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College Planning Checklist
College Planning Checklist

Freshman Year:

Establish a  four-year high school degree plan.  Determine whether or not you will be on the Recommended or Distinguished Academic Achievement degree plan if graduating from a Texas High School.

Take challenging classes in English, mathematics, science, social studies, a foreign language, government, economics, technology, and the arts. 

Start a list of your activities, awards, community service and other unique educational experiences.

Sophomore Year:


Take the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT / NMSQT).  You must register early.  If you have difficulty paying the registration fee, see your high school counselor about getting a fee waiver.


Register for June SAT Subject tests.

Meet with your high school counselor to discuss ways to earn college credit while still in high school (e.g. Dual Credit, AP)

Junior Year:


Review four-year plan to prepare for your senior year.

Take the PSAT / NMSQT to prepare for the SAT I and any relevant Subject Tests.

Begin researching scholarship opportunities


Start preparing a list of colleges you would like to explore, contacting admissions and financial aid offices to obtain more information.

Sign up for the May / June SAT  and/or SAT Subject Tests. Take the ACT.

Attend college fairs and sessions and speak with college representatives.


Tour colleges you are interested in by either visiting the campus virtually or in person.

Senior Year:


Register for and take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), American College Test (ACT), SAT Subject Test(s), or any other exams required for admission to the colleges to which you are applying.

Prepare your application carefully.  Follow the instructions and PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DEADLINES! Be sure to ask your counselor and teachers at least two weeks before your application deadlines to submit the necessary documents to colleges (your transcript, letters of recommendation, etc.).

Check with your prospective college or university about college admissions interviews - usually they are optional, but recommended.

Research college preview days and open houses.


Apply for Financial Aid; make sure taxes are completed on time.

Visit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) web site to complete and submit your FAFSA application.

Apply for on-campus housing if necessary.

Search and apply for local scholarships.