Preparing for College - High School Seniors/12th Grade
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Preparing for College - High School Seniors

Apply, Apply, Apply!

Congratulations! Your Senior year has arrived. Now it is time to begin the college application process. While this task is large, it is actually something you have been preparing for throughout high school. You have the tools and the resources, now it is time to put it all together. Here’s what to for each season:

In the Fall of your Senior Year,

  • Review your Current Class Schedule- Review your current class schedule with your high school counselor and College Admissions Counselor to make sure you have all the college preparatory classes you need for admission. Remember, college preparatory classes include taking AP, IB, Cambridge International or dual enrollment classes if your school offers them.

  • Keep your Grades Up- Continue putting your effort into earning good grades to represent your academic skills abilities on your transcript. Don’t let “senioritis” take over!

  • Finalize your List of Colleges and Universities- We recommend having a list of at most 10 colleges or universities you are interested in applying to. Each college and university will have their application available via their admissions website as well as options to visit the campus. Is Winthrop University in your top 10? Click here to apply to Winthrop University, and click here to schedule a visit!

  • Review your SAT & ACT- Scores- Compare your SAT & ACT scores to the requirements and averages on your narrowed down list of colleges. Do you need to take the SAT or ACT one more time to attempt increase your score? Do you need to take a subject-specific SAT test for admission or scholarships? Make certain your scores are sent to the colleges and universities you are applying to.

  • Keep Up with the Extra-Curricular Activities- Continue with your leadership role in the extra-curricular academic, special interest club, or part time job you have been a part of throughout high school. Consider finding new ways to demonstrate how your leadership, thoughtfulness, creativity, and perseverance has made a difference to the organization or community.

  • Get Together Your Application Materials – Colleges and universities all require different materials for applying, like your high school transcripts, letters of recommendations, personal essays, resumes, portfolios and more. Be sure to get them ready in a timely manner.

    • Transcripts - Request a copy of your transcripts from your high school or have them send it directly to the colleges you’re applying for.

    • Letters of Recommendation - Find out how many Letters of Recommendation the colleges and universities you are applying to need and from what type of people. Most will recommend using high school teachers, counselors and other mentors in your life. Ask those individuals if they would write you a Letter of Recommendation for your college application.

    • Personal Essays & Statements – Many colleges and universities have an essay prompt or personal statement section that students must answer as part of their application. Start writing rough drafts of your college admissions essays and ask for help from teachers, counselors and mentors on edits and suggestions.

    • Resumes – Some universities may ask for a resume in the admission process. This should include things like your academic performance, any clubs or organizations you’re a part of, any leadership rolls you’ve taken, volunteer experiences and other requirements recommended by the schools.Get Together, Your Application Materials- Colleges and universities all require different materials for applying, like your high school transcripts, letters of recommendations, personal essays, resumes, portfolios and more. Be sure to get them ready in a timely manner.

    • Portfolios – If you are looking at majoring in Visual or Performing Arts, many universities may require an additional portfolio of your work. Some may even host auditions and portfolio reviews to see your talents in person.

  • Create a Timeline- Take note of all your application needs and deadlines to keep you on track. You should include:
    • Test and registration dates for the SAT and ACT
    • College application and other material due dates
    • Financial aid application and scholarship deadlines
    • Prospective student events and visit dates
    • Decision release dates


In the Winter of your Senior Year,

  • Work on your Application Materials – Work on finalizing your personal essays and statements for your applications, check in on your transcripts, collect your letters of recommendation, review your resume and gather your work for your portfolio (if applicable).

  • Send Second Semester Grades – Some colleges and universities will need your second semester grades. Talk to your high school counselor to get them sent.

  • Check In with your Timeline – Look over your timeline and make sure you are meeting the deadlines for your applications, scholarships and financial aid. Add any additional important dates and update as necessary.

In the Springof your Senior Year,

  • Keep Active in School- You may feel some “senioritis” kick in, but don’t let that take over! Just because you have applied to college does not mean you should consider yourself "done." You may even find yourself “waitlisted” or “deferred” by some colleges and universities. This means that they haven’t made their final decision and will likely check back in to see how you have progressed academically over your senior year.

  • Visit your Colleges & Universities- By mid-April, you should begin receiving acceptance letters and financial aid offers – congratulations! Discuss these offers with your family, high school counselor and college admissions counselor if you have questions. Be sure you have visited (or virtually visited) the universities and colleges you’re considering and see when they will host an accepted student day. Winthrop hosts it’s Winthrop Day in April as a great way to meet other Eagles, learn more about enrolling at Winthrop and celebrate your acceptance. 

  • Make your Decision- May 1 is National Decision Day for colleges and universities across the country. This is the time to inform the schools of your acceptance or rejection of their admission and financial aid offers. Many schools will begin making decisions on their waitlisted or deferred students after this date as well.

  • Pay your Deposit- Once you’ve made your decision on college, send in your deposit to secure your spot as an incoming freshman.

  • Send AP& IB Scores- Take your appropriate exams and make certain the scores are sent to the school you have chosen or are hoping to go to. A successful score could earn you credit in college courses.

  • DO A HAPPY DANCE! - Celebrate your acceptances and get excited for your new journey! You have a new home awaiting you next fall. 

Last Updated: 10/20/20