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SENIORS

Let Midtown’s College and Career Center (CCC) help you with your post-high school plans. We offer one-on-one help, workshops, visits from college reps, and other resources.

Use this college checklist to get started. Stop by the CCC if you need help, in room A230.

Sign up to receive Remind 101 text notices from the CCC about college visits, test deadlines, workshops, and more. Seniors sign up by texting this number: 81010, in the message line: @midtown23

12th Grade Checklist

FALL

Remind 101  

  • Sign up to receive reminders from the CCC. Text the number 81010, and in the message, type @midtown23

Academics

  • Continue to work hard. Grades remain important, as does the rigor of your classes. The college you decide to attend will want to see your final transcript.

✔ Visit the CCC

  • Meet your advisers, Ms. Collier and Ms. Gaggar, attend workshops and college visits, get essay help, research colleges, find helpful books, etc.

✔ SAT and ACT

  • August: If you still need to take the SAT or ACT, register now, and get this out of the way as early as you can. Do some test prep beforehand—there are free and paid options.

  • If any of your schools require SAT Subject Tests, take them in October.

✔ Meet with Your Counselor

  • Every Senior is required to meet with their assigned counselor. The counselor you meet with will be based on the first letter of your last name. 

  • Sign up for a meeting 

✔ Create a Common App Account

  • August: Create an account with Common App. Fill in your personal and family info and list the schools you might apply to in your dashboard. You can keep adding or deleting schools as you refine your list. 

✔ College Visits

  • More than 150 colleges visit the CCC every year. Find out who’s coming through Remind 101 texts, the Knightly News, the board outside CCC, or on the website event calendar.

  • If any schools on your list are visiting, come meet the rep, who is likely the person who will first read your application. But don’t limit yourself to schools on your list—you may learn about a school you hadn’t considered that turns out to be a great fit for you.

  • Continue to visit colleges on your list if you can. If you don’t have a chance to see them all before you apply, you can still visit in the spring if you’re admitted.

✔ Resume

  • Early September: If you don’t have a resume, create one now. You will need it when you ask for letters of recommendation, and it will also help you when you’re filling out the Common App or other applications.

✔ Create a Parchment Account

  • Mid-September: Midtown uses Parchment to send transcripts electronically. Set up your account now on the Parchment website. Then you’ll be ready to quickly request that your transcript be sent to the schools you apply to.

✔ Write Your Common App Essay and Supplemental Essays

  • August-October: The Common App requires you to write an essay. If you don’t know how to get started or if you’d like help developing, editing, or proofing your essay, the CCC can help. Find essay prompts and tips online or e-mail the CCC. Help is also available from your teachers and your College Advisers.

  • Some schools require additional supplemental essays. Check the requirements carefully. The more selective the school, the more likely you will have to write extra essays. Give yourself plenty of time (which is easier to plan if you know how many you’ll have to do).

  • Even if you don’t think you need much help, please ask someone (teacher, parent, friend, CCC volunteer, College Adviser, etc.) to proof all your essays before you send them.

✔ Letters of Recommendation

  • Mid September: Many schools require one counselor and one or two teacher recommendations. Contact two junior-year teachers of core subjects (English, science, math, social studies) and ask if they’d be willing to write a letter of recommendation. If they agree, provide your resume and let them know when your first application is due. If you asked teachers last spring to write a recommendation, remind them politely now (don’t expect them to have written it over the summer) by email or in person, and provide another copy of your resume. 

  • Ask your counselor for a letter of recommendation as well. Colleges understand that most high school counselors serve hundreds of students, so they don’t expect them to know you personally. The counselor will speak to your academic record in the context of the school. Provide your resume to the counselor when you ask. Be sure to thank teachers and counselors!

✔Clean Up Your Online Image

  • Create professional-sounding email accounts (sue.smith@gmail.com, for example, not sexy.kitty@gmail.com). Do you have potentially embarrassing photos or angry rants on social media? Delete them now.

✔Complete the FAFSA

  • The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) becomes available October 1. Parents should complete this as soon as possible at www.fafsa.ed.gov. You need to have this on file whether you think you qualify for aid or not!

