College Planning Checklist for 12th Grade

hs senior college planning checklist

College Planning Checklist for 12th Grade

Published August 1, 2019 | Last Updated July 17th, 2023 at 11:38 am

hs senior college planning checklist

Academic and Extra Curriculum Suggestions for 12th Graders

  • First thing to do senior year—ask teachers for recommendations. Many students may ask the same teacher and the earlier you approach him/her, the better chance you have of them agreeing to write a recommendation and having the time to do it.
  • Discuss with your student whether they would like to apply Early Decision. Remember, if your student is accepted, Early Decision is a binding commitment that he/she cannot back out of (except under extenuating circumstances related to financial aid).
  • Create a list of all application due dates (Early Decision, Early Action, Early Decision II, Regular Decision, Rolling). Even if you are applying Early Decision, take advantage of any school on your list that accepts Early Action or Rolling decisions. Have your student submit their application Early Action and/or Rolling at as many schools that have it on his/her list.
  • Don’t slough off first semester grades. Senior fall is stressful. Students still need to keep up grades for the first semester, and work on applications and essays.
  • Attend college visits at your high school or night/weekend events held in other locations. Contact the schools on your student’s list to find out when admissions events may be held in your area. At each event, make sure you sign in so the college knows you attended.
  • Check for schools that will be in line with your student’s profile. Still unsure which colleges to apply to that will offer the most merit scholarships? Consider using our R2C Insights tool, to identify colleges, based on your student’s academic profile and your financial situation, where your student has a greater likelihood of getting needs-based or merit-based scholarships.
  • Create a list of questions for interviewers and have practice interviews with your family and friends. Some schools do require in-person interviews. This is a good opportunity for your student to really shine.
  • Confirm all schools your student applies to have received transcripts, test scores, recommendations, and financial aid forms.
  • In spring, make sure your student sends thank you notes to all teachers who wrote recommendations, and anyone else who has helped him/her through the process.

College Financing Suggestions

  • Review all suggestions from the 9th11th grade list. They still apply.
  • Learn from others what you should know about college costslike “your EFC will likely be the minimum you will be expected to pay,” and that “college scholarships sometimes have different (earlier) deadlines than application deadlines,” and much more.
  • Know which financial aid forms and calculations each school uses on your student’s college list. The financial aid forms are the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. Some schools use one of both of these form. Know that ahead of time before applying.
  • Continue your scholarship search. Local scholarships usually provide the best source of money for students. Learn these scholarship tips from a mom who knows—she helped her sons secure over $100k in scholarships to help pay for college.
  • Fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile forms by the due dates. If you miss the date, you miss out on financial aid. As of 2023, FAFSA is available in December. The earlier you fill it out, the higher your probability of getting money, if you’re eligible. Review our list of frequently asked questions for the FAFSA and CSS Profile.
  • Understand and review your SAR (student aid report). Don’t be afraid to appeal, if necessary.


To help find merit scholarships use R2C Insights and narrow down schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend. 

You Might Also Like:

How to Find Scholarships 

True Stories of Private Scholarship Winners and How They Did It

College Interview Questions You Can Expect




In this article:

Upcoming Events

Similar Articles for You

Dream School Too Expensive? Consider Other Options — Or It Will Cost You


Dream School Too Expensive? Consider Other Options — Or It Will Cost You

A recent post in the Paying for College 101 Facebook Group mentioned a student who was admitted to her dream...

Dear Roadie, My Daughter Wants Me to Spend a Small Fortune Decorating Her Dorm Room. How Much Is Too Much?


Dear Roadie, My Daughter Wants Me to Spend a Small Fortune Decorating Her Dorm Room. How Much Is Too Much?

Dear Roadie, My daughter tells me that all her friends are putting a lot of effort and money into decorating...

6 Types of Insurance for College Students and How to Save on Them

College Life

6 Types of Insurance for College Students and How to Save on Them

Students have multiple insurance options when they head off college. Most have health insurance, but many families may not be...

Tools & Services Recommended for You

There may come a time when you realize you can’t do it all alone. Use any of the many tools in our toolbox to assist you on the road to college.

Become a Member

At Road2College you’ll find everything you need to make the admissions and paying for college process less stressful and more transparent.


Explore R2C Insights™ — your source for finding affordable colleges and merit scholarships.


Get coaching on admissions and college financing.


Join Road2College where parents and experts work together to inform and inspire college-bound families.