Your homeschool senior year is here. Whether this is a time of excitement for your student or terror for you as a parent, there’s no need to worry. This checklist has everything you need to prepare for college during your student’s senior year.
Summer Before Your Senior Year
☐ Review state graduation requirements one more time, and do a senior credit check.
You’ve probably been over these requirements multiple times, but it doesn’t hurt to check one more time. Review the graduation requirements for your state so you don’t miss any final or overlooked classes your student needs their senior year. Also check the number of credits your student has earned in high school to make sure they have enough to graduate.
☐ Check the requirements of the college(s) your student is looking to attend.
Call the admissions office or verify online the requirements for the school or program your student wants to attend. Beyond knowing what it takes to get in, also know what it takes to graduate. Are four years of foreign language required? Take an extra year in high school to work toward the college graduation requirement so you’re better prepared for your college experience.
☐ Take at least two ACTs or SATs this fall.
Choose from the upcoming test dates and decide what fits best with your academics and activities. Colleges only consider the highest score and won’t care how many times you take the test. For many colleges, December is the last test date they will consider for scholarships and admission.
Fall of Senior Year
☐ Finalize your college list.
Determine your top criteria and schedule any final college visits. Ask lots of good questions at every school you visit. Typically we recommend applying to at least two in-state public universities, two private schools, two in-state state colleges, and one community college: a formula that should guarantee you’ll have affordable options and can provide competition for financial aid.
☐ Research financial aid and complete the FAFSA on or soon after October 1.
Be sure you have at least one Financial Safety School on your list that will easily fit the family budget.
☐ Start writing college essays and asking for recommendation letters.
Don’t wait until the last minute to write essays or ask for recommendations, if your college choices require them. For recommendation letters, look for people who can speak to your academic success, extracurricular activities, or your leadership skills. If you took classes at a local high school or college, or co-op classes with someone other than a parent, these individuals can be great candidates to ask for recommendations.
☐ Market your extracurricular skill in a 90-second video.
Showcase your skill and send it with your resume in an email to coaches or department directors at the colleges that interest you. Choose one where you can pursue your primary extracurricular passion.
☐ Start early on your applications for colleges.
Narrow down your list of colleges your student wants to apply to and get applications in as early as you can. This allows for the best possible chance at scholarships.
Winter of Senior Year
☐ Research local and national private scholarships.
Look for local scholarships or research national private scholarships online with websites like Fastweb.com or Scholarships.com.
☐ Send updated transcripts to colleges where you have open applications.
If you’ve already submitted applications, make sure you send those colleges updated transcripts with your fall courses and grades.
Spring of Senior Year
☐ Register for summer camps and programs that match your interests.
Summer experiences should be fun but purposeful: mission trips, community service, volunteer options, academic camps, or internships.
☐ Learn how to decipher and compare your financial aid offers.
Don’t leave money on the table. Negotiate financial aid and find the best offer to graduate from college with minimal debt and on-time.
☐ Make your decision and complete all enrollment paperwork.
Ensure all deposits are submitted, and schedule an orientation at your new school. Earlier dates generally mean better course selection!
☐ Upload final transcripts and send them to final college choices!
Summer after Senior Year
☐ If you’re headed to community college, start right after high school graduation.
Get started before poor summer habits set in. The sooner you start, the sooner you graduate and start the next chapter of your life!
Start checking items off the list and you’re on your way to finding your student’s best-fit college at the lowest cost.
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