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12th Grade Plan

12th Grade Plan

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SUMMER - Prior To Your Senior Year

Take the SAT II subject tests if your potential colleges require them and you have finished the curriculum which would help you score well.

Narrow your list of colleges to 4-8. Make sure these are a right match for you. Just because a relative attended an Ivy League school, doesn’t mean it is a good fit for you.

Visit the three schools at the top of your list (be sure to include SUNY). Schedule your visit in conjunction with a family vacation or when colleges are hosting events.

Decide whether you’ll apply as an Early Decision or Early Action candidate and begin preparing your application for admission. These deadlines are typically in early to mid-November of your senior year.

Compose rough drafts of essays and ask your family, friends, and teachers to review your essays for grammar, punctuation, readability, and content.

Contact coaches, if applicable, and include your high school sports schedule and game tapes. Be sure to tell them why you are interested in their program and school. Preview application questions now and begin to draft your answers. Worksheets for the SUNY application can be found at

Create an arts portfolio, if applicable, to showcase your performing, visual or creative arts work. Your portfolio may inlude essays, photographs, illustrations, slides or other forms of artwork. A portfolio should represent your best creative work from class projects or assignments and be consistent with portfolio instructions given by an individual campus program.


Have a strong senior year. Take at least four academic courses and earn good grades. Colleges may ask to review your mid-year grades.

Review your high school transcript to be sure it is accurate.

Plan ahead! This is a busy time for your school counseling office. Provide your counselor with a list of schools to which you intend to apply and give him/her a list of dates for letters, forms, etc.

Discuss essay topics with your teachers and/or counselor. If you haven’t done so already, write a first draft of your college essay. Create a résumé which includes your high school graduation date, grade point average, class rank, standardized test scores, special courses taken, academic honors and awards, activities (including athletics, leadership, community service, and work), interests and major goals. Keep your résumé brief – one to two pages maximum.

Apply to SUNY at The application is available August 1.

Apply for federal financial aid. Obtain your FSA ID, then complete the FAFSA at Use your tax information from the previous year. The application is available October 1.

Keep your counselor updated about where you’ve applied for admission and let him/her know how you’ve applied (SUNY Application, Common Application, etc.).

Organize! Create a folder for each college to which you are applying and make special note of deadlines. Also create separate folders for tests you’ve taken or plan to take, financial aid forms and fee waivers.

Identify teachers and counselors from whom you will ask for letters of recommendation. Give serious consideration to teachers that can speak to the rigor of your curriculum and your potential for success. Attend upcoming college fairs - most will occur in September, October and November.

Follow-up with your counselor and/or teachers to ensure that your letters of recommendation have been sent.

Contact colleges regarding support services if you have a learning or physical disability.

Continue to investigate scholarship opportunities. A good resource is FastWeb at

Plan on auditioning for a music program or scholarship? Each SUNY campus has its own process for scheduling auditions. In some cases, the department will contact you directly to schedule an audition after receiving your application. Other programs ask that you schedule your audition as soon as possible whether you have submitted your application or not. Check with each campus about how and where to schedule an audition.

Plan on playing a sport? Be sure to file the proper paperwork with the NCAA Clearinghouse. See your coach, athletic director or counselor, or go to

Practice your college interview skills by participating in a mock interview. Ask your counselor for information or to organize an interview.


Stay focused and keep studying.

Ask your counselor to send mid-year grades to colleges to which you’ve applied, if required.

Register for May AP exams.


Look for decision letters.

Make photocopies of all decision letters and scholarship letters/awards you’ve received and give them to your counselor. These copies will help your counselor know from whom you’ve heard and will enable him/her to compile yearly school profile statistics.

Maintain good senior year grades. Failure to do so may result in your acceptance offer(s) being rescinded.

Review financial aid and scholarship offers you’ve received. If you have questions, call offices directly. Make your college decision by May 1. Notify the colleges you won’t be attending so other students who were placed on waiting lists can be admitted.

Send your tuition deposit (if required).

Notify your guidance counselor of your college decision and request that a final transcript to be sent to that college.

Notify your counselor and those who’ve awarded you a scholarship (for scholarship recipients) about where you’ll attend as most will send a scholarship check directly to the college you plan to attend.

Ask your counselor to send your final transcript to the NCAA Clearinghouse (for athletes).

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