Your College Application Checklist

Class of 2018

May - July 2017

Decide now what new activity you will launch during the summer – an internship, job shadowing, or volunteering at a local charity. It’s not too soon to start preparing your college applications.  With ACT and SAT tests under your belt, decide whether re-taking a test will yield positive results. Also, register for some scholarship information by creating your profile now.

  • Ask your favorite teacher to write a letter of support.
  • Continue to visit college campuses and make your final list.
  • Check out these great websites: for scholarship info for a great list of questions to ask on campus tours for resources for scholarship info

August – October 2017
  • Organize your applications and deadlines. Many students create a separate document highlighting work, volunteer hours, sports, and achievements.
  • August 1 – with the exception of California state schools, most applications are now posted.
  • Prepare your supplemental essays.
  • Check your high school website to know the dates for college visits. Meet with your counselor to confirm you have everything you need.
  • November 1 is the Early Action/Early Decision application deadline for many schools.
  • Financial Aid and Scholarship apps are available.
  • EMU Students – check into the Presidential Scholarship Award competition. It’s worth it!

December 2017

  • Recommendation: Most applications should be filed before Holiday Break. January 1 is the Regular Decision deadline for many schools.
  • Holiday Break: A great opportunity for college campus visits.

January – February 2018             

  • Begin work on your FAFSA/Financial Aid application.
  • If your admission is deferred, don’t give up hope! You can reapply or transfer down the road. It takes commitment.

March – April 2018

  • Go to the local College Fair. Ask more questions.
  • Continue working on those scholarship essays. Many deadlines are as late as June.
  • Time to make a final commitment! Good Luck!

Notes for the 2018 CA Essay
The 2018 CA essay should be 250-650 words.
  • Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma- anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. 
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.