College Application Process


  • Get to know your School Counselor.
  • Take the Explore test in the fall.
  • Register on SchooLinks with your counselor. Use SchooLinks to check college admissions requirements. Plan a college preparatory course schedule for all four years of high school.
  • Plan ahead for courses that require prerequisites.
  • Recognize that class rank and GPA are calculated beginning your freshman year. These are based on final grades in all courses attempted.
  • Participate in extracurricular and community activities. Colleges are looking for students who have achieved in areas beyond academics.
  • Take the PSAT exam (pre-SAT) in the spring.
  • Enroll in 1st period courses.
  • Enroll in Summer School or Summer Academy.



  • Take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) for practice.
  • Take the hardest courses in areas where you excel. Investigate honors and Advanced Placement courses.
  • Visit your school counselor.
  • Investigate college course requirements.
  • Plan an interesting summer, possibly participating in a challenging summer enrichment program or a community activity. Check out college-based experience programs here.
  • Enroll in 1st period courses.
  • Enroll in Summer School or Summer Academy.


  • Continue taking courses that will sharpen your skills for college and enhance admission prospects.
  • Visit your Counselor and post-secondary Counselor.
  • Attend College Night in October.
  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October. National Merit Semi-Finalists are selected from students who take this test junior year.
  • Ask your parents to check on scholarship programs that may be offered through their employers.
  • Meet with your counselor.
  • Research colleges on SchooLinks.
  • Sign up to talk with college representatives who visit H-F.
  • Identify specific entrance requirements.
  • Write or call colleges to request information.
  • Enroll in test prep workshops &/or utilize Khan Academy.
  • Take the SAT/ACT in April & June.
  • Spring and summer are the times to visit college admissions offices. Call ahead for an appointment. Ask about financial aid & scholarships.
  • Consider attending a summer program on a college campus.
  • Enroll in 1st period courses.
  • Enroll in Summer School or Summer Academy.


  • Enroll in 1st period courses.
  • Using SchooLinks, continue investigating various post secondary school options in the fall. Become familiar with college deadlines. Request applications, catalogs, and financial aid information.
  • Retake the ACT/SAT Test if necessary.
  • Take SAT Subject Tests if required.
  • See your counselor and post-secondary counselor.
  • Try to arrange college visits on teacher institute days or holidays.
  • Complete the Federal Financial Aid Student Application (FAFSA) beginning October 1. Try to have completed as close to Oct. 1 as possible.
  • Attend College Night in October. Talk with college representatives.
  • Narrow your choices of colleges and try to categorize them: 1) a “reach” school; 2) a school for which you are reasonably confident about meeting admission standards; and 3) a school for which you may exceed the admissions standards.
  • Pay close attention to application deadlines.
  • Send test scores directly from testing agencies to colleges to which you are applying.
  • Send mid-year grades if requested.
  • If you are accepted at more than one school, make the final decision on the college you will attend, and send your acceptance by May 1.
  • Notify the other schools that you will be going elsewhere.
  • Request that your final transcript is sent to the college of your choice.

What is the Common App?

The Common Application (informally known as the Common App) is an undergraduate college admission application that applicants may use to apply to any of the nearly 900 member colleges and universities in 49 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, China, Japan and many European countries.[1] Member colleges and universities that accept the Common App are made up of more than 100 public universities, 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and more than 250 institutions that do not require an application fee. Click here to learn more about the Common App...


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