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Rising Seniors Monthly To-Do List

Over the years, My Pathway to College has experienced that rising seniors who began writing application essays during the summer did much better at getting accepted to their first choice schools. We believe this was a result of taking time to choose topics for questions that will positively highlight the student, writing a first draft and then editing, editing, and editing their essays.

Below is a month by month timeline of areas that My Pathway to College will assist your student in this summer and during the school year for a successful college application process during his/her senior year.


  • College List: fine tune it down to 10-15 schools

  • Visit Colleges: tour colleges and/or set up interview dates

  • Develop Contact with Colleges: Email and show interest

  • Brainstorm Essay Topics: Create brainstorming page


  • Essay Writing: Begin initial draft of essays

  • Application Timeline: Review which colleges you will apply to when by due date

  • Early Action/Early Decision: Determine if you will be

  • College Interviews: prep for interviews (if applicable)


  • Essay Writing continued

  • Begin Applications: Common App and UC App can be started as soon as August 1.

  • Sign up for ACT, SAT, and/or SAT Subject Tests (if applicable)

  • Letters of Recommendation: Prepare Naviance brag packets for teachers/counselors


  • Letters of Recommendation: request

  • Continue Applications

  • Essay Editing continued

  • Sign up for SAT/ACT (if applicable)


  • Complete applications for Early Action Colleges

  • Follow Up with teachers/counselors about letters of rec

  • Continue Applications


  • Complete UC and CSU applications, due by Nov 30th

  • Continue Applications

  • Essay Editing continued

  • Begin CSS Profile (financial aid for select private schools) and request FAFSA Pin


  • Students are encouraged to submit all college applications

  • before January 1

  • Essay Editing continued (if applicable)

  • Prepare items for FAFSA and CSS Profile


  • Jan 1: Fill out FAFSA and CSS Profile Financial Aid Forms. Also

  • make sure all college specific forms are complete

  • Request from counselor that all mid-year transcripts be sent off to colleges

  • Check college portals to ensure all items are received by college. If there is no online portal, call college to make sure everything has been received.

  • Update colleges regarding any additional new information: awards, grade changes, class changes, etc.

  • Students with Early Decision acceptances need to state yes to schools in January and inform other schools of acceptance.


  • UC decisions: Mid-late March

  • Common App decisions: by April 1

  • May 1: Deadline to choose a college to attend and Submit Intent to Register (SIR)

  • Complete Housing and Enrollment Deposit applications


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