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College Bound: A Senior's August Checklist for a Smooth Application Season

Congratulations on reaching your senior year!

As both an Educator and parent, I have found that preparing for college can be both exciting and overwhelming, but having a checklist can help you stay organized.

Here's an August checklist for seniors planning on attending college:

  • Finalize your college list: Review the colleges you're interested in, and make sure you have a well-balanced list of reach, match, and safety schools. Consider factors like academic programs, campus culture, location, and financial aid opportunities.

  • Prepare for standardized tests: If you haven't already taken the SAT or ACT, or if you want to improve your scores, consider registering for a test date in the fall. Some colleges may also accept test-optional applications, so check the requirements for each school.

  • Request recommendation letters: Reach out to teachers, counselors, or other mentors who can write strong recommendation letters for your college applications. Provide them with any necessary information or forms.

  • Begin drafting your personal statement or college essay: Start brainstorming and writing your college essay. This process may take several drafts, so give yourself plenty of time to revise and edit.

  • Research scholarships and financial aid: Look for scholarships and grants offered by colleges or external organizations. Pay attention to deadlines and requirements for each scholarship.

  • Create a calendar with application deadlines: Organize a timeline for all the college application deadlines, including early decision/early action if applicable. Mark the dates for standardized tests, financial aid applications, and scholarship deadlines.

  • Attend college fairs and information sessions: Participate in college fairs or visit college campuses if possible. This will help you get a better sense of each institution and its offerings.

  • Register for the Common Application or other application platforms: Many colleges use the Common Application or similar platforms. Create an account and start filling in your profile and details.

  • Check application requirements: Review the specific application requirements for each college you plan to apply to, including supplementary essays or portfolio submissions.

  • Continue to excel academically: Senior year grades matter to colleges, so stay focused on your coursework and maintain strong academic performance.

  • Research and apply for financial aid: Familiarize yourself with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any other financial aid forms required by your chosen colleges. Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st.

  • Prepare for interviews: Some colleges may offer interviews as part of the application process. Practice answering common interview questions and conduct mock interviews if needed.

  • Meet with your school counselor: Discuss your college plans with your school counselor to ensure you are on track with all requirements and deadlines.

  • Visit potential colleges virtually or in-person: If possible, schedule virtual tours or visit campuses to get a feel for the college environment.

  • Stay organized: Keep all your application materials, including transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters, in a secure and easily accessible place.

By following this August checklist, you'll be well on your way to a successful college application process. Good luck!

At Career and College Counselors, we identify and give teens the knowledge of their strengths, interests, passions, stresses, values, and possible career paths. This knowledge will empower them to stay true to themselves and peer pressure can easily be overcome.

If you want to better prepare your teen, schedule a FREE Consultation or

Schedule your Teen's Values which will be useful in college essays.

Tom and Maria Ann Geffers

Career and College Counselors

Teen Coaches


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