NCFS College Planning Center
College Deadline Calendar | Print |
College Planning Center - College Planning Center

Reduce the stress of getting accepted for college with advance planning and a strategy for success. These calendars are working checklists for your freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. Included are tips for making the most of every opportunity to enhance your acceptance at the school of your choice. 


  1. Investigate career information in areas that interest you. 
  2. Analyze the courses you should be taking throughout high school to prepare for those careers. 
  3. Discuss career interests and post secondary education possibilities with your parents.
  4. Meet and talk with your school counselor about yourself and your future. Take your parents with you. 
  5. Find out about summer jobs, endeavor to find employment, and start saving. 
  6. Get involved in school and community service activities to build a helpful resume for use when applying for scholarships.


  1. Begin to look at college catalogs and other college material including financial aid materials. 
  2. Take the PSAT in October for practice in taking college admission tests and to establish eligibility for some scholarships. 
  3. See your counselor about taking an interest inventory. 
  4. Make certain that your high school course selections are appropriate for your college/career interests. 
  5. Continue to talk with your parents about your educational interests and about your family's ability to help you finance them.
  6. Continue to discuss your interests and concerns with your counselor.
  7. Continue to get involved in school and community service activities to enhance your ability to win scholarships.

J U N I O R 

  • Consult your high school counselor about registering for the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT). This test is mandatory to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program and the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding African-American Students. These scores are applied when analyzing eligibility for many sources of scholarships and financial aid. 
  • Take the PSAT's. Review your results mid-month and decide whether you need a prep course. 
  • Start reviewing college catalogs available in the guidance office or school library and web site. Make a list of the 10 or so colleges you would like to attend. Send for information. 
  • Begin researching sources for educational gifts (scholarships, grants, endowments), if needed, which do not have to be repaid. 
  • Attend college night programs at your high school. Talk to college representatives and pick up free information provided.
  • Continue the search for financial aid sources.
  • Work hard in the classroom to improve grades. Often graduating in the top 10% of the class will offset less than perfect SAT/ACT scores and help students obtain admission to their college of choice. 
  • If interested in engineering, consult your guidance counselor about taking the National Engineering Aptitude Search (NEAS) tests. 
  • Register for the spring SAT I, II or ACT. 
  • Take the SAT. These scores are needed for early admission or by colleges with fall application deadlines.
  • Visit some of your potential colleges over spring break. The exposure and information gained from these trips is well worth the time and expense. Attend High School Visitation Days sponsored by colleges. Remember, these days usually do not carry forward.
  • Be sure to check with guidance counselor, churches, employers, chamber of commerce and other business organizations for sources of scholarships, grants and other endowments.
  • If enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, take AP tests. 
  • Begin to record thoughts for college application essays.
  • Visit other colleges you're considering. 


When should you begin submitting applications? Check for your schools' deadlines! Some dates in the application package are suggested, while others are absolute. Be sure you know the difference. Leave plenty of time for things like getting forms and transcripts, obtaining letters of recommendation, and writing those essays.

Remember, too, that applying for financial aid is a separate process that starts with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if you think you don't qualify for aid, be sure to complete the FAFSA —— many scholarship programs depend on FAFSA information.

As you begin the application process, mark your calendar with the schools' key dates to ensure your applications are timely and complete. Refer to the sample timeline provided below, but keep in mind that it's a very general list. You'll need to be specific when you establish your target dates. You should also allow for school and federal mail holidays, as well as which day might be best for certain tasks. (Mondays and Fridays aren't usually good days.)

Timeline: Your Senior Year


  • Obtain applications from the school, your guidance counselor, or online.
  • Make copies to use for rough drafts/practice.
  • Decide who you'll ask to write recommendations.
  • Check with your guidance office about requesting transcripts.
  • Mark your calendar with specific due dates for all the schools to which you will apply. 


  • Ask respected people for letters of recommendation.
  • Begin filling out applications and working on essays.
  • Submit Part 1 of the Common Application, if applicable.
  • If you are applying for Early Decision, complete and submit the application. (Often, November 1 is the deadline.)
  • Make copies for your file. 


  • Complete applications for normal admissions, either online or by mail. If submitting by mail, allow plenty of time in case of mailing delays.
  • If required by the school, apply for housing when you submit the application.


  • Request that your guidance counselor send transcripts with first semester grades to your intended schools. Be sure to provide instructions and address information.
  • If you have received no confirmation from your school, verify that the admissions office received all your documents.


  • Review your admissions information to ensure you have completed the application process. (For example, have you settled your housing and meal-plan situation?) 
  • Register for the Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if needed.
  • Request that your final transcript be sent to your school.