College Prep Timeline

For some of you, college seems so far away, but for others, it is right around the corner. To help keep you on track for your future college opportunities, check out the timeline below. Work hard in school, always do your best. Challenge yourself. Get involved in your school and in your community. Take advantage of opportunities. If you do these things, the college process will be a natural next step, and you'll be well prepared to handle it successfully.

Freshman Year

  • Get to know your school counselor and/or career counselor.
  • Get involved in school activities: do what you enjoy! Step up and be a leader!
  • Get involved in community activities and service.
  • Attend Boise National College Fair in the evening session.
  • Earn the best grades you can so you will have more options.
  • Take challenging (but appropriate) courses.
  • Read, even when not assigned for school, on a regular basis.
  • If your family travels during the summer, and if you pass near a college campus, stop and take the tour.
  • Take Interest Inventory. Complete IDEAS Assessment on CIS (Career Information Systems) website.
  • Visit the Career Center.

Sophomore Year

  • Stay in touch with your school counselor.
  • Take the PSAT test when it is offered.
  • Remain involved in school and community activities. Be a leader!
  • Attend Boise National College Fair in the evening session.
  • Earn the best grades you can.
  • Continue to take challenging high school courses.
  • Take Interest Inventory. Complete IDEAS Assessment on CIS (Career Information Systems) website.
  • In the spring, look at the list of senior college acceptances: who do you know and where is he/she going?
  • Continue to take advantage of college visits with your family just to get a feel for the different colleges.
  • Visit the Career Center.

Junior Year

  • Maintain good study habits.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Look for leadership opportunities. Some scholarships require it.
  • Identify career interests.
  • Identify locations for community service activities.
  • Take Advanced Placement and/or Dual Credit courses available to get a jump start on college.
  • Attend Boise National College Fair in the fall.
  • ASVAB (military) test available at Marsing High School for all juniors in September
  • Take the PSAT in October.
  • Prepare for the ACT and/or SAT
  • Begin the college application process (identify colleges, seek scholarship information).
  • Visit the Career Center often.


  • Select senior year courses. Remember to continue challenging yourself academically.
  • Consider or plan to visit colleges over spring break.
  • Register for Spring ACT (optional)


  • Register for June ACT (optional)
  • Take SAT exam on Idaho statewide SAT day.
  • Look for and attend spring college fairs.
  • Begin thinking about summer plans.


  • Take appropriate AP exams.
  • Take ACT and/or SAT exams now or in June.


  • Work – save money for college.
  • Complete your community service hours.
  • Consider taking a summer course, such as an ACT prep course.
  • Visit colleges that interest you.

Senior Year

  • Maintain good study habits.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Look for leadership opportunities. Some scholarships require it.
  • Take Advanced Placement and/or Dual Credit courses and prepare for exams.
  • Complete the college application process.
  • Seek financial aid.
  • Take ACT and SAT exams or the Compass Test. (If you haven’t by now!)
  • Visit the Career Center often.


  • Check your course schedule with your guidance counselor. Make sure you are taking all required courses.
  • Develop college application plans with your counselor.
  • Identify 6–10 colleges that you would like to apply to; get applications.
  • Begin working on college applications; note deadlines.
  • Set up your college applications filing system; keep track of all correspondence with colleges.
  • Register for ACT and SAT exams.
  • Look for scheduled visits of college representatives on website and listen to announcements.
  • Plan campus visits and interviews, or take “virtual tours” and make appointments to have interviews locally.
  • Request letters of recommendation from your teachers.
  • Prepare your resume.
  • Submit requests for transcripts and counselor recommendations from your counselor at least three weeks before the application deadline.
  • Check scholarship lists on website and counselor's office.


  • Take ACT or SAT exams.
  • Continue preparing and finalizing college list.
  • Continue meeting college reps, visiting colleges (if possible) and interviewing.
  • If applying Early Decision, prepare application, request all necessary documents.
  • Attend Boise National College Fair and get information on colleges.
  • Begin researching financial aid and scholarships.
  • Begin drafting college essays. Review the essay with your counselor, English teacher and parents.
  • Apply for ROTC scholarships, if interested.
  • Register for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), if interested.


  • November 1st and November 15th are the deadline dates for some colleges’ Early Decision. Check your college regarding these dates.
  • Take ACT and/or SAT. You are running out of chances to take the tests!
  • Attend Financial Aid Night to discuss college financial aid packages.
  • Finalize college list.
  • Visit Career Center and counselor as needed.
  • Complete college applications and submit them to your counselor.
  • Keep copies of all forms and applications you complete.
  • Maintain grades and extracurricular activities.


  • Submit college applications with January deadlines by December.
  • Recommended time to forward applications to your school counselor to complete and forward to colleges and universities of choice.
  • Go online at Check FAFSA form, get pin, and gather information needed.


  • January 1st is the first day to file your completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Keep a copy for your records. Keep photocopies of all forms and applications you complete. (use estimated income figures.)
  • Check your course schedule. Meet with your guidance counselor to make any necessary changes.
  • Review first semester grades with counselor. Do not drop any classes.
  • Check your college for Regular Admissions deadline.
  • Attend FAFSA Workshop if needed.


  • February 15th is the priority enrollment deadline for students applying to public schools in Idaho. Must apply by this date for school scholarship consideration.
  • Complete community service requirements.
  • Start looking for summer work or internship opportunities.
  • Talk to your guidance counselor about any Advanced Placement exam registration and test dates.
  • Continue looking for scholarship money.
  • Respond to requests from colleges for any additional information needed.
  • Maintain high level of academic performance.


  • Begin receiving financial aid award letters from the colleges you have applied to, and make comparisons.
  • Schedule overnight visits at top-choice colleges.
  • Sign up for AP exams.
  • Check scholarship deadlines and get applications in.


  • Investigate payment options with each college.
  • Accept all or part of the financial aid offered; sign and return acceptance letter.
  • Many schools will require commitments to attend by May 1st; deposits will be required.
  • Don't commit if you have not yet received all of your award letters from the colleges to which you have applied. Call the college admissions offices and ask for extensions.
  • Don’t let your grades slip; you want to graduate in good standing.
  • Get final scholarship applications in.


  • Turn in your scholarship survey to Mrs. King
  • Go to Career Center
  • Make loan arrangements. Report any private scholarship to the financial aid office of the college you will be attending.
  • Notify the colleges that you will not be attending. This is very important.
  • Make sure to thank teachers and counselors who advised and assisted you.
  • Continue to work hard at your studies.
  • Inform your counselor of where you want your final transcript sent.
  • Graduate.