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College Checklist/Timeline

Freshman Checklist

  • Establish strong study habits and time management techniques
  • Become involved in extracurricular activities; join sports and clubs
  • Explore and participate in community service
  • Find a tutor or a friend, if you need help
  • Remember: Freshman year grades count

Sophomore Checklist


  • Concentrate on academic preparation and continue to develop basic skills and extracurricular   interests
  • OPTIONAL: Register for the PSAT (this is for practice and not used by colleges)
  • Sign up for extracurricular activities
  • Participate in community service


  • Take the PSAT, if appropriate
  • Stay on top of your academics
  • Attend College Night at the College of Alameda


  • Receive results from PSAT in December
  • Develop learning strategies/plan for taking SAT and/or ACT in junior year


  • Keep your grades up
  • Continue with community service
  • Explore summer internships and jobs (The College/Career Center may be able to assist you)


  • Sign up to take summer classes at a nearby college, if appropriate
  • Volunteer or work over summer, take classes or enrichment programs

Junior Checklist


  • Visit College Career Center to check resources
  • Sign up for college visits in Naviance
  • Take challenging classes, when appropriate
  • Continue with community service during school year


  • Take the PSAT (sign up at the AHS Banking Office)
  • Make sure you are meeting the “a–g” course requirements for UC/CSU
  • Attend the AUSD College Night at the College of Alameda with your parents Continue attending college admission officer visits in the College & Career Center


  • Use Naviance to explore colleges and careers that interest you.  Start putting colleges into your college you are "thinking about" tab
  • Visit local college(s) over Thanksgiving break (Mon–Wed)


  •  Develop art portfolios, or music/drama audition ideas


  • Plan a strategy for getting the SAT and/or ACT scores you want (study booklet, preparation course)
  • Continue community service
  • Register for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests, and/or ACT (based on what your target schools require)
  • Review PSAT scores with Math English teachers
  • Naviance! Use it!


  • Make a list of your top 15 colleges and begin investigating them
  • Plan college campus visits for your spring break
  • Explore careers/majors more in depth—visit College Career Center
  • Meet with your counselor to review transcripts, senior classes, etc.
  • Visit colleges (especially California colleges)
  • Research and sign up for summer internships
  • Take the SAT or ACT
  • Keep your grades up


  • Visit colleges
  • Take SAT or ACT
  • Review test results; decide whether to take preparation course, if re-testing
  • Sign up for and take AP exams in May


  • Volunteer or get work experience
  • Brainstorm ideas for writing college personal statement—draft statement
  • Discuss college finances with parents - Access the "Net-Price Calculator" on college websites
  • Take test preparation class, if appropriate
  • Continue developing art/music/drama portfolio, if appropriate
  • Review your SAT or ACT scores with counselor to determine eligibility for UC/CSU
  • Visit more colleges during the summer
  • Register with NCAA Clearinghouse by end of junior year if you want to play competitive sports in college (Division I or II)

Senior Checklist


  • UC Application is open August 1st - Begin working on your UC App. 
  • Register for any additional testing and send scores to schools you are sure you will apply to. All SAT/ACT testing must be completed by the December test date.
  • Check transcripts to make sure they are complete and there are no errors
  • Complete your resume (helps teachers with recommendations, and you with applications) . 
  • Begin searching for scholarships


  • Attend college visits of schools you are interested in, at AHS or regionally
  • Create a separate email account for all college info—check it daily
  • Make a list of people to ask for recommendations
  • Meet with your counselor to turn in letter of recommendation requests, and mid-year report forms for private and out-of-state colleges
  • Make a list of colleges you will apply to and their deadlines
  • Give teachers recommendation forms


  • Online application opens for Cal State Universities on October 1st; remember to check each individual campus for deadlines
  • FAFSA application goes LIVE on October 1st; apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Create an FSA ID for student and one parent
  • CSS Profile - an additional Financial Aid form some Private schools only.  Check deadlines!


  • Submit UC Application and CSU Applications by November 30th
  • Register for CSS profile (for financial aid at private schools)
  • Send official SAT or ACT test scores to all schools that need them
  • Begin researching scholarship opportunities and check each college's website for alumni other scholarships


  • Complete all testing and send in official SAT/ACT scores
  • CHECK YOUR EMAIL!!!     
  • Every UC & CSU will email you about setting up your school Portal accounts. This is how you will check your admissions status and where you can see if you are missing anything for each school.                        


  • Keep checking deadlines—most private college applications will be due sometime in January
  • Send thank you notes to teachers and counselor for recommendations
  • Keep checking with colleges to be sure all applications are complete
  • Call financial aid office at colleges and make sure parents have completed paperwork
  • If you were admitted somewhere by early decision, you must withdraw all other applications


  • Most priority deadlines for CSS Profile are in Feb.


  • Cal Grants deadline March 2nd - Submit your FAFSA to qualify for a Cal Grant


  • Preview programs and visit colleges for an overnight
  • Review all financial aid award packages and your FAFSA Student Aid Report
  • Send Intent to Register, and then notification to colleges you are not attending. (Deadline for Intent to Register is usually May 1). If deferring for a Gap Year, notify the college in writing. The UC campuses do not have Gap year programs
  • Check for any other deadlines (e.g. housing, scholarships)—some deadlines will be in early May


  • Send deposit for housing
  • Register for AP tests, if appropriate


  • Request you official final transcript to be sent to the school you are attending - Request this in Naviance.