Planning Timeline

Steps to applying to Four-Year colleges

In a very brief format, here are the basic steps to applying for admission to a four-
year or baccalaureate college. More details about each of these steps are available at
other locations within this website, or by talking with the counselor or the Career

Freshman, Sophomore Years

  1. Take the most challenging courses available.

  2. Do as well as possible in those courses.

  3. Keep a record of activities, employment, and awards.

Junior Year

  1. Continue to take challenging courses.

  2. Research different colleges and programs. Develop a list of colleges (6-8 maximum) to apply to and request information through their websites.

  3. Visit college campuses whenever possible to help decide where to apply. Midwinter break and spring break are good times for this.

  4. Take the PSAT in fall of the junior year and take the SAT or ACT in the spring of the junior year. Check whether SAT II (Subject Tests) is needed for specific colleges.

Senior Year

  1. Gather application information and start file for each school.

  2. Fill out and send applications, preferably online. Print out copy for records. Have test scores sent to the colleges.

  3. Request secondary school reports from the counselor if needed. Use Letter of Recommendation form for each college. Request and have letters of recommendation sent from teachers and others, if needed.

  4. Request financial aid information from colleges.

  5. Have transcripts sent from high school and, if a Running Start student, also from SPSCC.

  6. File Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for financial assistance with college costs. FAFSA forms are available online and can be filed after January 1 of the senior year. Have results sent to the selected colleges. Pin numbers can be obtained starting in November. A pin number will be needed by both the student and parent.

  7. Watch deadlines and get in applications ahead of that time. Last-minute applications can get lost, misfiled and there will be no leeway for error.

  8. Check with the college to determine if any other financial aid forms are needed. Keep files for each college and track paperwork received and other information.

  9. Select college to attend by May 1st deadline. Make sure to watch for housing,orientation, and other deadlines at the college.

  10. Track deadlines for graduation, announcements, final transcripts, caps and gowns, etc. at high school.

  11. Read Senior Notes online or pick up a copy monthly in the Counseling and/or Career Center.

  12. Graduate and go on to further education! Congratulations!