College Counseling Timeline for Students

Below is an outline of the steps you should be taking with your college search over the four years of upper school.

Freshman Year

  • Make the most of academic opportunities.
  • Explore and get involved with activities, both in and out of school.
  • Choose summer activities that are fulfilling and engaging.

Sophomore Year

  • Remain invested in academic and extracurricular pursuits.
  • Attend sophomore parent Q&A session with the college counselors in late March.
  • Take practice PSAT in the spring (you will be automatically registered for these at Park).
  • Take Subject Tests in the spring if you are in the top level Math class and/or Accelerated Chemistry (consult your teacher for more information).
  • Begin familiarizing yourself with the Park School College Counseling website.
  • Choose summer activities that are fulfilling and engaging.
  • In the summer, visit a few local colleges, take tours, and attend information sessions to acquaint yourself with how colleges differ.

Junior Year


  • Stay focused on academic and extracurricular pursuits.
  • Attend the First Timers meeting in early October if you would like to be provided with very basic information regarding colleges, college admissions, and applying to college.
  • Attend Financial Aid Night September 19.
  • Consider test prep for SATs and/or ACTs, and begin studying.
  • Take PSATs in October (you will be automatically registered for these at Park).
  • Sign up for winter/spring SATs and/or ACTs.
  • Attend a Junior College Counseling Night/Morning meeting in either late November or early December.
  • Continue college visits.
  • Think about what you might want in a college (programs, location, size, culture).

Winter/Early Spring

  • Complete Junior College Counseling Questionnaire.
  • Set up individual meeting with your college counselor; then set up family meetings.
  • Begin researching colleges and developing a college list.
  • Visit college websites; request and gather information from colleges.
  • Take first SAT/ACT.
  • Discuss Subject Tests and APs with your college counselor.
  • Plan summer activities.
  • Plan spring break college visits, if appropriate.
  • Sign up for Subject Tests (through College Board) and/or APs (through Park), if appropriate.

Late spring

  • Discuss senior year courses with your college counselor and your advisor.
  • Select and have conversations with prospective teacher recommenders.
  • Attend AIMS College Fair on April 17, 2018.
  • Attend Senior Panel night in May.
  • Take APs and/or Subject tests, if appropriate.
  • Set up summer visits and interviews, where available.
  • Plan to attend one of the Essay Writing Workshops offered in the summer.

Senior Year

Late Summer/fall

  • If you haven't attended an Essay Writing Workshop yet, plan to attend the August session.
  • Sign up for SATs, Subject Tests, and/or ACTs if you plan to sit for a fall administration.
  • Plan college visits (school professional days are a good time for this); schedule overnight stays where possible.
  • Stay focused on academic and extracurricular pursuits.
  • Sign up for meetings with college representatives visiting Park.
  • Attend Senior College Information Session in September.
  • Attend college counseling classes in September and early October.
  • Finalize college lists.
  • Make decisions about ED, EA, Rolling, and Priority deadlines.
  • Create a list of deadlines and essay questions for each college on your list.
  • Contact teacher and supplemental recommenders and provide them with a list of schools and deadlines.
  • Begin working on applications.
  • Submit transcript release forms and My Schools forms to Susan Chase.
  • Attend Financial Aid workshop in September.
  • Research financial aid requirements and deadlines.
  • If you are applying for financial aid, make preparations to complete the FAFSA (and CSS Profile for schools that require it.)
  • Attend the FAFSA/CSS Profile Get it Done Workshop on November 4 in The Park School Library.


  • Complete applications for schools with December, January, and February deadlines.
  • Even if you've applied Early Decision, prepare applications for Regular Decision schools.
  • Research and apply for scholarships.


  • Discuss financial aid packages with your college counselor.
  • Deposit at ONE college by May 1 (you may also remain on wait lists).
  • Write letters of interest to your wait list schools, if necessary.
  • Sign up for and take APs, if appropriate.