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HC’s Month-by-Month College Applications Checklist


The college admissions process is in full swing, pre-collegiettes! It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and confused after all, there are so many drafts, deadlines and applications to keep track of! But don’t worry: Her Campus has your back. Here’s your monthly checklist to the admissions process, complete with recommendations for what needs to be done during every month of the year.


Happy summer, pre-collegiettes! Though summer is an awesome time to decompress, it’s time to get your college admissions process going!

June Checklist

  • Create a binder or folder where you can store all of your college applications information in an organized manner. This binder can include divider tabs for all of the schools you apply to, deadlines and required materials for each, the supplements they require and drafts of your application materials.
  • Start researching scholarships you’d like to apply to! Like your college binder, create a binder or folder for all of your scholarship websites, applications, supplements and login information. Looking for scholarship databases to help kickstart your search? Try Fastweb, Zinch and Cappex!
  • Take the June SAT, ACT or SAT Subject Tests! To register, go to the College Board’s SAT website and make a profile. Then, using the easy online registration process, fill out when you’d like to take your SAT and SAT Subject tests. You can register for the ACT on the ACT Student website. Most schools take either test, and also remember that some schools are even standardized-testing-optional! For Subject Tests, check out individual colleges’ requirements to see how many tests they recommend applicants have (many want at least one or two, but it varies greatly from school to school).


It’s the middle of the summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to slack on college apps!

July Checklist

  • July is also a great time to start writing your essays for the Common App and supplements if any of your schools have already released their essays (though this greatly differs from school to school and will require you to check individual college websites). The Common App essay questions are already available online, though!
  • Scores from your June standardized tests will be available four to six weeks after you take them, so you will most likely receive them during the month of July (and in some cases, even later June).


The Common Application opens on August 1st, so get a first look at what you’ll be filling out this fall!

August Checklist

  • Even if you don’t start filling out the Common App in August, it’s important to take a look at it so that you won’t be overwhelmed later on. Start outlining what you want to write in each of the sections, and start gathering up information you’ll need.
  • In addition, now that you know exactly what supplement you’ll have to start writing, finalize your college list and get to work!
  • Now that you know where you’re applying to college, deadlines become the name of the game! Write down all of the application deadlines for every single school, and take note of early decision and early action timelines if you’re applying to schools through those processes. Most of those deadlines are in November, but some are as early as October 1st.


It’s time to start filling out your applications and making headway on the entire application process on several fronts! Now that the school year is in full swing, don’t get behind on your applications, recommendations and testing.

September Checklist

  • Ask teachers for recommendations. Reach out to faculty members, hand them a copy of your resume or a summary of your accomplishments and tell them where you’re applying to college. It’s important to request recommendations early before teachers get swamped, so you should begin meeting with faculty as soon as you get back to school! Timeline-wise, all of your materials for any given application should be submitted two weeks before the deadline, so you should ask your teachers to send in recommendations three to four weeks before an application deadline.
  • You should be making your way through drafts on your Common App essay and your supplements.
  • Keep an eye on scholarship dates! Many scholarships have deadlines in October or November, and you don’t want them to hold up your entire admissions process.


October is the month when the entire admissions process is in full swing!

October Checklist

  • Continue working on your apps.
  • Sign up for the November SAT, ACT or SAT Subject Test if you still need to take them or retake them. If you are applying early decision or early action to a college or several colleges, this is your last chance to take standardized tests!


Deadlines for early action and early decision schools are this month!

November Checklist

  • If you are applying EA or ED, make sure every part of your application (application or Common App, recommendations, transcript, etc.) is submitted!
  • If you are having any problems with your ED or EA applications or your application status, talk to your college counselor or call the admissions offices of the school(s) you’re applying to. Just remember: It takes colleges 24 to 48 hours to process application materials, so don’t call five minutes after you’ve submitted anything!
  • If you’re submitting applications by regular decision dates, you should be close to done with every component of your applications.
  • Scores from your October standardized tests will be available four to six weeks after you take them, so you will most likely receive them during the month of November (and in some cases, even later October).


