College Planning Checklist

Be sure to review this four-year checklist to ensure you know what’s ahead and what you need to do to get there. (And here’s a printable pdf version for your convenience.)

Class of 2017 College Checklist 

This month-by-month checklist includes specific dates and events:

Download (PDF, 88KB)

Four Year General Checklist  



  • Meet with parents to discuss college finances and any other help you need
  • Register for any additional testing and send scores to schools you are sure you will apply to
  • 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 brainstorming essays
  • Begin searching for scholarships


  • Request applications and other materials from schools that interest you
  • Attend college visits of schools you are interested in, at Oakland Tech or regionally
  • Create a separate email account for all college info—check it daily
  • Make a list of people to ask for recommendations
  • Make an appointment with your counselor
  • Make a list of colleges you will apply to and their deadlines
  • Give teachers recommendation forms


  • Online application opens for Cal State Universities on Oct. 1; remember to check each individual campus for deadlines
  • First draft of UC personal statement
  • Complete essays for early decision/early action
  • Complete any rolling admission, early action, or early decision applications


  • Online application opens for UCs on Nov. 1
  • Continue working on all applications/essays
  • Register for CSS profile (for financial aid at private schools)
  • Financial aid forms to parents (FAFSA and CSS); apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) PIN # (personal ID #), for student and parent
  • Send SAT or ACT test scores to all schools that need them
  • Complete UC application early (online is best) – do not wait until end of Nov., and keep a hard copy
  • UC and CSU campus application deadline is Nov. 30. (Get Return Receipt certificate if using USPS, and staple to your hard copy of application.)


  • Continue working on essays/applications
  • Mail/send applications as they are due; and keep hard copy of all; keep re-checking deadlines
  • Call colleges to make sure your file is complete
  • Complete all testing


  • Keep checking deadlines—most private college applications will be due sometime in January
  • FAFSA form (for your financial aid package) can be filed beginning Jan. 1 (submit it as soon as possible)
  • 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.


  • FAFSA deadline – March 2nd
  • Cal Grants deadline – March 2nd


  • Preview programs and visit colleges for an overnight
  • 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
  • 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


  • Fill out final transcript request form with Ms. Conocono in Room 120 to send your final transcripts to your college.


  • Visit College & Career Center to check resources
  • Attend college rep. visits you are interested in
  • Take challenging classes, when appropriate
  • Continue with community service during school year
  • Register with NCAA Clearinghouse by end of junior year if you want to play competitive sports in college (Division I or II)


  • Take the PSAT (sign up at Treasurer’s office)
  • Have your counselor evaluate your records for college preparation
  • Make sure you are meeting the “a–g” course requirements for UC/CSU
  • Attend the Oakland Unified College Fair at Oakland High School
  • Attend college fairs with parents
  • Continue attending college admission officer visits


  • Network with your peers, family, and friends for information on college choices
  • Start keeping a list of colleges, careers, majors that might interest you
  • Think about the learning environment you do best in
  • Visit local college(s) over Thanksgiving break (Mon–Wed)


  • Visit College & Career Center; pick 2–3 schools and review catalogs, brochures
  • Use the internet for virtual school tours
  • 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
  • Visit College Board’s college, major and career exploration tool (MyRoad)


  • 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 SAT or ACT
  • Keep your grades up


  • Visit colleges
  • Narrow down your 15 schools to 8–10 to focus on investigating further
  • 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
  • Ask your teachers to write recommendations for you.
  • Begin drafting “brag sheet” or resume to help with filling out college applications


  • Continue to collect information on your top colleges, majors, and career choices
  • Take summer classes
  • Volunteer or get work experience
  • Brainstorm ideas for writing college personal statement—draft statement
  • Discuss college finances with parents
  • Contact Oakland Tech alumni at various colleges for more information
  • 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
  • Start writing your essays with the goal of finalizing them before September of your senior year
  • Pay attention to interview dates and schedule them early so you don’t miss a deadline


  • Concentrate on academic preparation and continue to develop basic skills and extracurricular interests
  • Take challenging classes, when appropriate
  • Sign up for extracurricular activities
  • Participate in community service


  • Take the PSAT (FREE for all OT 10th graders)
  • Stay on top of your academics
  • Be a leader in appropriate situations
  • November–January
  • Receive results from PSAT in December/January
  • Consult with counselor on PSAT
  • 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


  • Attend College Fairs
  • Sign up to take summer classes at a nearby college, if appropriate.  See your counselor to learn more about concurrent enrollment.
  • Volunteer or work over summer, take classes or enrichment programs
  • Attend Freshmen Orientation
  • Visit all the resources on campus—Library, Counseling Office, College & Career Center, etc.
  • Establish strong study habits and time management techniques
  • Become involved in extracurricular activities; join sports and clubs
  • Explore and participate in community service
  • Strengthen your vocabulary by increasing your reading
  • Find a tutor or a friend, if you need help
  • Meet your counselor and start thinking about classes you might want to take while at Oakland Tech


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