College Planning Checklist + Tips
College planning can be stressful, which is why you need this printable college planning checklist to help keep you organized.
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High school juniors and seniors have a lot on their plates, especially when it comes to college planning. With our College Planning Checklist + Tips, it will be a bit less overwhelming. We have a printable college checklist pdf that allows students to write in the names of colleges they are interested and then check the steps in the process of applying.
That way, nothing will be forgotten or left out. We are also offering supplemental tips about each step to help plan even further. Since college application preparation is so important, this is a much-needed resource for students.
This printable checklist includes the college application timeline that includes such details such as when to send applications, getting letters of recommendation, sending test scores and financial aid, and then any follow-ups needed.
Table of Contents
Printable College Application Checklist
Steps to College Planning
Printable College Application Checklist
This college planning checklist has all the basics you need to feel prepared. In the first column, list the colleges you are interested in applying to. In the next section of columns, mark or write the date for the early deadline and regular deadline, and then the date your application was sent.
You will also want letters of recommendation, which can be logged in the next set of columns. Usually, you will want a letter from three teachers or mentors. Check that you requested each letter or write the date you received them or each letter has been sent to the university.
You will also want to contact your school counselor and request your high school report and transcript. It's also common courtesy to send those who have helped you a thank you note, and so there are sections for those as well.
You will need to send your test scores along with your application and some schools involve interviews, which is why there are boxes for those as well. If you need to apply for financial aid, you can record it in the appropriate column.
One of the most important parts of the application process is performing the follow-up to make sure everything has been received by the college. Log that in the last column on your college planning checklist.
Click here or on the image below to print.
Plus, learn more about all these actions in our Steps to College Planning section below. You can also find more printable calendars and organizers in the last section on this page, which can help you stay as organized and ready as possible.
Steps to College Planning
When students start preparing for college, it can be a lot to handle. Some students start earlier than others but it is dependent on what the student's style and ideas of the future are. Certain students are more proactive than others, and so parents may have a larger or smaller role in this process. Because there are so many factors to consider, we will go over the overarching factors to consider when planning for college in high school.
- Prepare as early as possible. This is super important for both adult guardians and students. This can mean any school age, especially if the student already knows what they want as their future career. At the very least, once a student reaches high school, preparing for college should be on their radar. College Prep 101 features several different checklists on their Comprehensive College Planning Checklists page. These checklists include college prep for each high school year as well as those younger, a guide for parents, and more information about getting ready for university.
- Focus on your career interests and future. Perhaps you have a strong passion that can be translated to a career. Some adolescents have clear skills and enthusiasm for specific subject matters. However, some of us are not as lucky and have to give it lots of thought. It helps when determining which schools to apply to because every school has a few programs that are stronger than others. You don't always have to have a major decided when entering college but it makes it much easier to choose classes and plan ahead.
- Extracurricular activities are important. Grades and exam scores are not the only factors that interest colleges. Having hobbies, especially those that students are passionate about, always look good on applications. Along with hobbies, volunteer work is always a plus. When planning for college, take time outside of school for self-growth. Of course, this doesn't just help get you into the school of your choice, but it's enriching for your own life.
- Predict the cost of tuition (and other expenses). It's difficult to know the exact figures without having an institution chosen, but we can all agree that, in general, university is expensive and it needs to be planned out. The Best Colleges website has a detailed resource on College Planning for Parents and Students. This helpful guide goes over tuition costs and financial aid options, as well as high school grade preparation suggestions, placement exams, and more.
Always search for scholarships to apply for no matter your situation. It takes time to find and apply for these but is always worth it if successful. No matter how small or large the sum of the scholarship is, it can always help. Whether it's for tuition, books, or food, it will be a lifesaver while in college.
If you need financial aid, know your options and plan ahead. It's not only tuition you'll need to pay for. Housing, educational materials (books, electronic devices, etc), food, transportation, extracurricular activities, and many other costs will arise while you're at college. You also need to determine if you will be working while at school or have any other income during this time.
- Take available preliminary courses and exams. If you are planning to go into the sciences, choose specific science electives. Also, since you will be taking important exams, you can better prepare with prep courses or practice tests. If you want to keep it thrifty, check your local library for exam books or use online resources.
- Prepare for applications ahead of time. Each school application has its own unique questions and desired information. Search online for sample applications or look at the university websites to learn as much as you can about what their taglines and statements. Practice writing responses to questions will be beneficial when it comes to writing the final versions.
To help prospective college students stay even more organized and ready to tackle the world, we found some free printable calendars that are as helpful as they are attractive. The following list includes a variety of calendars, starting with daily planners, then weekly, then monthly.
With so many steps to the college planning process, especially if you're starting early, you will need to keep track of so much. These stylish calendars will help - and, since they are free, you're not spending extra money. Find even more on our favorite free printable resources, AllFreePaperCrafts and FaveCrafts.
- Free Printable Daily Planner Page from Clementine Creative
- Printable Weekly Hexagon Planner from Wild Olive (pictured above)
- Free Printable Weekly Planner Pages from Crazy Little Projects
- My Days Blank Calendar Template from Mr. Printables
- Printable Monthly Coloring Calendar from Smiling Colors
- Printable Monthly Planner Page from Clementine Creative (pictured below)
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