Taking Charge!
  Senior Year College Planning

Senior year in high school means the start of a new phase of life for a teenager. It is the transition year to young adulthood. To some that means making a career choice for after graduation; for others, it means planning postgraduate education, either through college or a career, vocational, or technical school; and for some, it could mean joining one of the armed services. Whatever the choice, you are now clearly part of planning for your future.

If college is your goal, there are many activities you need to plan. You have to investigate colleges, plan your testing schedules, make decisions about early admissions, and more. You also have to learn to work carefully with your parents so planning college finances, visits, decisions, and such can be managed easily and efficiently.

For those considering college or higher education, there are some ways you can take charge of the college process and make it easier for both you and your parents. Here is a brief breakdown of activities and timelines to help you take charge of your senior year. You can print this page and keep it in your College Planning file.

August

Make a list of colleges that interest you.

       College               Need More Information?

1. ____________________     _________________________
2. ____________________     _________________________
3. ____________________     _________________________
4. ____________________     _________________________

Applying for early decisions? Record the colleges and application deadlines here:


      College             Application Due  Test Scores
1. ____________________   ______________   __________
2. ____________________   ______________   __________
3. ____________________   ______________   __________
4. ____________________   ______________   __________

September

Start compiling your letters of recommendations from teachers, employers, friends in the community, activities advisors. List the people here. Check them off when you have received the letters.

 
      Name                  Returned
1. ____________________   ______________
2. ____________________   ______________
3. ____________________   ______________
4. ____________________   ______________

Have You registered for the SATs or ACTs ? Yes ___ No ___

If yes, Date __________ Time _________ Place _______________

You can still make it for the fall testing period. Meet with your guidance counselor for information.

October

If you are planning to apply for early decisions, complete and submit your applications now.

Be sure you have correctly noted their dates.

 
       College         Applications Deadline
1. ____________________   ______________
2. ____________________   ______________
3. ____________________   ______________
4. ____________________   ______________

November

Start writing application essays for each college. Give to an English teacher or guidance counselor to review:

 
        College           Draft  Final  Ready
1. ____________________   _____  _____  _____
2. ____________________   _____  _____  _____
3. ____________________   _____  _____  _____
4. ____________________   _____  _____  _____

Have your first-semester grades sent to the schools to which you are applying.

 
       College              Date Sent
1. ____________________   ______________
2. ____________________   ______________
3. ____________________   ______________
4. ____________________   ______________

Take SAT or ACT tests.

Date ________ Time ___________Place ______________

December

Complete all college applications and mail with all accompanying materials, essays, letters of recommendation, etc.

 
      College              Date Sent
1. ____________________   ______________
2. ____________________   ______________
3. ____________________   ______________
4. ____________________   ______________

Visit guidance counselor to discuss scholarship and grant opportunities.

December/ January

Begin gathering tax information . Your parents will need an estimate of their previous year's income tax (1040) for your Free Application for Federal Student Aid ( FAFSA). The form must be completed by students and parents applying for Federal Title IV student aid.

January

Parents should get their taxes completed and complete the forms.

Income Tax Forms ___________Date Completed_________

FAFSA Forms___________ Date Completed___________

February

Complete and send the financial aid forms for each college you have applied to. Be sure to make copies and keep them in a safe place.

 
       College           FAFSA   Income Tax  Financial Aid
1. ____________________  _______   ________    ________
2. ____________________  _______   ________    ________
3. ____________________  _______   ________    ________
4. ____________________  _______   ________    ________

Investigate scholarship and grant opportunities. Check with guidance counselor for:

                              Eligible      Apply
1. Community Organizations    _________   __________
2. Corporate Scholarships     _________   __________
3. State Grants (PELL)        _________   __________
4. Corporate Grants           _________   __________
5. Corporate Grants           _________   __________
6. Credit Union Scholarships  _________   __________

March

Have you received your Receipt of Student Aid Reports (SAR), the federal output document sent to a student by the application processor. The student's eligibility for aid is indicated by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is printed on the front of the SAR.

What is your EFC? ___________ Can you afford it? ______

Start reviewing borrowing options. Contact your credit union. If you don't have an account there, ask your parents, aunt, uncle, or grandparent to recommend you for membership. This simple step will make you eligible for many credit union benefits.

April

Which colleges have accepted you? How much aid are they offering?

 
       College            Cost    Aid Offered   Your EFC
1. ____________________  _______    ________    ________
2. ____________________  _______    ________    ________
3. ____________________  _______    ________    ________
4. ____________________  _______    ________    ________

Do you need to take out a loan? Yes ___ No ___

Ask the financial aid office about these loan options :

 
       Loan             Amt. Avail.  Eligible     Apply
1. Subsidized Stafford    _______    ________    ________
2. Unsubsidized Stafford  _______    ________    ________
3. Federal PLUS Loans     _______    ________    ________

Contact your credit union for information about their student loan programs..

May

Which college have you chosen? ____________________________

How much will you need to borrow? __________________________

How much can you borrow from your credit union? ______________

How much can your parents borrow from their home equity? _______ Other? ______

Find a summer job? ______________________________________

How much do you need to earn each week? ___________________

Check out local scholarship/grant status? ______________________

July/August

Get ready for college!

All forms submitted? Yes___ No ___

Dorm Selection ____ Meal plan ____

Health Plan ___ Course Selection ____

Shopping completed: 
Sheets/blankets ______Clothes ______

Lamps/rugs/posters __________ Other _________

Important matters:

Address Book ______ Checking account/debit card _____

Phone Card ______

August/September

Let's GO!

Orientation Dates: ___________________

Freshman Activities Dates: _________________________

Classes Start: __________________________

Source: Excerpted from the Marketing Partners College Planner.