College Counseling Timeline

Our goal at Forest Ridge is to guide each student through the college application process with timely and appropriate resources. This timeline is a general guide for families to better understand how college preparation fits into the high school years.

9th Grade: Explore

When traveling with family, make college visiting a part of the trip plans. Students will begin to tease out the important factors, such as size, location and style as they venture onto campuses.
As students begin to think about SAT and ACT test prep next year, we recommend that the best preparation is doing well in their freshman-year classes. Read often to build vocabulary, comprehension and writing skills. In addition:

  • Explore extracurricular activities that are appealing
  • Keep a log of all activities, service experiences and any awards received
  • Attend Forest Ridge College 101 workshop series either freshman or sophomore year

10th Grade: Plan

Sophomore year is the first year for taking the PSAT and plan for the upcoming summer. Students should ask themselves if they want to take classes over the summer, serve on a Sacred Heart Network Summer Service Project or find a job or internship. Don’t wait until late in the year to begin; many deadlines are in March and April. In addition:

  • Continue with extracurricular activities, possibly increasing the presence and responsibility in the one(s) that are most enjoyed and which spark joy. Look for opportunities for leadership.
  • Continue to keep a log of all activities, awards and experiences
  • Attend Forest Ridge College 101 workshop series
  • Students meet with their advisor in the spring to determine plans for junior year classes
  • If appropriate, register for any SAT Subject Test for which the student may be well-prepared. The test should take place at the end of the year, in either May or June, so there will be enough time to prepare.
  • Attend area college fairs

11th Grade: Test

Junior year is the time for students to make their presence known with college admission representatives. Learn about various colleges and meet with the college admission representatives who may be reading your application the following year. Plan and prepare for upcoming standardized tests.

In addition:

  • Take the PSAT in the fall. It will be automatically scheduled for Forest Ridge students on the middle Wednesday of October. This is the only test that qualifies students for National Merit Scholarship.
  • Attend all junior college counseling group meetings from December to May
  • Attend the Forest Ridge College 101 workshop series (if you did not attend sophomore year)
  • Students meet with the college counselor in January to discuss college preferences and important test dates
  • Take the SAT/ACT in the spring
  • Students meet with their advisor to finalize coursework for senior year
  • Keep the grades up— junior year is the first impression (last full year of grades) made on your transcript
  • Attend area college fairs

12th Grade: Apply

Senior year is a time of both tremendous effort and excitement. Below, are the activities that will keep students on track.

Pre-application activities:

  • Narrow the list of colleges to between six and eight schools
  • Plan to visit as many of these colleges as possible during school breaks, especially if the student is considering early decision
  • Sign-up to be a College Representative Ambassador and host a college admission representative during their fall visit to Forest Ridge
  • Create a master list or calendar that includes:
    • Standardized tests with fees, dates, and registration deadlines
    • College application due dates
    • Required financial aid application forms and their deadlines (aid applications may be due before college applications)
    • Forest Ridge’s application processing deadlines
  • Confirm teacher recommendations with faculty from whom you asked for a letter last year

Application activities:

  • Prepare early decision/early action or rolling admission applications in September and October
  • Attend the college application workshops with college counselor Nikki Danos
  • Work on college essays and supplements
  • Have ACT or SAT scores sent to the application colleges
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The FAFSA® form is a required part of most college financial aid processes. October 1 is the first day a student can file the FAFSA®.
  • Complete the CSS Profile™. This online application is used by certain colleges and scholarship programs to determine eligibility for institutional aid.

Acceptance activities:

  • Review all financial aid awards and seek guidance from our college counselor to understanding award letters
  • Select one college where the student will send their deposit by May 1, the National Candidate Reply Date
  • Celebrate!