A graduation college checklist for high school students

A graduation college checklist for high school students

Preparing for your high school to college transition is a fascinating journey full of memorable times and big responsibilities. Between senior activities and making sure you’ve met all of your graduation requirements, the last few months of your high school career tends to be stressful. Having a graduation checklist at your disposal can help reduce the stress that comes with preparing for life after high school.

Below is a timeline that can help you identify what needs to get done and when. Keep in mind that every student’s experience is different, but you can still use this as a guide!

What you should be doing from August – September

  • Search for colleges – Learn more about each school by going to college fairs and going to campus tours 
  • Sign up for AP classes for college credit
  • Retake admissions exams (SAT or ACT), if you didn’t get a chance to take these exams in your Junior year or would like to earn a higher grade 
  • Reach out to your student counselor – For college application guidance, to find out if you are on track for graduation, waive any admission exam fee, and much more
  • Make a list of suitable schools – Based on the quality of education, campus life, admission requirements, cost, location, etc. 
  • Buy a planner or use an electronic calendar to keep track of important deadlines
  • Ask teachers, counselors, and employers for letters of recommendation

What you should take care of in October 

  • Apply for financial aid by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) on Oct. 1st
  • Narrow down on schools of your choice from the previous list
  • Ask your counselor for help with waiving the college application fee
  • Work on your college essay
  • Visit your desired schools

From November – January these are the things you should check off your list

  • Apply for college. Many famous and selective colleges will have application deadlines as early as Jan. 1st. Others have periods later in January and February
  • Make sure examination agencies send over your admission test scores to your desired schools 
  • Submit letters of recommendation 
  • Make sure your high schools send your official transcript to your desired colleges and universities

Crunch time: Here’s what to get done from February – May 

  • College acceptance letters, along with financial aid offers, should be arriving soon. Review each offer with your parents and student counselor 
  • May 1 Deposits due – If you need help paying the deposit, ask your college if they can waive the fee
  • Attend freshman orientation to learn more about the college you selected 
  • Keep your grades up – Student counselors need to submit an official senior year academic transcript

Graduation is getting closer! Just a few more things to get take care of in June – August 

  • Some students graduate in June. If that is the case, congrats!
  • Search for Summer jobs; college can be costly
  • Hangout with family and friends 
  • Figure out what school supplies you’ll need for the Fall semester 
  • Go college shopping for dorm essentials, school supplies, snacks, etc.

Now you’re in the home stretch! Leading up to graduation you should also be applying for scholarships so you can minimize your student loan debt. 

Searching for scholarships is not under the monthly checklist as scholarship opportunities are available year-round. Scholarships websites such as Fastweb and Unigo provide thousands of available scholarships.


Getting ready for college is a huge life change. But, making sure you’re prepared with a list like the one created above can make the process move along much more smoothly. 

Have questions about preparing for college or financial aid? The Frank Team is here for you! You can reach us via email at support@withfrank.org or text us at (347) 690-7886.

Good luck!