College Counseling Timeline
January - February
- Complete College Questionnaire. In mid-December students are given a link to a college questionnaire. This is the first step in the search process and provides students an opportunity to think about what they are looking for in a college. It also provides the college counselors with information about each student. After the questionnaire and a personal statement are submitted, students meet with the college counselors and a family meeting is scheduled, after which a preliminary college list is compiled.
- Attend College Night in Early January. This is the first official college counseling program for juniors and their parents, and is an introduction to the college selection and application process.
- Research colleges. Use college guidebooks, the Internet, and other resources to learn more about individual schools and begin your college search.
March - June
- Take the SAT or ACT. We recommend that all students take a test once before the end of junior year.
- Consider taking SAT Subject Tests. Not all students need to take SAT Subject Tests; you should discuss your specific circumstances with the college counselors. June is often a good time to take these tests as they will coincide with final exams. Studying for a final in all likelihood helps you prepare for a Subject Test.
- Attend College Night 2. This is our second program for juniors and their families to continue our discussions about the college search and application process.
- Visit colleges. Visiting colleges is a great way to get to know a school better and to start to develop an understanding of what it would be like to attend. Both February and Spring breaks may provide an opportunity to do this.
- Make plans for your summer. We hope that you will plan an interesting (and restful) summer. This could include a summer program, camp, a community service project, trip, internship or job.
July - August
- Draft a college essays Think about possible topics and try to write a draft of your essay.
- Visit colleges. Continue to visit colleges and research them online. Even though students are not on campus at many colleges, it is still possible to get at least a sense of place from a summer visit. This should help you shape your list of schools; schedule interviews for the fall at schools in which you are interested.
- Sign up for mailing lists. Contact college admission offices and put your name on their mailing lists.
- Attend Common Application Workshop. Prior the first day of school, we will host a workshop on completing the Common Application.
September - October
- Return to school rested and ready to work. The first semester of senior year is the last set of grades that colleges see when making most decisions. You should also continue with your extracurricular activities.
- Meet with college representatives. In the fall, college representatives visit Heschel and meet with interested students. These meetings are a good opportunity to learn more about colleges.
- Individual college meetings continue.
- Sign up and attend college essay writing workshops. In September and October we will offer workshops on the Common Application essay and college supplements.
- Ask two teachers to write letters of recommendation. We ask you to do this as soon as possible in the fall so teachers can have ample time to write their letters. You can talk to the college counselors about who you are thinking of asking.
- Continue to visit colleges. Seniors get four college visit days. You must let the college counselors, your teachers, and Barbara Lewis know at least three schools days in advance for the absence to be excused and recorded as a “college visit.”
- Finalize you college list. As the fall progresses, so should your college list.
- Take additional tests, if needed. The SAT and Subject Tests are administered in October and November and the ACT is offered in October.
- CSS Profile is available. Families applying for financial aid can access the Profile at collegeboard.org.
- Applying early. If you are thinking about Early Decision or Early Action, you should talk with the college counselors in September. If you decide to apply to one or more schools with November deadlines, this list must be submitted by the (early) October deadline.
December - February
- Submitting applications. Most colleges have January 1st or 15th deadlines for the regular admissions cycle. Make sure you have turned in the required forms by the December deadline.
- Receiving news. Students who apply Early Decision or Early Action, or submit early applications often receive decisions in December. Please keep in mind that even if you apply through an early plan, you still need to have other options available; your applications to other schools should be complete before the winter break.
- FAFSA available. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid comes online January 1st. Families applying for financial aid must complete and submit this and any other required financial aid forms by the deadlines set by each college.
- Keep up in your classes. Your grades in second semester are important. College acceptances are contingent on continued performance at a similar level to that shown in your application.
March - May
- Admission decisions received. Colleges begin to notify students of their decisions in March.
- Visit again. If you are trying to make a decision between two or more schools, visiting again is a great way to help in this process. This last visit can give you and (your family) the peace of mind you need to make a good decision.
- May 1st deposits due. You must submit your enrollment deposit to the one college you are planning to attend no later than May 1st. Shortly thereafter you should notify your other colleges of your decision.