Get Ready for College Applications!

We’re halfway through summer and college applications will be due before you know it! Start prepping now, if you haven’t already. Follow this monthly breakdown to stay on top of the process:

AUGUST – SEPTEMBER

  1. Double-check with your school counselor to make sure you’re on track to graduate and fulfill college admission requirements.

  2. Continue to take every opportunity to get to know colleges. Attend local college fairs, talk with current college students, meet with college reps who visit your school, follow schools on social media, attend virtual tours and events, and visit campuses in person.

  3. Create a checklist and calendar to keep track of college application due dates (UC, CSU, and Common App schools). Make note of the other materials, such as recommendations or essays, you’ll need to complete your applications.

  4. Start working on your college essays (UC Personal Insight Questions and Personal Statement for the Common Application). Get feedback on your drafts.
  5. Always have these numbers and resources handy: 
    • Your Social Security number
    • Personal information: In the first portion of a college application, you’ll have to provide basic information about yourself, your high school, and your family.
    • A copy of your high school transcript

OCTOBER

  1. Financial Aid Applications (FAFSA and CA Dream Act) open on October 1st. Submit your application as soon as possible—don’t wait until the March 2nd deadline! In addition to determining your eligibility for federal funds, many colleges and states use the form when distributing grants, so don’t delay. Expect your Student Aid Report (SAR) a few days after you’ve submitted your Financial Aid Application. In order to complete your CA Dream Act application or your FAFSA, you’ll need your parents’ tax documents from 2020

  2. If you plan to apply for Early Decision or Early Action, some colleges will have deadlines as early as this month. Mark these dates!

  3. If you can’t afford the application fees that many colleges charge, ask your counselor to help you request a fee waiver.

  4. Finalize your college essays (UC Personal Insight Questions and Common App Personal Statement).

  5. If your schools require letters of recommendation, ask for those now. 
    • Seek out recommenders (teachers, school counselors, coaches, employers) who know you well and can comment not just on your academic abilities but also your personal qualities and other types of achievements.
    • Provide recommenders with a Brag Sheet or a copy of your resume to help them cover all the bases.

  6. Research scholarships. 
    • Ask your counselor, your colleges, and local religious and civic groups about scholarship opportunities. 
    • Check out scholarship websites like Fastweb.com.
    • Remember, you should never pay for scholarship information.

NOVEMBER – DECEMBER

  1. Finalize and send any early decision or early action applications due at this time.

  2. Submit your University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) applications by November 30th! No late applications will be accepted—ever! Have a parent, teacher, counselor, mentor, or femtor review your applications before you submit.

  3. Many popular and selective colleges will have application deadlines as early as Jan. 1. Others have deadlines later in January and February.

  4. Every college will require a copy of your transcript from your high school. Follow your school’s procedure for sending transcripts.

  5. In January, ask your counseling center or registrar to send first semester transcripts to schools where you applied. At the end of the school year, they will need to send final transcripts to the college you will attend. 

You got this!

Katie Craig

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