General College Counseling Timelines

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1 General College Counseling Timelines As the college process will vary student- to- student, the purpose of this outline is to provide general timelines of what to expect during the high school years. You may also wish to review timelines for athletes and artists (including music, theatre, arts), available on our website. We believe that each student s best interests are served through communication between the student, the school, the parents, and the colleges. Students should commit to some self- analysis during the college process. What do you seek from your college experience? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your preferences and biases? What experiences from Pingry do you wish to duplicate, and which new ones do you want to explore in college? Considering these questions will help you determine a list of colleges that meets your interests and goals. Colleges make their decisions based on the overall mosaic of the applicant the student s total secondary school record (academic and personal), extracurricular pursuits, recommendations (counselor, teacher, supplemental), personal essays, demonstrated interest (college visits, interviews), and standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, Subject Tests). The philosophy of Pingry s college counseling office is to provide the best match between a student and potential colleges. No two schools are the same, so research is critical. Reading about and visiting campuses will help you determine whether you might prioritize a large or small school, a college or university, an urban or rural campus, etc. We look forward to working with students and families to determine the best decisions relative to applications and choice. FRESHMAN AND SOPHOMORE YEAR GENERAL TIMELINE Take Practice PSAT and Practice ACT (sophomores).

2 Speak to your advisor about course selections. Engage in extracurricular activities that interest you be involved! Try something new! Be a contributor so that later in your high school career you may be in positions of leadership within the clubs, teams, and activities that mean the most to you. Keep your grades up. Colleges look at a student s cumulative high school academic record. Sophomores may wish to think about test prep over the summer leading into junior year. Sophomores might want to discuss May/June SAT Subject Test options with teachers and advisors. See testing recommendation document: SAT Subject Test Recommendations for Pingry Students Make smart choices (note that college applications do ask whether a student has been suspended from school for any length of time, and it is Pingry s policy to communicate this information to colleges). Parents should note college- related events on their calendars, such as College Nights, Financial Planning Presentation, Curriculum Nights, PSAT Review meetings. Consider casually visiting a few colleges to start getting a sense of what your preferences may be larger campus, rural environment, city school, etc. (keep in mind these inclinations might change by the time the student applies). JUNIOR YEAR GENERAL TIMELINE October Juniors sit for the PSAT; while this exam is not reported to colleges, results determine eligibility for National Merit Scholarship opportunities. Consider registering for SAT/ACT/Subject Tests, if appropriate. Note test dates and registration deadlines on the Pingry calendar, or visit the ACT or SAT websites for more information. January Juniors receive college counselor assignment. Junior complete Activity Worksheet for college Be aware of SAT/ACT test dates and discuss testing plans with your college February Juniors and their parent(s) should plan on attending College Night; speakers include 2-3 college admissions deans or directors.

3 Students and parents will meet with their college Spring Start creating a possible list of colleges read, research, and visit campuses, if possible. Be sure to note requirements by college (e.g., SAT Subject Tests). Focus on ending your junior year with the strongest grades possible Honor your extracurricular commitments. Plan college campus visits over Spring Break, weekends, or other days off. Make summer plans (e.g., internship, volunteering, travel, college visits, paid jobs). Learn about financial aid; visit financial aid offices at colleges of interest. Talk to your college counselor about your senior year schedule. May Complete Teacher Recommendation request form (students typically ask 2 teachers and sometimes a supplementary recommendation from another teacher, coach, employer, etc.). Speak to college counseling about interview prep. The College Counseling Office will explain how to register for Family Connection/Naviance, the platform we use for research and for sending the school materials to colleges electronically. Take AP tests, if appropriate or required. SENIOR YEAR GENERAL TIMELINE Summer into Fall Work on Common Application beginning August 1. Meet with your counselor to brainstorm essay ideas and review drafts. Continue visiting colleges and keep records of your impressions; if a visit is not feasible, spend time researching a college website. Look into fall overnight and weekend college programs. Start work on essays. Prepare for fall SAT/ACT, if needed. Begin narrowing down a list of potential schools and make sure they are captured on Naviance/Family Connection. Research scholarship opportunities. Complete Senior Autobiography and send to your college Parents submit Parent Letter of Recommendation to student s college

4 If you are considering attending a military academy, establish contact with a senator or representative during the early summer, as this is part of the application process at these schools. September/October Seniors attend a retreat chaperoned by the college counseling staff and a few advisors; there are fun activities and college admissions related sessions during this 2 day trip. Sign up and attend info sessions (with teacher permission) for any schools of interest that are visiting Pingry. Check college websites if you do not see a college visit on our schedule colleges often host larger sessions at local hotels and conference centers. Pay attention to test deadlines for SAT/ACT and register, if necessary. Discuss early decision/early action/rolling programs with your college Note admission due dates for colleges; consider interview and financial aid deadlines, as well. Continue working on applications (Common App, college- specific applications, essays, supplements). Keep Naviance/Family Connection up- to- date; sign off on college list for early deadlines (note: as a guideline, your list should consist of schools and should be a vertical list that includes reaches, middles, and likelies). Stay on track with grades and extracurricular activities. Parents should make note of the senior College Night in September. November Submit applications for early schools, if applicable. Submit official test scores to colleges, as required. Consider sending interim grades to your early schools. Early in the month, students should check portals to make sure that all materials are marked as received. If applying for financial aid, make sure all ED financial aid deadlines are met. December Submit applications for regular decision schools, if applicable. Obtain any financial aid forms that are required by the schools to which you are applying. If you received an early decision acceptance, withdraw your applications from other schools to which you may have applied; send deposit to your ED school. Meet with your college counselor to discuss next steps (EDII/Regular Decision) if you did not receive acceptance in the ED round. Sign off on college list before winter break.

5 January/February Complete FAFSA using tax information and submit. Mid year grades for semester one are submitted to colleges. In late February, students should check portals to make sure that all materials are marked as received. March If selected for verification, send tax forms to financial aid offices. April/May Compare college acceptances, financial aid offers, etc. Make decision as to where you will enroll (possibly revisit a campus at an accepted students day or another convenient time). Notify schools that you will not be attending. Work with your college counselor to discuss next- steps should you be waitlisted at any colleges. June Your final transcript is sent to your chosen college.

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