Preparing for College: 12th Grade

SENIOR Checklist


Summer before your senior year

  • Visit colleges.
  • Save money.
  • Start essay.
  • College applications are available mid-summer. You can begin to work on your application during the summer.


  • Meet with your high school counselor regularly to talk about college applications and financial aid.
  • Review what you need to start the financial aid process. You want to have everything ready so that you can submit it as soon after January 1 as possible.
  • Narrow down your list of colleges to 5-8 colleges.
  • Ask teachers, family members and friends to read your college application essay draft, and make suggestions on how to improve it.
  • Get your letters of recommendation from teachers, employers and others you have asked.
  • If you haven't already, visit the colleges you are interested in.
  • Review and keep track of all deadlines for college admissions, testing and financial aid.
  • Take the SAT, SAT subject tests and/or ACT if you haven't already or if you want to re-take the test to improve your score.
  • Ask your teachers and counselors for your transcripts and letters of recommendation.
  • Attend financial aid workshops.
  • Attend college fairs. Be sure to go prepared.
  • Apply for scholarships from local organizations.
  • Complete the FAFSA4caster to estimate your eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor to make sure you are on track to graduate and meet college admission requirements. Find out what options you have if you don't meet the requirements.
  • Apply to your chosen colleges. Meet all deadlines, and make sure all information is completed and submitted.


  • Get a PIN at to complete your FAFSA after January 1. Your parents need a PIN too.
  • Encourage your parents to complete their income taxes early.
  • Submit your FAFSA online at as soon after January 1 as possible. This is important because financial aid is first come, first served!
  • Be sure to apply for TAP online at the end of your FAFSA application. This is FREE money.
  • Apply for financial aid.
  • Look for acceptance notices.
  • Prepare for NYS Regents Exams with "Regents View 2.0"


  • Visit the campuses of the colleges where you have been accepted.
  • Register for Advanced Placement (AP) exams.
  • Check your TAP status on
  • Review financial aid packages from colleges accepting you. Call the financial aid office with any questions. Involve your guidance counselor.
  • By May 1, decide what college you will attend, sign and send college letter of intent with required deposits. And, accept or refuse the financial aid offered.
  • Notify the colleges you decided not to attend.
  • Let your guidance counselor know of any scholarships you have received.
  • Send thank you notes to anyone who has helped you by writing letters of recommendation, helping edit your essay or in other ways.
  • Follow up with the college you have chosen about financial aid and orientation.


  • Send your final transcript to your college.
  • If you need to borrow money from the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, complete your application and promissory note.
  • Start preparing for your first year at college.
  • Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

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