Successfully preparing for college should begin before your senior year. This timeline provides a rough outline of the major benchmark along the way. Be diligent in the process and ask teachers and the Guidance Office for help. If you're late in the process, don't worry, stop in the Guidance Office to establish a unique timeline.
- Sophomore year: College prep sophomores should take the ACT/SAT by April
- Junior year: Visit one or more schools of interest
- Junior year, December - April: Take ACT/SAT (practice!)
- Junior year: Revisit Ohio Means Jobs Career Assessment for possible areas of study
- Senior year: Continue with college visits
- Senior year: Take ACT/SAT and submit scores to schools/NCAA
- Senior year, October - April: Apply for admission to schools. Contact teachers for letters of reference
- Senior year, October - April: Apply for scholarships - Listen to announcement and pick up information in the Guidance Office
- Senior year: Let Guidance know when you have been accepted to a school so final transcripts can be sent
Making Sense of College Terms
College planning has changed a great deal since many parents were in high school. For one thing, there are more terms than ever before. What do they all mean? Here’s a guide to help you make sense of them.
- Common/universal application. This form allows your student to submit one application to many different schools. Contact schools to find out if they accept the common/universal application. Check out the Common Application and Universal College Application online. Some schools also require supplemental forms.
- Early action (EA). A student can apply by November of the senior year to an early action school and receive an admission response early, usually by mid-December. The decision is usually non-binding, but the applicant may need to agree to forgo applying to other early action/early decision institutions. Non-binding means your student is still free to apply to other schools even if accepted by an early-action school.
- Early decision (ED). This is a good option if a student has only one college in mind. A student usually applies by November and receives a decision by December. The main difference from early action is that early decision offers are binding, which means that your student promises from the start to attend the early decision school if his or her application is accepted.
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form required for determining student financial aid, the FAFSA should be completed and submitted as soon after January 1 as possible. The form and supporting information can be found on the FAFSA website.
- Open admissions or open enrollment colleges. To enroll at one of these schools, a student typically needs just a high school degree or a GED. Colleges usually make the decision without regard to a student’s previous academic performance. However, some students may need to take tests to be placed in appropriate first-year classes.
- Rolling admissions. This is a process in which a school reviews applications and makes decisions on them until the freshman class is filled. Some schools may have a hard deadline for applications for each semester, so look for cut-off dates.
- Selective admissions. This refers to the policy of admitting only well-qualified applicants, based on high school grades, admission test scores, and additional personal information often provided through essays, resumes, interviews, and letters of recommendation.
- Transcript. This official record of high school or college courses and grades is generally required as part of the college application.
- Wait list. Students who have not yet been admitted to a college, but who are still under consideration, are placed on a wait list. A college does not offer or deny admission, but extends the possibility of admission before the admission cycle is completed.
College Week Live
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
FAFSA's StudentAid.gov & Social Media Sites
FinancialAidToolkit.ed.gov "consolidates financial aid resources & content into a searchable online database, making it easy for individuals to quickly access information".
NCAA Clearing House