• TFHS College Planning Checklist

    Freshman & Sophomore Years

    Get to know your high school guidance counselor.

    Plan a family college discussion.

    Develop good study skills.

    Get a Social Security Number (visit www.ssa.gov)

    Take challenging courses.

    Participate in extra curricular activities.

    Explore career information on MCIS.

    Evaluate your personality, interests, and skills.

    Sophomores take the ASPIRE Test.

    Review ASPIRE scores with your high school counselor.

    Sophomores may choose to take the PSAT for practice.
    Review PSAT scores with your high school counselor. 

    Participate in college visits.

    Sophomores may choose to take the ASVAB Career Exploration Test.
    Review ASVAB scores with the test interpreter. 

    Visit http://www.reachhighermontana.org/ to learn more about college.


    Junior Year


    Plan a family college discussion.

    Review your courses with your guidance counselor.

    Prepare a list of questions to ask college reps.

    Make a list of schools you might want to attend.

    Collect college catalogs.

    Register for the PSAT.

    Create files to keep copies of applications and correspondence.

    Set up a calendar to track important dates and deadlines.

    October - November

    Attend college fairs and financial aid nights.

    Take the PSAT.

    Review your PSAT results with you counselor. 

    Search for scholarships and student financial aid.

    Learn the basics about federal and private loans.

    Schedule and make college visits.

    Take the ASVAB Career Exploration Test. 
    Review your ASVAB results with you the test interpreter. 



    Talk with friends who are home from college to learn more about what it is like at college.

    Plan to take both the SAT and ACT at least once.


    January – February

    Identify characteristics you want in a college.

    Attend college fairs and financial aid nights.

    Register and study for the SAT and/or ACT.



    Schedule and make campus visits.

    Narrow your college list to a reasonable number.

    Discuss ways to pay with each college on your list.

    Estimate how much each college will cost.

    Take the ACT during the school day sponsored by MT GEAR UP.



    Compare college requirements to your course load.

    Select senior year courses.

    Visit colleges.



    Register and take the ACT and/or SAT tests. (Strongly encouraged for all college-bound juniors.)

    Ask about college prep programs and workshops offered during the summer.

    Search for scholarships and ways to pay for college.

    Get a summer job to save money for college.


    June – July

    Talk with friends who are home from college.

    Create a list of schools you would like to attend.

    Schedule college visits and interviews.

    Talk to people in career fields you find interesting.

    Search for scholarships.



    Request college applications.

    Give thought to essay topics.

    Consider whom to ask for letters of recommendation.

    Schedule a family meeting to discuss your college plans.


    Time to Register-Selective Service

    All male U.S. citizens residing in the United States must register within the period starting 30 days before, and ending 30 days after, their 18th birthday. Log on to www.sss.govand you can register is about 5 minutes.


    Senior Year


    Discuss your course load, college plans, and test scores with your high school counselor.

    Request college applications.

    Arrange campus visits.

    Register to take the SAT/ACT, if necessary.

    Search for scholarships and ways to pay for college.

    Submit a CSS/PROFILE form, if required.

    Stay organized. File copies. Update your calendar.

    Print the “FAFSA on the Web Worksheet.” This form can help you gather the necessary information to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Visit http://fafsa.ed.gov.

    Register for a PIN # at www.pin.ed.gov.



    Verify that your transcripts are accurate.

    Find out which financial aid applications are required at your choice colleges.

    Ask for letters of recommendation to include with your admissions and/or scholarship applications.

    Work on admission applications essays.

    Attend college fairs and college prep nights with your parents.

    Submit your FAFSA online as soon after October 1 as possible. Some student aid programs award funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Fill out and submit required financial aid forms requested by the college. Follow instructions carefully and make copies. 

    "Early decision" candidiates should complete college applications (deadline is often November 1)

    Take SAT and/or ACT.



    Continue completing your college applications.

    Determine which financial aid forms your choice colleges

    require-when in doubt contact the financial aid office.

    Search for additional sources of student financial aid.

    Take SAT.



    Complete school applications ideally by December 1.

    Take ACT.

    Stay organized and watch deadlines.



    Continue to work on scholarship applications.

    Stay organized and watch deadlines.

    Make copies or a checklist for all scholarships submitted. 


    February – March

    College acceptance and financial award letters begin to arrive.

    Watch the mail for your Student Aid Report (SAR). Carefully examine the results.

    Don’t panic if you’re selected for verification. Just provide the college with the documents they need.

    Stay on top of important financial aid deadlines.

    Respond quickly to college requests for additional documentation.

    Register for Advanced Placement (AP) tests, if necessary.



    Make a decision, most colleges request your reply by May 1, and send your tuition deposit.

    Mark your calendar with important deadlines (housing, meals, transportation, financial aid, etc.)



    Verify that your final transcripts have been mailed.

    Notify other colleges of your decision not to attend.

    Continue to search for scholarships.

    Look for a summer job and save money for school.

    Evaluate student loan lenders.



    Save some of your graduation money for school.

    Respond to requests from the college you will be attending. Keep copies of everything you send.

    Read and be familiar with your college catalog and semester class schedule.

    Talk with friends who are home from college.

    Make travel arrangements, if necessary.

    Send thank-you notes to those who helped you get into college (teachers, scholarship donors).


    July – August

    If you still need money to pay for college, consider a student loan.

    Register and attend a college orientation session.

    Confirm housing arrangements and meal plans.

    Finalize your college budget.

    Notify the financial aid office of the loans you will receive.

    Open a bank account near campus.

    Review your cell phone plan to limit roaming charges.

    Contact your roommate and coordinate what to pack.

    Pack for college.


Last Modified on September 3, 2017