  • Many schools require this for any scholarship applications. For Georgia schools, you’ll need it for HOPE. 

✔Refine Your College List

  • If you have not yet completed (or begun) your college list, compile a list of potential schools by visiting one of the many college search engines out there, such as Collegexpress, Cappex, College Board, College Navigator, College Confidential, or Unigo. GAFutures is great for in-state searches. Type in what you’re looking for, and these sites generate a list of potential matches.

  • If you have a long list, narrow it down. Delete any schools you wouldn’t really be happy to attend. Shoot for 5 to 9 schools to apply to.

  • Include some reach, probable, and safety schools, based on GPA and test scores as well as cost.

  • Don’t rule out schools because of cost, though; many schools offer merit-based and need-based financial aid.

✔Scholarships

  • Most financial aid will come from the school you attend. Check to see if you’re automatically considered for scholarships when you apply or if a separate application is required.

  • Consider applying to Honors programs at your schools.

  • You might want to look at private scholarships (those not from the college), but realize that only about 5% of scholarship money comes from sources outside the college.

 

✔Apply to College!

  • October-January: All the pieces are in place. It’s time to apply. Complete the application online (on Common App, Coalition App, school’s website, etc.), attach the essay or essays, choose your recommenders (they will have uploaded their recommendations to your Common App account), take a deep breath, and hit “submit.”

  • Note that each school on the Common App has a separate application fee, although waivers are available—see your counselor. 

 

✔Send Test Scores and Transcript

  • Make sure your ACT or SAT scores are sent to each school you apply to (if you didn’t designate a school when you took the test, log into your ACT or SAT account to request scores be sent).

  • Send your transcript to each school through Parchment.

 

✔Pay Close Attention to Application Deadlines

  • Early Action (EA) and Early Decision (ED) deadlines come as early as mid-October. Remember: EA is not binding, but if you apply to a school ED, you are obligated to attend if admitted.

  • Regular admission deadlines are usually around the first of the year.

 

✔Follow up

  • It’s up to you to make sure colleges receive all your information. Check to make sure!

SPRING

 

✔Hear from Colleges

  • EA or ED applications usually receive a response before or just after winter break. If you’re accepted ED, you must withdraw other applications.

  • You’ll continue to hear about Regular Decision applications throughout the spring.

  • Celebrate every acceptance!

 

✔Financial Aid

  • With each letter of acceptance, you’ll likely receive a financial aid package. Each school may offer you a combination of scholarships or grants (which don’t have to be paid back), loans (which do), and possibly work-study. Call the college’s financial aid office with any questions.

  • Ask if there are other scholarships you can apply for or if there’s any more aid available; schools can sometime find more funds, especially if your financial situation has changed. Compare the bottom line on the financial aid packages you receive—an expensive school that offers a large scholarship may still cost more than a less expensive school that offers a smaller financial aid package.

  • You may have to fill out the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA; some private schools require this more in-depth picture of your financial situation. 

 

✔HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships

  • If staying in-state, verify whether you are eligible for a HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship. Make sure Midtown has your social security number, which must be on file before the end of the school year for you to receive HOPE or Zell.

 

✔Pell Grants and Achieve Atlanta Scholarships

  • These are need-based grants. Complete the FAFSA, and if you’re eligible you can receive up to $6,895 per year for a Pell Grant (a federal program), and $5,000 per year for an Achieve Atlanta Scholarship (for APS students). 

 

✔Private Scholarships

  • If there is a shortfall between the financial aid a school offers and what you can afford to pay, look for additional scholarships. There are thousands available. Many require an essay and must be renewed each year.

  • There are many search engines, such as Fastweb, College Board, and others, to help you find them. Never pay to do an online search. 

 

✔Make Final Visits

  • If you didn’t get to visit all your colleges earlier or if you want to visit your top picks again, plan a spring break trip to the colleges where you’ve been admitted.

 

✔Decide!

  • May 1: Congratulations! You’ve received your decisions and compared financial aid packages. It’s time to make your final decision and pay a deposit to your chosen college.

  • Don’t forget to visit Parchment and send your final transcript.