College Planning

Freshman Year

  1. Become involved in high school both in class and out.

  2. Set academic goals for the year.

  3. Explore extracurricular opportunities like clubs, sports, and service activities.

  4. Start an activities list or resume to keep track of your activities, leadership positions, community service, honors, awards, summer experiences, and jobs.

  5. Take assessments, such as MAPs and mock ACT. Look at your results to see what areas you need to improve.

  6. Sign up for appropriate mentoring programs, such as College Track.

  7. Evaluate your grades each quarter and determine what you are doing well and what you need to improve. Remember that everything counts; you are building your record for college admission beginning with your freshman year.

  8. Strive to score Excellent or Mastery on EOC or LEAP 2025 tests.

Sophomore Year

  1. Review your academic goals and update your activities list or resume.

  2. Take assessments, such as MAPs and mock ACT. Look at your results to see what areas you need to improve for next year’s ACT test.

  3. Evaluate your performance and your interests in different academic areas. If you are strong in particular subjects, talk with your teachers about taking Honors and Pre-IB courses.

  4. Strive to score Excellent or Mastery on EOC or LEAP 2025 tests.

  5. Consider applying for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program or the Bard Early College program for juniors and seniors.

  6. Consider Dual Enrollment at Delgado Community College.

  7. Consider informal visits to nearby colleges and universities.

Junior Year


  1. Review your academic plans and update your resume.

  2. Use your Naviance account to research colleges.

  3. Make use of your counselor and college planning resources available in the Counseling Office, as well as Naviance and other Internet sites.

  4. Make use of college visits to school, evening information sessions, and college fairs. Listen to their presentations and ask questions about your particular interests. Pick up information and sign up for mailing lists.

  5. Establish the type of college that you would like to attend. Use college guides, Naviance, and other Internet resources.  Talk to others about their college choices and experiences.

  6. Evaluate your report card grades: determine what you are doing well in and what you need to improve to meet your academic goals for the year. The grade point average provided to colleges when you apply is cumulative through the end of your junior year so you want to make it a good year.

  7. Prepare for the ACT and/or SAT!  You want to study to obtain a good score on these important tests.


  1. Register for your ACT account.

  2. Prepare rough drafts of several essay topics with the help of teachers and your counselor.

  3. Draft your high school resume to use for college applications.

  4. Encourage your parents to attend all junior parents’ evening programs at the school to get college information.

  5. Continue your college research. Develop a preliminary list of colleges.

  6. Plan for and do your best on the State-wide ACT given in the Spring. Review the results and begin planning strategies to improve your scores on future attempts.

  7. Apply for the CAP (College Application Program) through YLC (Young Leadership Council) for a mentor for college mentoring.

  8. Go on college visits. When you visit college campuses, be sure to ask questions, talk to college students, and keep track of what you liked and disliked on each campus.

  9. If you are enrolled in IB courses, prepare for the exams given in May.

  10. Allow enough time to prepare for all of your final exams.

  11. Plan to spend your summer productively.

Senior Year

August – September

  1. Review your academic plans and update your resume.

  2. Submit applications! Get your applications in early for any Early Action/Early Decision schools.

  3. Request transcripts and school reports once you get your application in.

  4. Encourage your parents to attend all senior parents’ meeting for college information.

  5. Register to take the ACT and/or SAT exams again.

  6. Schedule times to meet with your counselor to discuss your college plans, refine your college list, and update your activities.

  7. Request teacher recommendations; provide them with the materials they need to write on your behalf.

  8. Attend college visits at school for any colleges you are interested in.

  9. Start looking into possible scholarships.


  1. Complete all rolling, Early Action, and Early Decision applications, if you have not already done so.

  2. Complete any scholarship applications you are eligible for.

  3. Complete the CSS Profile if you plan to seek financial aid and are applying to selective colleges that use the profile.

  4. Check with your teachers on completing your teacher recommendations.

  5. With your parents, complete the FAFSA.  Note any financial aid application deadlines.


  1. Request that your transcript and the mid-year school report be sent to each of your schools.

  2. Verify that colleges have all necessary materials from you.

January – February

  1. If you have not already done so, with your parents, complete the FAFSA.  Note any financial aid application deadlines. Colleges recommend submitting it as soon as possible after January 1st.

  2. Submit additional information to colleges who deferred your Early Action/Early Decision applications.

  3. Complete any additional scholarship applications for which you are eligible.

March – April

  1. Check your mail and your college accounts! Regular admissions notifications begin in early March and continue through mid April.

  2. Update your status at your colleges as you hear of decisions. If you are placed on a wait list, additional information to support your application may be sent at this time.

  3. Revisit colleges where you have been accepted to help in making your final decision.

  4. Notify the college you will attend prior to May 1 (Common Reply Date); notify all other colleges of your decision not to accept their offer of acceptance.

  5. Contact the financial aid office at the college you will attend with questions concerning your financial aid package.

  6. Prepare for IB exams to be held in early May.

May – June

  1. Submit one single deposit to the college of your choice by May 1 (Common Reply Date)

  2. Complete the additional steps necessary to remain active on a wait list by May 1.

  3. Take IB exams.

  4. Congratulations on your graduation from high school. Soon you will be going to college!

  5. Have your final transcript sent to the college you are attending.