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Year by Year Guide 12th

The fall of your senior year is when the real work begins in the college admissions process. This is the time to finalize a student’s college list and prepare applications. This is also the time when students work closely with their college advisor on these tasks. The more open the lines of communication are, the better the process. The following is a college admissions calendar for the senior year as we present it to students. It provides information about what to do and what is available to students and families as they go through the year.

August and September

  • Meet with your college advisor to let us know where you are in the process. Come prepared with a list of colleges you have researched and are seriously considering for application.
  • Begin to narrow your college list. We recommend you have two to four schools that look likely, have a reach or two (based on objective data), and have a sure bet or two. That rule of thumb has been around for decades because it’s based on experience and realism.
  • Register for the October and/or November SAT Reasoning or Subject Tests. Consider the ACT as well. You may register at http://www.collegeboard.com or http://www.act.org.
  • Attend the Regional College Fair in September.
  • Make arrangements to visit the colleges to which you have decided to apply. Arrange for an interview with the admissions office if it is required or recommended. Fall break could be an excellent time to visit schools while they are in session.
  • Identify the colleges where you plan to apply for Early Decision or Early Action and finalize those applications. Notify your college advisor.
  • Work on your college essays! Familiarize yourself with what you will need to complete each of your applications.
  • Ask your teachers for recommendations. Choose teachers who know you well and can offer anecdotes about your classroom contributions. Ask your college counselor if you have questions about who to ask for a recommendation.
  • Representatives from colleges will visit Habersham in the fall. Attend these visits and come prepared with questions.  Check the visit schedule regularly.
  • Most important of all, keep focused on your schoolwork. First semester senior year grades are a very important part of a selective college application.


  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test again, especially if you are applying under an Early Decision or Early Action program. You can take the ACT again in October or November.
  • Turn in applications for any colleges where you are applying Early Decision or Early Action.
  • If the colleges on your list recommend or require SAT Subject Tests, the October test date is a good time to take them if you did not take them in May or June.
  • Continue to narrow and refine your list. Your college advisor can help you with this task.
  • Work on your applications. Get serious about your essays! The college advising staff is happy to look at drafts and answer any questions.
  • Continue to meet with college representatives visiting Habersham.
  • If you haven’t done so, ask your teachers for recommendations.
  • Many scholarship deadlines are in November and December. Read the Financial Aid and Scholarships section of our website to learn more.
  • If you are applying for financial aid and a college requires the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile, you can fill out that form now. Check what the colleges require for consideration of need-based financial aid. Some colleges ask for the CSS Profile and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The CSS Profile is available to fill out in the fall, but the FAFSA is not available until January.
  •   Prepare for your first trimester exams.  First trimester senior grades are a very important part of a competitive college application.


  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test again if you did not take it in October. Or, take the SAT Subject Tests if your school recommends or requires them. You can take the ACT in November as well.
  • Continue working on your applications. We STRONGLY suggest you complete all of your applications before the Holiday Break.
  • The college advising office will send an updated transcript with first trimester senior year grades to every college to which you have applied.


  • Finalize your list if you have not done so.
  • You can take the SAT Reasoning Test or Subject Tests in December.
  • If you hear from a college, let the college advising office know!
  • Complete all of your applications. We STRONGLY suggest you complete your applications before the Holiday Break. You’ll be very glad you did.
  • Enjoy your break!


  • After completing all of your college applications, this is the time to relax and wait for the college admission decisions.
  • Focus on doing well in the second trimester. Don’t let senioritis take over! Procrastinating on Senior Thesis is no fun in April! The colleges’ acceptances are conditional upon your successful completion of your senior year at the level at which you were performing when you applied.
  • If you are applying for Financial Aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) becomes available online in January. Most colleges ask that you fill out the FAFSA by early to mid February, so we advise getting your tax documents in order as early as possible.


  • Keep waiting, although some of you will hear decisions in February.
  • If you hear from a college, let the college advising office know!
  • If a college requests additional information, let the college advising office know.
  • Keep a close eye on financial aid application deadlines.
  • Keep “senioritis” at bay. Stay focused on doing well in school.
  • Prepare for second trimester exams.
  • If needed, updated copies of your transcript will be sent to colleges you have applied to.


  • College decisions will continue to arrive, and you can begin deciding which college you would like to attend from those to which you are admitted.
  • Many colleges will offer admitted student programs on campus. These are helpful if you are unsure about your college choice(s).


  • Most colleges will notify you of a decision by mid-April. Notify the college advising office when you hear news from a college.
  • Carefully choose your college based on all the information you have gathered throughout this process. If you need someone to talk things over with you, don’t hesitate to talk to the college advising staff.
  • Inform the college you choose to attend and enclose the required deposit. May 1st is the universal reply date for notifying colleges of your intention to attend.
  • Decline any other offers of admission in writing.
  • Don’t let “senioritis” kick in just yet! You’re almost there!


  • May 1st is the deadline for you to notify colleges of your decision. You may place only ONE deposit!
  • Senior Thesis.  This is such an accomplishment and such a foretaste of college life.  Finish strong!


  • The college advising office will mail a final transcript to the college you are attending. Keep us posted on how things are going your first year in college! We’d like to know how you’re doing!
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