications before winter break.  Make sure you have hard copies for your records.

  • Apply for scholarships in time to meet application deadlines.

  • Collect necessary information to complete the FAFSA.  Check the FAFSA website at for a list of what is required.

  • Contact the financial aid offices at the colleges on your list to see if they require any other financial aid forms.

  • Have your transcripts sent to each college.

  • If you have not yet been contacted by colleges whose applications you have completed regarding interviews, call the admissions offices to inquire how/when they will take place.

  • Make sure that your high school counselor has completed all of the School Report forms.

  • Make sure that your teachers and other recommenders have sent in their respective forms and letters.



  • Students with Early Decision acceptances need to say yes to that one school. Withdraw applications to other colleges.

  • For students who applied Early Action and/or Regular Admission, give your high school counselor copies of the Midyear Report forms. Provide a stamped, addressed envelope for each Midyear Report.

  • Complete and submit any last minute regular applications.

  • Check your portal for each college on your list to see if they have received all of the required application materials. 

  • Check your email daily for information from your colleges. Some schools will email a student about missing information instead of posting it to the portal. Submit any missing materials immediately to be sure your application file is complete and that your application can be reviewed by the college's deadline.

  • Update colleges with any new information, including recent awards, athletic achievements, volunteer efforts, etc. This is particularly important for students deferred for Early Decision, or Early Action Single Choice applications.


  • Research and apply for scholarships. Although you may not have received an acceptance yet, many colleges have specific scholarships for the university, college or department you have applied to in addition to scholarships offered by Alumni Associations. Be sure to check deadlines and see what is available and apply.

  • Research housing options at each of your schools - determine what is available and think about what might be a good environment for you so you are ready when your acceptances arrive. Some housing deposits are required right away in order to secure your first choice.


  • Admission decisions start arriving.  Read everything you receive carefully, as some may require prompt action on your part.

  • As acceptances start coming in, talk with your parents about last minute college visits to schools that really interest you.



  • Attend admitted student programs at colleges to which you have been accepted. Also, attend local alumni receptions.

  • Narrow-down the list of schools in which you are interested. 

  • Carefully compare financial aid award letters from the colleges that accept you—it might not be clear which is the better offer.  If you have questions, contact the college’s financial aid office or talk to your counselor.

  • If you don’t get enough aid, consider your options, including appealing the award.

  • Make a financial decision, accept the aid package and mail a deposit check to the college you select before May 1 (the acceptance deadline for most colleges).

  • If you have trouble deciding which college you want to attend, consult with your college counselor, teachers or other people you respect.

  • If you are on a wait list for a college you really want, discuss with the school counselor what you can do to get off the list.

  • Notify the other colleges that you won’t be attending (so another student can have your spot).

  • By May 1, send in your admissions deposit and notify one college that you have decided to accept their letter of admittance.

  • Inform all other colleges that you will not be accepting their admissions offer.

  • Fill-out housing preference forms for your chosen college.

  • Let your college counselor, teachers and other recommenders know about your college decision. Thank them for their help.



  • Take your AP Exams.  Make sure your AP Grade Report is sent to your college.

  • Stay focused!  Study hard for final exams.  Offers of admission are contingent on your final grades.

  • Thank everyone who wrote you recommendations or otherwise helped with your college applications.

  • If you weren’t accepted anywhere, don’t give up—you still have options. The National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) maintains a list of colleges which still have space after May 1 and usually post the list by May 5. Many schools still have financial aid to award as well. Check



  • Make sure a final transcript is sent to the college of your choice.

  • Note on your calendar when room and board and tuition is due for your college.

  • If you plan on competing in Division I or II college sports, have your counselor send your final transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

  • Think about summer job opportunities.  The more money you have saved the less pressure you will have during the school year.

  • You did it!!!  What a great accomplishment.  You are officially on to the next phase of your life.  Work hard and you can accomplish great things!