It’s time to put your application skills into overdrive! Regular-decision apps are typically due either in mid-December or on January 1st, so make sure you’re submitting your materials one to two weeks in advance to avoid the last minute rush (and to give yourself plenty of time to ensure that your materials were received).

December Checklist

  • Check regularly in your colleges’ portfolios to see your application status. Write down all of the login and password information for these portfolios so you can regularly check back.
  • If you applied to a college early decision during the ED I cycle, you will find out around December 15th if you were accepted!
  • Scores from your November standardized tests will be available four to six weeks after you take them, so you will most likely receive them during the month of December (and in some cases, even later November).


Now that your college apps are in, it’s time to shift your focus to money matters. The FAFSA and CSS Profile applications are out, so get on them!

January Checklist

  • Figure out which financial aid forms you need to fill out and when they’re due, and start completing your applications ASAP! The earlier you submit these forms, the easier it is for financial aid offices to get you what you need. FAFSA deadlines vary from state to state, so make sure you take note of when those forms are due!
  • Finish and submit any remaining college applications that are due after the January 1st deadline.


There’s a small lull in the admissions process during the month of February, so take some time to relax and enjoy being a senior! Continue working on financial aid materials if you haven’t finished it already, and also continue applying to scholarships that strike your fancy.

February Checklist

  • Continue applying to scholarships and working on your financial aid forms.
  • Regularly check your application status on your submitted applications.
  • Early decision applicants who applied during the ED II cycle will find out around February 15th if they were accepted into those colleges!


It’s here! College decisions start coming out around mid-March, so get ready for all the emotions that come with those envelopes.

March Checklist

  • Celebrate as you start getting all those acceptance letters!
  • Start planning out dates for when to visit your top choice schools as soon as you get your admissions letters and you’re able to set aside the finances to attend.


So here you are, faced with many college acceptances, and you have to make a decision! Where will you attend school?

April Checklist

  • Most colleges send out regular-decision letters around April 1st. Take a moment and celebrate all of your accomplishments! Applicants who were deferred during the early decision and early action processes will also hear from these schools at the same time as all regular decision applicants.
  • Towards the end of the month, start coming to your final decision and sending in that deposit to the college of your choice (it’s due by May 1st)!


May 1st is D-Day (“D” as in “Decision”), and you need to make your final choice if you applied to any colleges regular decision or early action! Wherever you go, it’s sure to be a wonderful and totally wild ride. Congrats on becoming a full-fledged collegiette! It’s time to start say goodbye to friends and family and start getting ready for freshman year.

May Checklist

  • Send in your deposit to the school you’ve decided to attend. It’s due by May 1st!
  • Your college will be sending you some sort of matriculation package that will tell you everything you need to know about registering for orientation and officially becoming a student at the university. Check your email and your snail mail for this packet, and pay attention to deadlines, as they differ for every college!
  • Your college will begin asking you to submit orientation information, health forms, dorm preferences, meal plans, class registration information and other items needed for you to start your time as a collegiette. Make sure all of your other materials for school are turned in (especially if you’re attending your college’s orientation within the next couple of weeks!).
  • Sometime during the early summer, your college will be setting up your school email account and online portfolio. Be on the lookout for that information, because both will be a super important part of your college experience!
  • The federal FAFSA deadline is June 30th, so keep that in mind if you haven’t submitted your forms yet.
  • If you decided to stay on the waitlist for any school, the college should tell you when to expect a decision. Stay positive, but also keep preparing for the school year ahead!
  • Make it through your AP tests (they’re really not too terrible!).
  • Send thank you notes to people who helped you on your college journey, including teachers, administrators, college counselors and scholarship donors.
  • Have fun being a senior for a little longer and hanging out with all your friends!
  • Enjoy your summer but stay productive! Check your school’s website or online portfolio to see if you have summer reading and when you need to have it done. Take a break from schoolwork, but definitely don’t leave your reading until the week before college starts; packing and preparing is already stressful enough!

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