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.

In This Section

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

  • Invest yourself in your academic and extracurricular pursuits.
  • Attend the College Q&A for sophomores and their families in Spring 2022.
  • Take a practice PSAT in the spring.
  • 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


  • Continue to challenge yourself in your academic and extracurricular pursuits.
  • Attend AIMS College Counseling Financial Aid Night for 11th and 12th grade families.
  • Consider test prep for SATs and/or ACTs, and begin studying.
  • Take PSATs in October (you will be automatically registered for this test at Park).
  • Consider signing up for AP exams. (Registration is through Park.)
  • Sign up for winter/spring SATs and/or ACTs.
  • Attend a College Information Session for Juniors and their Families in 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. The questionnaire will be available in December.
  • Set up an individual meeting with your college counselor; then set up a family meeting.
  • Begin researching colleges and developing a college list.
  • Visit college websites; request and gather information from colleges.
  • Take first SAT/ACT.
  • Plan summer activities.
  • Plan spring break college visits, if appropriate.
  • Attend College Counseling Class Meetings.

Late spring

  • Discuss senior year courses with your college counselor and your advisor.
  • Attend AIMS College Fair.
  • Select and have conversations with prospective teacher recommenders in May.
  • Attend Senior Panel for Juniors and their Families night.
  • Take APs, if appropriate.
  • Set up summer visits and interviews, where available.
  • Plan to attend the College Essay Writing Workshop and the College Application Bootcamp offered in the summer.

Senior Year

Late Summer/fall

  • Attend the College Application Boot Camp.
  • Sign up for SATs, and/or ACTs if you plan to sit for a fall administration.
  • Consider signing up for AP exams. (Registration is through Park)
  • 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 in person or virtual meetings with college representatives visiting Park.
  • Attend College Information Session for Seniors and their Families in September.
  • 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 Wendy Stevens.
  • Attend AIMS College Counseling Financial Aid Night.
  • 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).
  • Sign up to attend the FAFSA/CSS Profile “Get it Done” Workshop on October 9, 2021.


  • 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 emails of interest to your wait list schools, if necessary.
  • Take APs, if you signed up earlier in the fall.