Skip to main content

Financial Aid Planning Timeline

11th Grade

All 11th grade planning steps are shown.
Financial Aid Planning steps are highlighted.

Fall Semester
Maintaining your grades during your junior year is important!
Be sure that every course you take helps prepare you for college. Colleges will look at coursework taken and expect rigor (challenging work) in your choices. Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses help prepare a student for college.
Last chance to apply for Oklahoma's Promise! If you didn't apply in eighth, ninth, or tenth grade, visit OKpromise.orgnew_window to sign up for this scholarship program.
Make sure you're challenging yourself academically.
Colleges will consider how difficult your courses are.
Keep working on your Individual Career Academic Plan. ICAP activities will help you explore your skills, interests and values as you make plans for life after high school.
Now is the time to really focus your career and college research.
Do a thorough review.
Ask for a copy of your transcript and evaluate yourself. Look at your class rank and GPA. Look for any gaps or low points and seek advice from your counselor on ways to improve these areas.
As you research education and career options, share your discoveries with your family.
Keep talking. Continue your conversations with your guidance counselor, teachers, family members or other trusted adults about your plans after high school. Talk with family and friends about their educational choices.
Stay involved in school and community activities. This looks good on your resume for scholarships and college applications.
Talk to your guidance counselor (or teachers, if you don't have access to a guidance counselor) about the following:
Availability of and enrollment in AP classes.
Concurrent enrollment opportunities: taking college-level courses before you graduate from high school.
Schedules and important deadlines/dates for the PSAT, ACT, Advanced Placement (AP) exams and SAT.
Ask which of these exams would be the best fit for your future - and sign up for those tests. Remember, you can always change your mind.
How to start getting ready for the exams!
Review your academic record with your counselor and talk about ways to improve.
Find out the admission requirements for the colleges you're interested in. Do your research, and be sure to learn about any additional requirements besides GPA and test scores.
Search for scholarships. There are numerous scholarships for high school juniors, you just have to do the research. Try to apply for 1-2 scholarships per week.
Obtain schedules and forms for the ACT and Advanced Placement (AP) exams and/or the SAT. Research the requirements of the colleges you're interested in to learn about admission deadlines and which tests to take. Your school district will provide a free ACT or SAT in the spring, but you may want to register to take a second exam this year.
Register for the PSAT exam offered in October.
Remember that when you take the PSAT in your junior year, the scores will count towards the National Achievement Program (and it is good practice for the SAT).
Start a file for college catalogs and other admissions information.
Keep an eye out for college nights at any schools in your area you may want to attend.
Take the PSAT if you registered for it this month.
Visit colleges, talk to recruiters, and learn about programs offered. Narrow your list of colleges to include a few colleges with requirements at your current GPA, a few with requirements above your current GPA, and at least one with requirements below your GPA.
Begin scheduling interviews with admissions counselors.
If possible, schedule tours of the school grounds on the same days.
You and your parent(s) may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation so you don't have to miss school.
You will receive your scores from the October PSAT if you took it that month.
Depending on the results, you may want to consider signing up for free online SAT prep.
Spring Semester
If you're choosing your senior year classes, look for classes that will give you a strong transcript.
You'll also want to look for classes that will fit your college study plans.
Consider looking for a summer job or internship.
Not only can you earn money for college, you can also learn valuable skills.
Continue with your campus tours online or in person.
You want to be narrowing down your list of potential colleges.
If possible, schedule tours of campuses on the same days.
Your family may want to visit the colleges and universities during spring break and summer vacation so you don't have to miss school.
Take the April ACT test if you registered for this month.
Take AP exams for any AP subjects you studied in high school.
Talk to teachers about writing letters of recommendation for you.
Think about what you would like to include in these and politely ask your teachers if they can help.
Add any new report cards, test scores, honors or awards from the year to your file or resume.
Take the ACT and SAT tests if you're registered. If there is one subject area you need to improve on, focus on studying for that area to help increase your score.
Summer Between Junior and Senior Years
Continue with your college visits. Call ahead for appointments with the financial aid, admissions and academic advisors at the colleges in which you are most interested.
Be productive. Find opportunities in the summer that will enhance your college and scholarship resume.
Continue to work on your application essays and review the application procedures for the colleges you plan to apply to.
Decide if you are going to apply under any early decision or early action programs.
This requires you to submit your applications early, typically between August and December of your senior year.
Read your college mail and send reply cards to your schools of interest. Many colleges allow you to submit interest information online as well.


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

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.