Ready : Timeline
Since deadlines vary for the different schools you are applying to, it’s best to develop your own timeline and calendar to keep track of them. You may also want to get a binder or notebook to keep all of your college admissions and financial aid paperwork in together. Remember to keep copies of everything you submit to schools!
Here are some general dates to keep in mind:
- Meet with your school counselor to make sure you're on track to graduate.
- Register for the ACT or SAT if you haven’t already.
- Make a list of your top school choices and contact their admissions and financial aid offices to find out about their admission requirements, deadlines, and required financial aid forms.
- If you're applying for early action or early admission, prepare and submit your application.
- Start thinking about which teachers and mentors may be good candidates for writing your recommendation letters and talk to them about it.
- Use the US Department of Education's FAFSA4Caster tool to familiarize yourself with the FAFSA and see what kinds of financial aid you may be eligible for.
- Start gathering the items you need for your FAFSA or WASFA, but don't submit the selected application before October 1.
- Make sure you know the financial aid filing deadlines for each of the schools you plan to apply to.
- Take the ACT or SAT (or both) as early as possible. Leave yourself time to retake them if you need to.
- Start asking for letters of recommendation for your applications.
- Submit your FAFSA or WASFA as soon after October 1 as possible.
- Be on the lookout for scholarships that can help you pay for school.
- Take the ACT, SAT, or both.
- If you applied for early action or early decision, contact the admissions office at the college to make sure all of your paperwork and forms have been received.
- Check in with your recommenders; remind them of application due dates.
- Most four-year schools have admissions deadlines in December and January. Check this list of admissions and financial aid deadlines for all of the four-year colleges and universities in Washington, and mark the dates on your calendar.
- Keep looking out for scholarships – free money for your education! Create a profile on TheWashBoard.org. If you choose to use other scholarship search sites, remember that you should never pay for scholarship searches or FAFSA help.
- If you filed early decision applications, you could already be hearing back from schools.
- Prepare yourself. While applying to college is awesome and exciting, people don’t always get into their number one choice. It’s not the end of the world! Always keep exploring options & opportunities.
- Write thank you notes to the people who helped you with applications – your parents, guidance counselors, & recommendation writers!
- If you haven't already, try to visit the campuses of the schools you're most interested in. If getting to the campus is too difficult, look online for a virtual campus tour. Many colleges have videos of their campuses on their websites and on YouTube.
- Start thinking about housing, will you stay at home or live in the residence halls? Meal plans? Roommates?
- Keep hunting for scholarships!
- Contact the admissions and financial aid offices of the colleges you've applied to and make sure you've submitted all required forms and paperwork.
- Decide which college to attend! In making your decision, compare financial aid awards from each of your choices. Calculate all of your costs and consider which school gave you the best award package to meet your financial needs.
- Start researching classes and talking to academic advisers at your new school!
- Pay enrollment or housing deposits. Many of these can be reduced or waived depending on your financial situation, so double check with the school you choose about the different options!
- Graduation time! Have fun at the end of your senior year and thank all the teachers who have helped you along your high school journey!
Click here to learn more about college admission deadlines in Washington.