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Senior Year College Tasks

The college application process kicks off in the fall of your senior year - so it is important to be prepared and do some work over the summer before senior year if possible. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that there is more information online than ever before. Colleges are working hard to reach out to students - via virtual college tours and online information sessions. Take advantage of online resources (including colleges' social media) and if you have questions about one of your colleges and you can't find the information on the school's website, email the college's admissions counselor for our area to get your questions answered. The names of the college admissions representative handling your high school, area or zip code can usually be found on the colleges' websites under "Admission".

Your LJHS counselors will meet with you as well, and have a lot of information to share. Start by reviewing these presentations: the first was shown by LJHS counselors during in-classroom visits in September, 2022, and here is the link to that presentation. The second program "College Kick-Off" was presented by Linda Dowley on September 21,2022. You can view slides from that presentation here.

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 any of your college/s.



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

  • Make sure your email is up-to-date in Xello. Email will be the main way that colleges and the LJHS counseling office will communicate with you, so get used to checking email frequently.

  • Listen closely to all presentations from your counselors. PowerPoint slides are posted above, so refer to them if needed.

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

  • Check your email for information on virtual or in-person college representative 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 (most colleges are allowing self-reporting. If your scores do not strengthen your application (meaning that they fall below the 50% mark of the colleges admitted student profile) do not submit them unless your college requires scores.

  • Check email for a weekly list of college representative presentations at LJHS (in-person or virtual). Sign up and attend sessions for any colleges on your list. 

  • Attend any in-person, local city meetings of colleges on your list. You will hear about these if you have signed up on your colleges' websites to receive information.

  • 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.

  • UC and CSU deadlines are November 30. Please complete your applications prior to Thanksgiving break and have your counselor look them over if you have any areas of concern. Submit your applications at least 48 hours prior to the deadline to avoid computer glitches and system crashes that seem to occur at this institutions every year!

  • If you have test scores you would like considered with your application, and if your college does not allow for self-reporting of scores, confirm that your SAT and/or ACT scores will be sent by the testing agency. Remember that UC and CSU schools will not see any test scores while reviewing applications. If you submit scores and are admitted and enroll, your scores may be used for placement. You will not be disadvantaged if you have no scores.

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

  • If you have not yet done so, check to see what financial aid forms are required by your college. All colleges want to see the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) but over 200 schools also require the CSS Profile for financial aid. Check the Financial Aid tab of this website for additional information. Forms opened October 1 and should be completed sooner rather than later.

  • Check to see if your colleges have priority deadlines! These may be earlier deadlines for merit aid, honor status, or for certain in-demand majors. And remember that the deadline for financial aid forms MAY be earlier if you are applying EA or ED. Be sure to check all deadlines!



  • 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.

  • Follow instructions for your counselor and/or the registrar to 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. Not all schools offer interviews, but if your college does, take advantage of that opportunity...come prepared with questions, be on-time and polite, write a thank you note after.

  • 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, follow instructions from your high school counselor regarding Midyear Report forms and transcripts. Getting these sent to your colleges may be automatic, but there may be more you need to do. Check your email or go see your counselor.

  • 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 pay your enrollment deposit 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). An email is fine or there may be an opportunity to let them know in your portal. This is just good manners AND a kindness to waitlisted students.

  • 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 (following instructions from your counselor).

  • 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!

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