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Planning for college can seem like a daunting task for both students and their families. So much needs to be done–in so little time–that it’s hard to know where to even begin.

Finding information on college readiness isn’t the problem. In fact, it’s often the opposite: there is so much information available that it can quickly become overwhelming for even the most organized researcher, especially without the proper context.

At every step in the process, the timing of your actions will be of critical importance. One of the most commonly requested items from both students and their parents is a calendar of events to help keep their efforts on track.



Freshman Year:

  • Identify challenging high school courses that are right for you and plot out your desired curriculum
  • Learn about clubs/organizations that may be of interest
  • Pay attention to events and types of leadership roles
  • Think about why you want to attend college
  • Be open to various career interests
  • Read and build vocabulary
  • Practice writing vignettes about your experiences

Sophomore Year:

  • Continue with a rigorous curriculum; review grades, study skills
  • Take notes on colleges and points of interest
  • Register on college sites to be notified of visits in the area
  • Explore “job shadow” opportunities in areas of interest
  • Plan to run for office or assume a leadership role
  • Develop and implement a project to explore interests, skills, talents
  • Utilize summer for SAT/ACT test prep
  • Pay attention to all of the points from Freshman year, too
  • Sophomore Checklist – Printable PDF

Junior Year:

  • Select rigorous classes and maintain strong grades
  • Seek out and further develop leadership roles in various aspects of your life
  • Take the PSAT or PLAN in the Fall, possibly the SAT and ACT
  • Take the SAT and ACT by the beginning of and at the end of Spring
  • Plan for a meaningful and productive summer
  • Pay attention to all of the points from Freshman and Sophomore year
  • Junior Checklist – Printable PDF

Senior Year:

  • Continue rigorous curriculum, possibly extending to local college
  • Apply for college EARLY in the fall, prior to Nov 1
  • Apply Early Action whenever possible (different from Early Decision)
  • Meet college reps through local visits, social media, email
  • Seek out scholarships
  • Follow up on the receipt of applications, transcript, test scores at each individual college
  • Attend “Accepted Student” events
  • Send your deposit and final transcript to your chosen college!


Testing & Preparation


SAT Information:


More Info on SAT Dates and Deadlines

Standardized Testing Benchmarks (minimum scores)

SAT Exam: Math (530)   |    Reading and Writing (480)

Additional Info on SAT Scores, Benchmarks, and Percentiles


ACT Information:

Standardized Testing Benchmarks (minimum scores)

ACT Exam: English (18) | Reading (22) | Science (23) | Math (22)


Testing & Preparation Resources