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College Readiness

College Readiness Checklist

9th Grade:

  • Know graduation requirements
  • Create a 4 year plan for high school
  • Start your child thinking about careers/take an inventory
  • Encourage extra-curricular activities
  • Save for college- 529 plans
  • Stress that study skills and grades are important!

10th Grade:

  • Make sure student is in college prep courses
  • Take a foreign language
  • Take the PLAN
  • Are you interested in attending a US Military Academy? Research requirements
  • Attend College and Career Fairs
  • Participate in a school activity or volunteer effort
  • Tour college campuses when possible

11th  grade: Fall

  • Make lists of abilities, social/cultural preferences and personal qualities
  • Review high school courses and activities. 
  • Explore internship opportunities
  • Take a Dual Enrollment or AP class sometime this year
  • Learn about colleges-check out western states participation in WUE
  • Attend the College Fair in September/October
  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT
  • Make a file of searches, tests and applications

11th grade: Winter

  • Register for the SAT or ACT in the spring
  • Begin a search for financial aid sources- register with
  • Research SAT subject tests
  • Register to take AP exams for current courses
  • Continue looking at colleges
  • Military Academies and Colleges-apply for summer programs

11th grade: Spring

  • Visit local colleges-get a feel and use the score card!
  • Develop a list of 15-20 colleges that interest you
  • Make college visits over spring break
  • Meet with counselor to ensure you are on track for graduation
  • Take the ACT or SAT

11th grade: Summer

  • If an athlete, register with NCAA clearinghouse
  • Work, volunteer or participate in a camp or summer program
  • Visit and tour college campuses
  • Create a resume/ complete personal profile form
  • Request application materials from colleges and check deadlines
  • Narrow your list to 5-10

Senior year: Fall

  • Do a credit check and be sure you are in the right classes
  • Meet with your counselor
  • Meet with college reps visiting your school
  • Apply to 3-5 colleges (reach, math, and safety schools)
  • Create a master list or calendar: tests, applications and financial aid due dates, any other deadlines
  • Send test scores to the colleges
  • Take or Retake ACCUPLACER, ACT, or SAT if necessary
  • Attend College Fair in October
  • Apply to CA schools and early decision by Nov 1st
  • Finalize your college choices
  • Complete school specific scholarship applications
  • Prepare Early Decision, Early Action or other applications ASAP
  • Contact teachers and others for recommendations if you need.  Give them your personal profile/resume!!!  Provide a stamped envelope
  • For essays, write drafts and ask teachers to read them

Senior Year: Winter

  • NO SENIORITIS   Second semester grades count and are looked at
  • Apply for a FAFSA pin at
  • Parents complete taxes
  • Apply for housing
  • Schedule AP exams
  • Keep active in school!
  • Complete FAFSA by March 1st

Senior Year: Spring

  • Receive acceptance letters and financial aid packets
  • Notify college of your decision of admission and/or financial aid
  • Send your deposit to one college only
  • Wait-listed?  Talk to admissions on how to strengthen your application
  • Request final transcript be sent
  • Schedule summer orientations/registrations
  • Set up college internet account

Do the Free Application For federal Student Aid (FAFSA) starting October 1st!

1.  Create your FSA ID:

  • Visit the Federal Student Aid website to create your account. 
  • Enter your email
  • Create a username and password
  • Enter your legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, contact information, and challenge questions and answers
  • Confirm your cell phone and email address with the secure code sent to your phone and email

2.  Identity, Family + Other Info:

  • Both the parent and student need to create separate FSA IDs
  • Parent(s) and student’s full legal names
  • Parent(s) and student’s birth dates
  • Parent(s) and student’s Social Security Number (SSN), permanent resident card, green card, or I-94 (Note- if your parent doesn’t have a SSN you can still apply)
  • Parent(s) and student’s mobile phone numbers and emails (if available, cannot be the same)
  • List of schools the student is considering
  • Student’s driver’s license (if they have one)
  • Parent(s) marriage status and dates. If divorced, the month and year of the divorce.

    Have ready before you fill out the FAFSA: Tax & Financial Info

  • Parent(s) and student’s federal tax return (If they have one)
  • Parent(s) and student’s W-2 and other records of income.
  • Annual amounts of untaxed income received in the household (SSI, Child Support, SNAP Benefits, etc.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (the home you live in and retirement accounts are not counted here)
  • If your parent owns a business with more than 100 employees, or an investment farm, know the total value of the business.

3. Complete the FAFSA

For more help with FAFSA and FAQ's go to:  

Filling Out the FAFSA Form  OR  FAFSA - Fund Your Future