- Meet with Paul to discuss your year thus far, course scheduling for next year, and summer plans. Keep in mind that deadlines for cool summer programs can be as early as February.
- Meet with Paul for a check-in. During this meeting we will, among many other things, discuss a standardized testing game plan and timeline. Please note: there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to prepping and taking these tests—much will depend on your early discussions with Paul—but most students (except those with unique circumstances, e.g. potential D1 athletes) begin prep (classes, tutoring or an organized plan for self-study) during late fall or early winter of junior year.
- Continue to check out extracurriculars at your school. It’s not too late to join a club, group, team, etc.—and school will be more fun if you do so.
- Begin keeping a log of your extracurriculars, including work experience, community services, music and art, outside coursework, hobbies, or special interests.
- Email your sophomore year transcript to Paul and Wendy.
Junior Year Timeline
- Meet your high school counselor. He or she will help you with the admissions process and will be writing you a letter of recommendation (A.K.A. “The School Report”).
- College Kick-Off Meeting with Paul. Lots will come out of this meeting, including a first list, a research rubric, an itinerary for visits, etc.
- Save graded papers. Some schools ask for them with applications.
- Write down favorite memories of junior year classes.
- Performing Arts and Visual Arts College Fairs (National Portfolio Days) are held in fall and spring. Check out https://nationalportfolioday.org/undergraduate-events/ for more information.
- In January, begin regular (every other week to start) meetings with Paul.
- Summer planning. Deadlines for cool programs can be as early as February.
- Optional: Attend a college fair, e.g. the one at St. Mary’s College in April. Visit https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/ebcc for more information.
- Make college visits a priority. Discuss your itinerary with Paul. Spring break is often an ideal time to travel or make some visits locally.
- Academic planning with Paul—picking classes for next year.
- Ask for letters of recommendation from two teachers who know you well, preferably one in the humanities arena, one in the math/sciences arena. Some high schools have a procedure in place for this; in other cases, you may have to approach the teachers yourself. Some teachers will want to set up a meeting with you to discuss your letter. Go in prepared; consider bringing along a piece of work you did in their class that you’re particularly proud of. Typically, recs should be from a junior year teacher or from an upcoming senior year teacher who has taught you before.
- Confirm supplemental letters, if applicable. Artists, athletes, and those deeply involved in an activity outside of school may choose to ask for a third letter of rec from a teacher or coach, in school or out. If that applies to you, be sure to approach that person as soon as possible. If this is a person unaffiliated with your school, they may need some extra help in figuring out how to submit a letter, so be sure to walk them through the steps.
- Essay work with Wendy will begin early summer.
- Create an activities resume. This will help you organize your apps in the fall. (See Wendy’s sample.)
Senior Year Timeline
- In conjunction with Paul, make plans for college visits in the fall.
- Check in with your school’s college counseling office upon your return to school. Make sure you’re on track and adhering to all of their policies, procedures, and timelines.
- While you’re visiting your school’s counseling office, see if college representatives will be visiting your high school this fall. If so, sign up to attend the sessions for all of the colleges on your list and any others that interest you.
- More generally, make contact with college reps at schools of interest. Request information and register on college websites. You will be automatically notified of events —rep visits, group events, etc. — in your area.
- Confirm letters of rec with teachers with whom you made contact last spring. As you meet with Paul and finalize your list, keep your recommenders apprised of early deadlines. After letters are submitted, be sure to send a thank-you note to your recommenders!
- Working with Paul, you will be finalizing your list and making decisions on how to apply. Keep your school counseling office apprised of your current list.
- Sign up on private college websites for interviews, if offered. Check websites for each school’s policy re: interviews, and sign up early.
- Interview Prep with Paul and Wendy
- Before winter break, go on the College Board and/or ACT websites and have your test scores sent to the schools to which you will apply.
- Apply to some colleges! CSU apps are online and due November 30. UCs are online November 1 and due November 30. Some other schools may have early deadlines as soon as October.
- The FAFSA (financial aid application) is due after January 1 and before February 1.
- Private colleges typically want a mid-year grade report. Most high schools take care of this for students; make sure yours does.
- Stay engaged in your classes—i.e. resist the dreaded “Senioritis.” If you’re waitlisted, colleges will be checking in on your academic progress, and schools have been known to rescind admissions offers due to dramatic grade drops.
- Check your email regularly. If a school to which you have applied is missing anything from your application, they will get in touch via email.
- You will typically hear back from early admissions schools by mid-December.
- You will hear from UCs and CSUs in March. Private colleges will inform you as early as March and up to mid-April.
- Revisit colleges, as needed. Possibly attend an admitted student event.
- Respond to waitlist schools. If you know you do not want to remain on a waitlist, an email to the admissions office is standard procedure.
- May 1st is the deadline to reply!
- Let schools know via email if you’re choosing not attend—this will clear up a spot for someone else.