Post Secondary Planning

College/Career Planning Timeline


- Build a flexible schedule which allows for study time, extracurricular activities and other interests. Use a planner to help you stay organized.

- Meet with your counselor to discuss a four-year schedule of classes that increases your eligibility to attend the college of your choice.

- Keep a spreadsheet of your accomplishments in preparation for all post-secondary options, which includes articles about yourself, awards you have earned and activities in which you have participated, in and out of the school environment.

- Invite your parents to a meeting with you and your counselor to discuss your interests, including post-secondary possibilities and career information.

- Look into summer jobs and the skills required to obtain one.

- Explore volunteer opportunities which will allow you to expand your experience and skills.

- Develop your awareness of personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, values etc. Meet with your School Counselor to discuss relevant inventories and websites.

- Check NCAA website at for information if planning to pursue collegiate athletics.


- Continue to progress through challenging courses developing academic abilities and exploring interests.

- Visit the School Counseling Department for information pertaining to college websites and other career/college materials, and scholarship opportunities.

- Meet with your counselor to re-evaluate your high school course selections making sure they meet college requirements.

- Take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) in October to prepare you for college entrance exams.

- Re-visit NCAA website for information if planning to pursue collegiate athletics.

- Continue to develop awareness of personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, values, etc. Meet with your School Counselor to discuss relevant inventories and websites.


Fall (August – December):

- Take the October PSAT, affording you additional practice in taking entrance exams and establishing your eligibility for scholarships.

- Meet with post-secondary reps, visit post-secondary institutions and attend local college/career fairs.

- Develop your list of post-secondary possibilities. Search websites for admissions information. Visit the SPHS School Counseling Department’s webpage for a listing of pertinent websites.

- Talk with admissions reps to determine if there are any institutional scholarships for which you qualify.

-Continue to research private scholarship opportunities. Discuss possibilities with your counselor and visit the "Scholarship Box" in the Counseling Office. Listen to morning announcements and visit the SPHS School Counseling Department webpage for an updated listing of available scholarships. Become familiar with the costs for each school and the financial aid process. Visit the School Counseling Department webpage for a listing of websites to assistance with your college search.

- Continue involvement in clubs, sports, volunteer work, etc.

Spring (January – June):

- Register for the SAT/ACT. Check with colleges for test preference.

- Narrow your choices for post-secondary schools. Discuss what your college budget is with your parents.

- Check in with your counselor, libraries and community organizations for names of scholarship sources, as well as the SPHS Counseling Department webpage. Obtain applications and keep records of anyone you speak with concerning grants or scholarships.

- If planning to participate in sports, e-mail the coaches at your target schools. Be sure to include a schedule of your athletic events for the upcoming year. Register with the NCAA Initial-Eligibility Clearinghouse Develop a resume of your sports accomplishments including a tape and relevant articles about your successes.

- Ask teachers, counselors, community members to write letters of recommendation in preparing to apply to post-secondary institutions.

- Participate in "Career Activity" presented at the high school in partnership with the South Plainfield Business Association.


- Visit schools. Continue to explore career options.

- Practice writing on-line applications and filling out rough drafts. Ask others to proof-read your work.

- Apply for scholarships whose deadlines are in the fall. You may be too busy once school begins.

- Enroll in a SAT prep course while you prepare for senior year.

- Be aware of colleges which have "Instant Decision Day".


Fall (August – December):

- Monitor your progress making sure you continue to meet high school graduation and post-secondary admissions requirements.

- Plan your year efficiently; make use of a planner/calendar to keep track of relevant dates.

- Register for the Advanced Placement Tests (AP) if applicable.

- Check with the School Counseling Department for information regarding visiting admissions reps. Meet with reps from schools of interest. Be aware of applications requirements for all possibilities of interest.

- Visit schools you are considering and schedule admissions interviews if required.

- Prepare your portfolio for submission, along with audition tapes, writing samples, and/or other evidence of your talent required for admission and/or scholarships.

- Submit admissions applications, adhering to on-line deadlines.

- Retake the SAT and/or ACT.

- Ask for letters of recommendation from two teachers of core subject areas at least one month prior to application deadline. Note: Some colleges require a "School Counselor Recommendation". In addition, you may ask your employer, extra-curricular advisor, or an administrator for letters. Keep in mind that many colleges request the recommendations be sent on-line.

- If seeking athletic scholarships, contact coaches from the schools you are considering and include a resume of your accomplishments.

- Apply for scholarships whose deadlines are in the fall.

- Contact schools to confirm that they are received your admissions applications materials.

Spring (January – June):

- Apply for financial aid. Complete and submit your "Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after January 1 as possible. Information is available online at DO NOT GO TO FAFSA.COM

- Apply for scholarships whose deadlines are in the fall.

- Await receipt of your "Student Aid Report" (SAR). Review the SAR for accuracy. Revise/correct if necessary and resubmit it to the processing center.

- Submit any additional documentation required by the school of your choice, including any additional financial aid information.

- Notify schools in writing as to whether you are accepting or declining admission. Adhere to deadlines.

- Review your financial aid award letter with your parents. Be sure that you understand the terms and conditions that accompany each kind of aid. For clarification, make an appointment to meet with an advisor from the institution providing aid. Sign and return your financial aid letter to the school. Notify the financial aid office of additional scholarships or grants you have accepted since your initial application.

- Familiarize yourself with due dates for, placement testing, tuition, fees, room and board and other expenses. Inquire as to how your financial aid will be disbursed and whether you can defer payments until the funds are available.

- Send final transcript to the college you have chosen; complete your "Senior Survey" provided by the high school Counseling Office prior to graduation. This form must be completed before your final transcript can be mailed to the institution you plan to attend in September. Final transcripts will be sent after final grades are posted.

- Follow up on pending scholarship applications.

- Work to help save for college.

Scholarship information is available in the School Counseling Office. Please listen to the morning announcements and schedule an appointment with your School Counselor regarding these opportunities. Also, remember to visit the high school website for additional information and updates.

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