Application Timeline: 12th Grade


Narrow your list of colleges to between five and ten. Meet with your counselor. Download college applications and financial aid forms. Plan to visit as many of these colleges as possible.

Create a master list or calendar which includes tests you need, application due dates, financial aid application deadlines, and other materials you’ll need such as recommendations, transcripts etc.

Request a fee waiver if necessary. Send your SAT and/or ACT scores to the colleges where you are applying.

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if requested. October 1 is the first day you can file the FAFSA.

Complete the CSS Financial Aid Profile if requested. Profile is an online application used by certain colleges and scholarship programs to determine eligibility for their aid dollars.

Prepare early decision, early action, or rolling admission applications as soon as possible. Colleges may require test scores and applications between November 1 and November 15 for early decision admission. Check college websites for exact information for each school.

Ask your counselor and teachers for recommendations if you need them. Provide them with the surveys requested and fill out the recommendation request form.

Write drafts of your college essays and have them checked.

Once you have applied, request that your supporting documents (transcript, school profile, recommendations) be sent to the colleges by completing a document request form (DRF) for each college.


Keep photocopies as you finish and send your applications and essays.

Withdraw other applications if you have been accepted early decision.


Colleges and universities usually give you a decision by the end of March or early April. Inform every college of your acceptance or rejection of the offer of admission and/or financial aid by May 1. Send in your deposit to one college only.

Keep active in school. If you have been waitlisted, the college will want to know what you have accomplished after you applied.

Request that a final transcript be sent to your college.