College Application Planning Schedule
Work hard for your subjects
Try to figure what you like doing best. If you don’t know already, explore different interests, and identify possible areas that you might be passionate about.
Develop extracurricular activities (see our Extracurricular Activities page) that you find interesting, and learn more to develop a passion for them. No extracurricular activity is superior to another, so do what you actually find engaging and can possibly love.
Increase your aptitude in subjects that you are interested in by learning more about them, through not only reading beyond assigned readings, but also by participating in competitions, examinations, and conferences that can reflect that interest.
Keep working hard for your subjects, and keep further delving into your interests and passions.
Start finding out more about the college application process, and about different colleges and different nations that you would like to be educated in.
Take the PSAT (not required, but can give you a good introduction on SAT.
August – September:
Register for SAT I for either October of November.
Start preparing for SAT I. By the end of the preparation period, you should have ideally solved at least 15 papers, reviewed all the key vocabulary words, grammatical rules and mathematical concepts, and have a valid passport.
Attend college fairs and visits by different universities at your school. If your school/college does not hold such career fairs, you should find out about schools that hold them (e.g. Dhirubhai Ambani International School and Cathedral), send the college counselors an email requesting the information on the dates that universities would be attending for the term, and gather as much information about the universities through these fairs.
Continue with activities, and start exploring even more activities that you find interesting.
Study hard to get good grades! Your grades determine the kind of colleges that you will apply to, and more importantly, reflect your ambition and determination to colleges.
Begin your search for schools. Ask yourself questions: Do you want to live in a city, town, or rural village? How big do you want most of your classes to be? What kind of people do you find interesting? Start talking to advisors and students about life in different colleges. Remember once again, don’t run behind brand names, but instead, look for colleges where you would be happy and have the maximum potential to grow.
Discuss financial costs and colleges with parents. However, don’t let your parents’ choice influence you. Follow your dreams, and ensure that you pick the right range of colleges, where you would benefit most from the opportunities available.
Concentrate on your academics, and try to improve your academic level and grades. Take challenging courses or examinations that reflect your sincerity.
Take SAT I again, if necessary.
Keep the ball rolling! Ensure that your academic standard is not only maintained, but also raised. Moreover, probe deeper into your interests, and learn more about what you love.
Have lunch with your counselors, and favorite professors, and talk to them about your interests, as well as seek their advice on what colleges they believe would fit you best.
Register for Spring SAT I, and SAT IIs.
Keep your grades up!
Keep learning about different universities and opportunities.
Start thinking of how you want to spend your summer. You don’t necessarily need an internship in a big bank. Instead, seek opportunities where you can learn more, and develop your knowledge and interests. This could be in a small startup, or in a research lab, or just merely by travel and exploration. Try to find something where you could draw upon a great experience from, and tell a great story.
Continue your research into different schools, and characteristics that you want.
Request information from the colleges on their website. This depicts early interests, and can play a key role in differentiating candidates. Interests in the respective universities.
Construct your resume.
Continue college search,.
Take SAT I again, if necessary. Else, take SAT II in 2 subjects (most students take Mathematics and Chemistry, since the material is covered in most Indian colleges at a relatively early stage)
Ask teachers who are leaving for letters of recommendation. Write a thank you letter for anyone who has written this letter for you.
Make a summer reading list, especially for UK universities, where you can use your reading to draw upon you interest in a particular field.
Take SAT II either in 1 or 2 subjects.
Continue your summer plans!
July – August:
If possible, visit colleges. Try to soak in the atmosphere. Is it competitive and cutthroat, or is it laid back? Is it more pre-professional, or more hippie-based? Understand the character of the college, and determine where you want to go.
Request information from colleges through their websites, if you haven’t done so already.
Start brainstorming on ideas for your college essays. Jot down a couple of ideas. Write a few drafts, and think of what experiences in your life have really molded your character or your interests.
Start finalizing a list of colleges. After a lot of research and conversations with students, by the end of the summer, you should have a list of 5 – 15 colleges that you are interested in applying to.
Meet with your high school counselor to not only ensure that you have all the requirements fulfilled to graduate, but also discuss and review your plan of action over the next few months. You are most definitely not bound to the colleges your high school counselor suggests, but you must attempt to learn more about all opinions to make an informed decision.
Start downloading applications. Never underestimate the number of essays you have to write! So start thinking about possible topics or ideas you could explore in order to illuminate on your best attributes.
Talk to more people. Research every college more. By the end of the month, you should have your list narrowed down to 10 colleges.
Develop your own timeline of dates that you want to accomplish tasks by (e.g. write first draft of essay by…., ask teacher for recommendation by… )
Collect all financial documents NOW (In India, your CA will have to figure out the several financial documents required for college applications, especially if you are applying for financial aid. It is always better to be early and get your documents ready, instead of running into last-minute stress!)
Register for October SAT II. You should have started preparing for it by now.
By now, you should have also asked 2 teachers to write you letters of recommendations. Take them out for lunch, and let them get to know you beyond the classroom. Tell them stories of the most interesting experiences you have had. Illustrate to them what subjects / fields of knowledge you are most passionate about. Also, let them know by when you want your letter ready.
Review your college choice and prepare a final list.
Continue your work on the essays. Ask your peers, counselor, parents and siblings to read the essays, and give their suggestions on it. Let them however not alter by any means the character of the essay. (Read out section on the Essays for more information)
Complete your college essays. Proofread it and polish it several times. Tie the loose ends, and ensure that your character comes out the most while reading the essay.
Take the SAT II
Register for November SAT I or SAT II if necessary.
Finalize your college choices and let your counselor know by October 15th.
Finish Early Decision and Early Action applications no later than October 20th.
If you are applying to the UK, submit your UCAS forms.
Take SAT I or II if necessary.
Continue working on the essays for the rest of the colleges.
Ensure that you maintain a high grade!
Finish your application! You should attempt to submit all your applications no later than 20th December.
Email all packages and forms that must be sent to colleges.
Keep up with your activities, academics, and social life! Enjoy the last few months of life before college.
If necessary, take the SAT I or II (highly discouraged though!)
Check the status of the UK universities’ applications.
Keep your effort up, and don’t slack off!
Congratulations on all your offers! Don’t be dismayed by being rejected – rejections speak absolutely nothing about you or your abilities. Note the deadlines of when to respond. Talk to a lot of current college students to gauge the academics, student life and atmosphere at each college, and decide where you want to spend the next 3 / 4 years of your life.
Write thank you letters to all your recommenders. The time and effort they have out in to ensure you get an excellent education is most definitely commendable.
Take / prepare for your final exams.
Send 1 deposit to the chosen school.
Let your high school counselors and teachers know of your final decision.
Take / prepare for your final exams.
Request your final transcript to be sent to your college.
Finalize your financial aid package.
Enjoy your summer with your friends, and cherish the beauty and value of home!