This Too Shall Pass
The College Secret
Senior year can run smoothly if you stick to a plan. Here are suggested activities to complete as your senior year progresses:
If you are participating in a parallel enrollment program at a local college, verify that you are scheduled for your intended class(es) and that your tuition is fully paid.
When you get your schedule, verify that you are enrolled in the credits that are remaining for you to earn a high school diploma. You will not have the option of changing your mind about a level of a class or an elective, but if a required class is somehow missing, notify your school counselor immediately. Evening or Saturday School may be necessary.
Ensure that your college list is set to 4-8 schools, and start the applications. You can establish your www.commonapp.org account on August 1 and start working on the essays and other supplements. Also, make sure that you can log on to your College Board and ACT accounts, to authorize them to send your scores to your colleges by the application deadlines.
If that is part of your plan, register for the September ACT. The registration deadline is usually at the end of the second week of August.
Read through the college planning guide that was distributed in English 12 classes.
Continue working your college applications, including the essays. Schedule college visits for weekends and school days that are planned to be closed for students.
Polish your resume and make sure that you have two teachers willing to write recommendation letters for your application. For schools that you are applying to on Common App, provide the teachers' email addresses so that they can log on and upload their recommendation letters.
Request transcripts through the Naviance Family Connection, provide a parent's signature to authorize school to send your records, and pay the required processing fees. When you bring in these forms to the school counseling office, you should also indicate whether or not you need your school counselor to write a letter of recommendation. Common App requires it. If you do, please provide the counselor recommendation form so that we can incorporate your perspective into the letter.
College Application red flags:
- Lower-than-usual grades that aren't addressed in your statements.
- NOT waiving your FERPA rights.
The registration deadline for the October SAT is usually the second week of September, and the registration deadline for the October ACT is usually the last week of September.
This is the time to get your applications done, particularly if you have November and December deadlines. If you have not yet done so, request your transcript and recommendation letter with 3-4 weeks to spare before these deadlines.
Ensure that you have requested your SAT/ACT scores to be sent directly to your colleges. The deadline to register for the November SAT is usually the end of the first week of October.
Submit your college applications by the set deadlines, and ensure that you have paid the application fees, requested that College Board send your SAT scores and ACT send their scores, and requested your transcripts and teacher/counselor letters of recommendation, all by those deadlines.
Check your application status with the colleges about two weeks after you are sure everything was submitted, to verify their receipt. Admissions offices process hundreds to thousands of applications, each comprising of many documents. It sometimes takes several weeks to process all of these documents before a student's application is complete, and can then be evaluated.
In December, your family should request your FAFSA PIN to ensure smooth submission of your FAFSA. Because we don't get W-2's until the end of January, it is advised that you prepare to estimate your income based off of last year's 1040's and this year's year-end pay stubs.
As early as possible in January, submit your FAFSA. The earlier you complete and submit this, the more likely you will be to receive federal and state grants.
Review the admissions requirements for the colleges to which you are applying and note which schools require midyear transcripts. Follow our procedures for requesting midyear transcripts, which will not be available until you get your 2nd quarter report cards - regardless of when colleges say they want your midyear transcript.
If you have not yet done so, start applying for scholarships.
Ensure that you request your midyear transcript before our stated deadline (usually the Friday before 2nd quarter report cards are released).
Register for AP exams.
Apply for local scholarships by the stated deadline.
Now that local scholarships were due, you are advised to spend your time this month visiting your colleges one last time to make your decision, working on other scholarships, and studying for your AP exams.
If you end up not getting admitted to any of your colleges, see your school counselor for a list of colleges that have late deadlines, or consider CCBC as a viable method for starting college at a very reasonable cost.
Take your AP exams, send your deposit to your colleges, and arrange for freshman placement testing.
Ensure that before you are done with AP testing, you indicate on your answer sheet what college you are going to in order to ensure that the college receives your scores in a timely fashion.
Contact your college's academic advisor to discuss first-semester courses. AP scores are available in July.
How to request your high school transcript:
- Return the transcript release form (available in the counseling office), signed by parent.
- Log onto your Naviance Family Connection account and add the transcript requests through "Colleges I'm applying to."
- Pay $2 per transcript (we will take care of the envelope and postage).
- If you need a letter of recommendation, be sure to complete the school counselor recommendation letter survey in the "about me" tab.
- Within ten days of the above four steps being complete, transcripts (and letter, if applicable) will be sent in the most efficent manner possible.
To request a letter of recommendation from your school counselor, complete page 20 of the College Admissions Process packet, along with a copy of your resume or activity list. The letter from your counselor should really not be a reiteration of your activities and transcript, but it often helps us to understand what else you do outside of school.
Please don't request changes to your schedule senior year
Applying for scholarships
Pikesville HS Library's SAT prep Livebinder site
Preparing your graduating senior for college