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College Planning Timeline

12th Grade

All 12th grade planning steps are shown.
College Planning steps are highlighted.

Fall Semester
Make Senior Year Count!
You want to avoid "senioritis." Take courses that will prepare you for college.
Stay on track. Review courses with your counselor to make sure you're meeting high school graduation requirements, Oklahoma's Promise course work and GPA expectations, and entrance requirements for the schools that interest you. Remember to update your Plan of Study.
Finalize your Individual Career Academic Plan. ICAP activities will help you finalize your plans for life after high school and take the first steps to reaching your postsecondary goals!
Talk to your counselor about possibilities for concurrent enrollment (taking college-credit courses while you're still in high school).
Save your money!
Continue to plug money into your Oklahoma 529 plan.
Sign up. Even if you've already taken the ACT or SAT, register for the fall ACT and/or SAT tests; you might boost your score! Have the official scores sent by the testing agency to the colleges or universities that have made your final list of schools.
Visit college campuses that are a good match with your abilities and career interests.
Narrow your choices. Many students select three to five schools to apply to, including their "dream" school, their "safety" school and two or three other choices.
Check your transcripts to make sure you have all the credits you need to get into the colleges that interest you.
Find out from the colleges whether or not they need official copies of your transcripts (these are sent directly from your school).
Keep an eye out for financial aid workshops and seminars, for both you and your parents.
There is a lot of help out there when you're looking for info on financial aid.
Apply for an FSA ID. Request an FSA ID at This FSA ID is used throughout the federal aid process, including completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Register for the October/November SAT and ACT tests if you plan to take them. Make sure your official test scores are sent to the colleges to which you are applying.
Take another look at your list of colleges, and make sure they still meet your needs.
It's not uncommon for students' goals to change.
Make sure you meet the requirements (including any transcript requirements) for all the colleges to which you want to apply.
Double-check the deadlines.
Give any recommendation forms to the appropriate teachers or counselors using whatever process your school recommends (AppDocs, paper recommendation form with a stamped, college-addressed envelope, etc.), making certain that your portions of the forms are filled out completely and accurately.
Most early decision and early action applications are due in November or earlier.
Keep this in mind if you intend to take advantage of these options, and remember to request that your high school send your official transcripts to the college on time.
Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1. The FAFSA serves as your application for federal and most types of state financial aid for college.
Be aware: the FAFSA will open in December 2023 (not October as is normal).

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Continue to apply for scholarships. Apply for 2-3 scholarships per week to increase your chances of being awarded FREE money for college.
Make a final list of schools that interest you and keep a file of deadlines and required admission items for each school.
Many students like to have a "dream school" and a "safety school" as well as two or three others.
Take the SAT or ACT tests. Have the official scores sent by the testing agency to the colleges or universities that have made your final list of schools.
Register for December or January SAT or ACT, if necessary.
Get started on any essays to be included with your applications.
Give your essays to others (teachers, counselors, parents, friends) for feedback.
Submit your college admission applications.
Be sure to check them over thoroughly! Having someone else review your application with you can help you catch any errors.
Be sure to consult with your school counselor about scholarship opportunities.
Not all scholarships are for top students and athletes. There may be a perfect scholarship for you - it's worth doing a little research.
Work on your scholarship applications and mail according to deadlines.
Check with the financial aid office of schools you are applying to for specific information on scholarships and costs for tuition, fees, food and housing, and any additional financial aid info they require.
If you completed the FAFSA online, you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) shortly thereafter.
Review for accuracy and make any necessary corrections online.
Watch your mailbox and inbox if you submitted an early decision application.
Early decision replies usually arrive by December. If you do get an acceptance, you should withdraw any other applications.
If you haven't already done so, make sure your official test scores (SAT, ACT, etc.) are being sent to the colleges to which you are applying.
Spring Semester
Check for other financial aid options.
In order to be considered for financial aid, you will need to submit a FAFSA, even if you have not yet been notified of your acceptance to the college(s) to which you applied.
Request that your high school send your official transcripts to the colleges to which you are applying.
Contact the admissions office of the colleges to which you have applied to make sure that your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you.
Complete your scholarship applications.
Contact the financial aid office of the colleges to which you have applied to make sure your information has been received, and that they have everything they need from you.
March - April:
You will probably hear from the colleges as to whether or not you are accepted by April 15.
If you will be living on campus, submit your housing deposit to ensure you get the residential option you prefer.
Compare your acceptance letters, financial aid and scholarship offers.
These are all important things to consider when choosing a college.
When you choose a college that has accepted you, you may be required to pay a non-refundable deposit for freshman tuition.
This should ensure your place in the entering freshman class.
Take AP exams for any AP subjects you studied in high school.
Decision time!
You should decide on a college by May 1. Notify that school by mailing your commitment deposit check. Many schools require that your notification letter be postmarked by this date.
If you were placed on a waiting list for a particular college and have decided to wait for an opening, contact that college and let them know you are still very interested.
Have your school send your final transcripts to the college you will be attending.
Contact your college to determine when fees for tuition, food and housing are due, and how much they will cost.
Summer After Senior Year
Participate in any summer orientation programs for incoming freshmen.
Track it. Continue adding to your document file or resume: report cards, lists of awards and honors, school and community activities, and volunteer work.
Now that you know you will be attending college in the fall, it is a good idea to make sure you have student health insurance in case of any emergencies.


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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.