If your child is entering his or her senior year of high school, you’re already well into College Planning Mode (at least we hope you are). Senior year will be one of the busiest years of your child’s education. In addition to all the normal stuff they’re busy with (i.e., classes, studying, clubs/activities, sports, etc.), they’ll also be busy taking or retaking important tests, applying to colleges, researching scholarships and so much more. It can be intimidating, overwhelming, and confusing, not only for your student, but for you as well.
But don’t hit the panic button just yet. Every year tens of thousands of high school seniors and their parents successfully navigate the college preparation process, and so will you. What’s important is that you’re there to support your child during this important time in their life and try to make it as enjoyable and stress free as possible.
To help you get off on the right foot this important school year, we’ve put together a little Senior Year Calendar for the first semester. Follow this checklist as you go to keep you and your child on track and on task between now and the end of the year.
August — September
- Set aside an evening with your child to go over your goals and possible colleges, and then come up with a detailed plan of action for the fall.
- Find out about upcoming college fairs you’ll want to attend.
- Make your plans for your college visits.
- If your child needs to take or retake the ACT and/or SAT, make sure they’re registered to take them ASAP.
- Review applications from your child’s target colleges and make a list of all the information you’ll need to provide.
- Make sure you student meets with their school counselor to make sure they’re on track to graduate.
- If appropriate, look into your local community college to see if there’s any extra courses they can take to start earning college credits.
- Make sure you know the registration, application, and financial aid deadlines for all the colleges your child is interested in.
- Begin taking your college visits.
- Attend any available college fairs to meet reps and get more information about their target schools.
- If possible, try to help your child make their decisions now so they can get their applications in early.
- Certain colleges require the CSS/PROFILE, which is a supplemental financial aid form in addition to the FAFSA. Find out if any of you the colleges your child is applying to requires this form.
- Have your child ask for and get any necessary recommendations they need from their teachers and school administrators.
- Research and apply for scholarships online.
- Try to get you child to narrow down their college list, and make sure you’re aware of the application deadlines.
- Continue making your campus visits.
- Understand your child’s high school’s procedure for sending transcripts to colleges.
- If your child needs to retake the SAT or ACT, make sure they register now. January is their absolute last chance to take the SAT; February for the ACT.
- Download the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.gov (can’t be completed until after January 1.), and attend any available financial aid courses in your area.
- Double-check that all of your child’s transcripts have been sent to their colleges of choice.
That’s it! Piece of cake, right?
Don’t worry. You’ll get it all done. Just work with your child month-by-month and before you know it they’ll be receiving their college acceptance letters in the mail.
We’ll look at the second semester checklist a little later on. Stay tuned…and good luck! ~