College Preparation Timelines


For some, college seems so far away, but for others, it is right around the corner. To help keep you on track for your future college opportunities, check out the timeline below.  Work hard in school, always do your best.  Challenge yourself.  Get involved in your school and in your community.  Take advantage of opportunities.  If you do these things, the college process will be a natural next step, and you'll be well prepared to handle it successfully.

Freshman Year

*Get to know your school counselor.

*Get involved in school activities: do what you enjoy!  Step up and be a leader!

*Get involved in community activities and service.

*Attend Boise National College Fair in the evening session (late October)

*GRADES MATTER! Your GPA begins your freshman year.

*Take challenging (but appropriate) courses.

*Read, even when not assigned for school, on a regular basis.

*If your family travels during the summer, and if you pass near a college campus, stop and take the tour.

*Visit the Career Center and take the Interest Inventory on the CIS website.

*Attend presentation by college admissions counselors in the Career Center.

Sophomore Year

*Stay in touch with your school counselor and make sure you are still following your fear-year plan.

*Take the PLAN and/or PSAT test when it is offered. Use CIS to take pre-tests!

*Remain involved in school and community activities. Be a leader!

*Attend Boise National College Fair in the evening session (late October)

*Earn the best grades you can, semester grades make up your cumulative GPA!

*Continue to take challenging high school courses.

*Continue to take advantage of college visits with your family just to get a feel for the different colleges.

*Visit the Career Center to take the IDEAS Assessment on CIS (Career Information Systems) website.

*Attend presentations by college admissions counselors in the Career Center.

Junior Year


*Maintain good study habits.

*Participate in extracurricular activities. It is hard to give up activities as school gets harder but persevere! It will benefit you in the end.

*Look for leadership opportunities.  Some scholarships require it.

*Identify career interests, take related VHS classes if possible.

*Identify locations for community service activities. Stop by the Career Center if you are stuck.

*Take Advanced Placement and/or Dual Credit courses available to get a jump start on college.

*Attend Boise National College Fair in the fall.

*Take the PSAT in October (if you want to be considered for the National Merit Scholar Award)

*Visit the Career Center often to attend presentations by college recruiters.

*Take the ASVAB if you are interested in enlisting in the military or looking to explore careers.


*Begin studying for the school day SAT in April.

*Select senior year courses. Remember to continue challenging yourself academically.


*Continue studying for the school day SAT in April.

*Consider or plan to visit colleges over spring break.

*If interested, begin process for service academy appointment (U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy).

*Prepare for the ACT and/or SAT. Best time to take it is in spring or summer of junior year.


*Take the school day SAT at school

*Take and pass the required Civics test.

*Register for June ACT and/or SAT exams.

*Look for and attend spring college fairs.

*Begin thinking about summer plans.


*Take appropriate AP exams.

*Take ACT and/or SAT exams now or in June.


*Work – save money for college.

*Complete your community service hours.

*Consider taking a summer course, such as an ACT prep course.

*Visit colleges that interest you.

Senior Year


*Maintain good study habits…don’t catch a case of senioritis!

*Participate in extracurricular activities.

*Look for leadership opportunities. Some scholarships require it.

*Take Advanced Placement and/or Dual Credit courses and prepare for exams.

*Sign up to take ACT and SAT exams

*Check your course schedule with your guidance counselor. Make sure you are taking all required courses.

*Visit the Career Center to plan out your senior year!


*Attend college representative visits in the Career Center.

*Develop college application plans with your counselor.

*Identify 6–10 colleges that you would like to apply to; get applications.

*Begin working on college applications; note deadlines.

*Set up your college applications filing system; keep track of all correspondence with colleges.

*Register for ACT and SAT exams.

*Look for scheduled visits of college representatives on website and listen to announcements.

*When a college representative comes that you want to talk to, sign up in the Career Center. Get a pass ahead of time.

*Plan campus visits and interviews, or take “virtual tours” and make appointments to have interviews locally.

*Request letters of recommendation from your teachers.

*Prepare your resume.

*Submit requests for transcripts and counselor recommendations from your counselor at least three weeks before the application deadline.

*Check scholarship lists on website and counselor's office.

*Create your FSA ID by going to


*October 1st is the first day to file your completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Keep a copy for your records. Keep photocopies of all forms and applications you complete.

*Attend college representative visits in the Career Center.

*Begin applications to out-of-state colleges.

*Take ACT or SAT exams.

*Continue preparing and finalizing college list.

*Continue meeting college reps, visiting colleges (if possible) and interviewing.

*If applying Early Decision, prepare application, request all necessary documents.

*Attend Boise National College Fair and get information on colleges.

*Begin researching financial aid and scholarships.

*Begin drafting college essays. Review the essay with your counselor, English teacher and parents.

*Apply for ROTC scholarships, if interested.

*Register for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), if interested.

*If planning to enlist in the military, begin speaking with a recruiter(s).

*Apply for the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship if GPA is 3.0 or above.


*Attend college representative visits in the Career Center.

*Participate in Idaho College Application Week—save your in-state college applications for this week

*November 1st and November 15th are the deadline dates for some colleges’ Early Decision. Check your college regarding these dates.

*Take ACT and/or SAT. You are running out of chances to take the tests!

*Attend Financial Aid Night to discuss college financial aid packages.

*Finalize college list.

*Visit Career Center and counselor as needed.

*Complete college applications and submit them to your counselor.

*Keep copies of all forms and applications you complete.

*Maintain grades and extracurricular activities.


*University of Idaho’s priority deadline is December 1. Students must have applied, and submitted their FAFSA as well as test scores and transcripts by this date.

*Submit college applications with January deadlines by December.

*Recommended time to forward applications to your school counselor to complete and forward to colleges and universities of choice.


*Check your course schedule. Meet with your guidance counselor to make any necessary changes.

*Review first semester grades with counselor. Do not drop any classes.

*Check your college for Regular Admissions deadline.

*Attend FAFSA Workshop if needed.


*February 15th is the priority enrollment deadline for students applying to Idaho State University and Boise State University. Must apply by this date for school scholarship consideration.

*Complete community service requirements.

*Start looking for summer work or internship opportunities.

*Talk to your guidance counselor about any Advanced Placement exam registration and test dates.

*Continue looking for scholarship money.

*Respond to requests from colleges for any additional information needed.

*Maintain high level of academic performance.


*Begin receiving financial aid award letters from the colleges you have applied to, and make comparisons.

*Schedule overnight visits at top-choice colleges.

*Sign up for AP exams.

*Register for ASVAB, if interested.

*Check scholarship deadlines and get applications in.

*Sign up for Orientation at the college/university you will attending


*Investigate payment options with each college.

*Accept all or part of the financial aid offered; sign and return acceptance letter.

*Many schools will require commitments to attend by May 1st; deposits will be required.

*Don't commit if you have not yet received all of your award letters from the colleges to which you have applied. Call the college admissions offices and ask for extensions.

*Don’t let your grades slip; you want to graduate in good standing.

*Get final scholarship applications in.


*Notify the college you plan to attend by May 1st and send final transcripts. Send deposit to college.

*Notify the Career Center staff of where you are going!!

*Make loan arrangements. Report any private scholarship to the financial aid office of the college you will be attending.

*Notify the colleges that you will not be attending. This is very important.

*Make sure to thank teachers and counselors who advised and assisted you.

*Take AP exams.

*Continue to work hard at your studies and PASS YOUR SPRING SEMESTER CLASSES!

*Send dual credit transcripts to the college where you will be attending. Make sure to request them to be sent after final grades are posted to ensure you get the credit.

*Graduate and start your path to post-high school education.