Tustin, CA

A High School Senior's College Admission Guideline


Author: Rose, Jeremy

Tags: tutoring, College-Admissions

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12th Grade (Senior year)


  • Plan for final ACT/SAT dates
  • Finalize list of colleges to apply to (this should have some safety schools, match schools, and reachschools); contact your counselor if you are unsure of what schools should be on your list
  • Verify that the classes you signed up for meet the requirements of each school on your list and continue taking challenging classes as colleges do look at your senior year schedule in admissions decisions


  • Schedule interviews at colleges which require a personal interview for admission
  • Request letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, employers, or other relevant people (make sure to send thank you cards when these are completed) 
  • Create a chart with deadlines for each school, each portion of the application, and personal deadlines for essay writing, application completion, and testing
  • Work on your college application essays (get assistance from a counselor or tutor if this is not your strong suit)


  • Complete early decision or early action applications
  • Visit college fairs
  • Finalize essays
  • Request high school transcripts early, and make sure you have reviewed it before having it sent to a college
  • Update your deadline chart as things are completed or added to the listCollege Admissions Timeline


  • Begin to research scholarships and financial aid.
  •  Learn about the FAFSA.
  • Finalize applications and essays (most will be due next month!)
  • Double check that all components of each application have been completed
  • You should have completed all college admissions tests at this point- if you have not, discuss this with a counselor.


  • Turn in all applications
  • Confirm receipt of materials by each college to which you applied
  • Submit the FAFSA
  • Submit mid-year grades to colleges that require a senior year mid-year update
  • Continue to work on your GPA and extra curriculars
  • Start narrowing down the list of scholarships to apply to


  • Begin applying for scholarships
  • You will start to receive decisions soon (especially early decision, early action, and rolling admissions).
  • Make sure to think about each school very carefully and follow the directions for notifying the schools of your decision
  • Keep your grades up- colleges can revoke an admissions decision for declining grades.

February - April

  • Receive decisions from colleges and return your decision following the directions very carefully (keep track of all decisions very carefully- an excel spreadsheet is very helpful for this)
  • Think about housing decisions
  • Review FAFSA student aid report and start making plans for finances
  • Continue to apply for scholarships
  • Register and take AP exams
  • Keep your grades up
  • Go to accepted students’ open houses if available

May - June

  • Make final decision on which college you will be attending
  • Make the required deposit by their deadline
  • Finalize housing decisions
  • Take AP exams
  • Send final transcript to colleges that require it
  • Continue to work on scholarships and financing your education (including loans)
  • Send thank you letters to those that helped you along the way
  • Enjoy your graduation!
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /FreeDigitalPhotos.net