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Pre – College Timeline: Sophomore – Senior Year

Sophomore Year -

  1. Take the PSAT! Whether you plan to take the ACT or SAT next year. Take the PSAT or even the PACT and honestly, I would recommend taking both just so you can get a feel for each test and then go on to do your research in which test is best for you and your strengths.
  2. If you are interested and consult with your parents, you should start to research about SAT/ACT prep programs that are going to work from you.  I would recommend starting these programs 4-6 months prior to your test date.

The End of Sophomore to Summer before Junior Year -

  1. Begin to make a list of colleges. If you do not know what you want to major in yet, no sweat.  Find colleges of ideal size, location, and some of the other factors such as if it has greek life or religious affiliation.  As well, be sure to look to see if colleges offer interviews.  This is a great way to put a face to an application and explain anything that you may want to give more detail about.
  2. Begin to plan when you want to take the SAT/ACT.  You should want to complete all testing in your junior year because who really wants to take a standardized test their senior year.

Junior Year -

  1. Begin to plan out college visits.  Take advantage of breaks and long weekends and take at least 1-2 (if not more) days to visit schools.  This is great because then when senior year comes around you will be able to focus on applications and such and won’t have to fill out 10-15 applications to some schools that you don’t even like.
  2. Start and finish your college essay.  I found that when I had my essay done (although one of my teachers senior year made me redo it) at the end of junior year I was really able to have a better summer and enjoy it.
  3. Fill out your Common Application and Naviance to the best of your ability because this will save you so so much time and it is super simple too.  It’s all the basic information that you have to fill out. If you have any questions about this setup or this application itself, please see your school counselor.
  4. Begin to ask for letters of recommendation.  We all know that there are only a few teachers in the school who everyone asks for a letter of recommendation from so you want to make sure that their list doesn’t fill up before you ask.  I recommended finding two teachers who really know you best both personally and academically so that you can receive a well-rounded letter.
  5. Make a resume.  Many scholarships and applications will ask for a resume of all of the activities, jobs, awards, and service opportunities that you have done in your high school career.  Naviance has a resume maker that is SUPER easy to use and this should be something that is used.
  6. Meet with college representatives that come to your school. There may be some schools that you cannot get to that you are interested in.  That’s okay! Many schools will send a representative to your high school to come and chat with students if they have any questions.  Take advantage of these. There are typically not many people who attend each one so you will be given ample personal time to have all of your questions answered.


This is the last summer while you're still in high school. During this summer, of course, have a ton of fun but also this is the time where you will:

  1. Narrow down your list of schools and create a spreadsheet of all deadlines, prices, majors and such of each school you are applying to
  2. Begin deciding which ones you can apply to Early Action and Early Decision.  If you do not apply Early Decision to any schools, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you apply Early Action to as many schools as you possibly can. There is no commitment here and it just gets everything out of the way.
  3. Look at your SAT and ACT scores and plan to potentially take it again senior year if you feel you can do better on the next test.

Senior Year - THIS IS IT!

  1. Start to fill out applications right away! Don’t wait till last minute especially if you had planned to reach the Early Action deadlines.  If you have any questions about the process or any section of the application, please see your school counselor.  Don’t be scared to because they are here for you.
  2. Begin scholarship applications.  If your school has Naviance, they will typically have an entire list of scholarships for you to fill out.  Get on these as soon as possible and fill out every single one of them. It doesn’t matter if it pertains to you or not, just fill out the application and go for it.  This can benefit you and your parents immensely over the next few years.
  3. When accepted, be sure to take note of all of the Accepted Students Day(s) and plan accordingly.  These days will offer you much more information with the potential of you attending that school than just a basic tour.  You do not need to attend every single of the Accepted Student days if you do not wish to. Think about all of the schools that you truly are considering attending and only go to those days. BE INTENTIONAL!
  4. DECIDE! Make sure that you make a decision and have your deposit in before the May 1st deadline! Be proud of all you have accomplished and celebrate you!

Stay tuned for a Pre-College Timeline Part 2: The Summer Before College. I hope that you find value in this timeline and please do not forget to share it with your friends and on social media.  Also, for more tips and advice, follow me on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to the Fashion Your Passion Podcast.

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