Preparing for College: Senior Year (12th Grade)

Now is the time to put all of your hard work over the past three years to use. Your senior year is an exciting time but amidst the fun of planning for prom, senior trip, and yearbooks don’t take your eye off the goal. Continue in all of your extracurricular activities ideally in leadership roles and maintain or work to improve your grades. Here are a few final steps to preparing for college.

Take the ACT or SAT
Hopefully by the fall of your senior year you have already taken either the ACT or SAT at least once. If not, don’t panic. Both the ACT and SAT are offered several times throughout the year. There are at least two opportunities to take either exam in the fall. You should begin looking into test dates and registration deadlines as early as the summer before your senior year. Have your test scores sent to the schools you are applying to.

Start Completing Application Forms
Many colleges and universities now use what is called the “Common Application”. This enables you to apply to several institutions through one application. Not all schools use the common application. Be sure to check the admission requirements and deadlines of the schools you’ve selected. For those requiring them, start writing your personal essay and requesting letters of recommendation. There may be other requirements such as an interview with an admissions representative. Download the HBCU Search Application Checklist for more tips.

Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are several options for financing your college education. However, federal Student Aid, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. The office of Federal Student Aid provides more than $150 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to more than 15 million students paying for college or career school. It is extremely important that you submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on time. For more information on the types of financial aid available and completing the FAFSA check out the Paying for College page.