Detailed Senior College Planning Timeline

Senior Year

  • UTILIZE YOUR RESOURCES – MEET W/ COLLEGE REPS. Remember some of your best resources through this process include the admission office / admission counselor / financial aid office of the college to which you are applying. They are here to help guide applicants and students!
  • FILL OUT THE FAFSA ONCE IT OPENS 10/1. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid opens October 1 each year. Work with your parents to fill out the FAFSA in order to see if you qualify for any need-based aid. Many schools will even require that you have a FAFSA on file in order to receive merit-based aid or qualify for work-study. *2023 UPDATE: Students of the Class of 2024 – The FASFA received an “overhaul” and was not be available until December 31, 2023!*
  • CONTINUE TO RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES. Every school is different and every year a school’s scholarship opportunities may change. This includes things like what they require you to submit (official transcripts, test scores, resumes etc.) and the dates they expect it by (normally in late fall or early winter).
  • CONTINUE WORKING HARD IN CLASS & REMAINING COMMITED TO EXTRACURRICULARS. You will need to demonstrate on your application your ability to finish senior year strong. You will need to list your level of involvement continuing into senior year on your applications. Your College Counselor will also send a mid-year report and a final report of your grades to each college/university on your list.

Fall / Winter:

  • START / CONTINUE WORK ON YOUR COMMON APP / OTHER APP ACCOUNTS: Many of the schools to which you will apply will be on the Common Application, opening August 1. Schools not on the Common App may also open their own application portal online, before or on this date.
  • ATTEND COLLEGE PLANNING CLASS & REMAIN IN COMMUNICATION with your College Counselor regarding any questions or need for help and guidance through your entire college admission process. College Planning Class occurs every Friday for seniors.
  • CHOOSE YOUR ADMISSION PLAN: For each school, you should choose whether you plan to apply Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision. Early Action is the HLS College Counseling team’s suggestion. The dates and requirements may vary school to school, so double-check the details for each.
  • REQUEST OVER EMAIL YOUR COLLEGE COUNSELOR TO SEND YOUR TRANSCRIPT TO COLLEGES THAT ARE NOT ON THE COMMON APP! If you are not applying through the Common App your transcript that your Counselor uploads to the Common App will not be automatically sent when you submit your application. Once you request it in writing from your College Counselor, be sure you receive confirmation from him / her that your transcript has been sent.
  • MONITOR ALL DEADLINES. Pay attention to accounts you set up as related to the colleges you are applying to; this may be application accounts, school portal accounts, school email accounts in which they will update you of scholarship opportunities or missing application components. Additionally a school may text or mail you this information as well; be sure to check your communication from your schools regularly.
  • WRITE / FINALIZE YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY(S): For the Common Application, you will need to write at least one personal essay (at HLS we strive to do this over the summer). Additional essays may be required for some schools and specialized programs of interest to you within the school.
  • INVESITGATE & APPLY & / INTERVIEW FOR SCHOLARSHIPS & HONORS PROGRAMS AS REQUIRED. Many schools have separate applications and interviews for scholarships or honors programs. Check each school to which you applied, and complete all necessary components of the scholarship and honors applications as desired.
  • FINISH YOUR MAIN APPLICATIONS OCT. NOV. & DEC. The most common Early Action application deadlines are October 15, November 1, and December 1.
  • NOTIFY the HLS College Counseling team of your received admission decisions and merit scholarship awards as they come in – so we may support and guide you and / or celebrate with you! If you are deferred or waitlisted to one of your top pick schools express continued interest to the college.

Spring / Summer:

  • CONTINUE WORKING HARD IN CLASS & STAYING FAITHFUL TO YOUR EXTRACURRICULARS. Your College Counselor will send a mid-year report and a final report of your grades to each school on your list. Make sure you are keeping up with your classwork and modeling to your underclassmen the fulfillment of your responsibility to stay committed to the end!
  • COMPLETE SCHOLARSHIP & HONORS APLICATIONS & INTERVIEWS. Many schools have separate applications and interviews for scholarships and / or honors programs. Check each school to which you applied, and complete all necessary components of the scholarship and honors applications as desired.
  • APPLY FOR HOUSING. If you plan to live on campus, fill out the housing application on the school’s website. Often students apply for housing before making their decision in order to ensure priority housing options. You can cancel your housing if you choose not to go to that school (just remember to do this to avoid fees).
  • CHOOSE YOUR SCHOOL. National Decision Day is May 1. As your acceptances roll in, talk with your parents, teachers, and College Counselor as you narrow down your decision.
  • GRADUATE AND HAVE A SAFE, JOYFUL, & PRODUCTIVE SUMMER geared toward helping you prepare to start your college career! See these resources from to help you do this!