Get To College Checklists

#406students #406parents

9th and 10th grades

  • Get familiar with the college prep curriculum if you plan to attend a four-year program in the Montana University System. Outline your plan with your counselor.
  • Organize your assignments and activities using a student planner or a system that works for you.
  • Get involved in extra-curricular activities.
  • Find out about college prep courses. See which Advanced Placement, Running Start, Tech Prep or International Baccalaureate courses are offered at your school. If they aren’t offered at your school, talk to your counselor about your options.
  • Take ACT’s PLAN as practice for the ACT (sophomore year)
  • Take PSAT 10 as practice for the PSAT test your junior year. (PSAT scores count for National Merit Scholar consideration in your junior year.)
  • Research potential careers you might want to pursue, and postsecondary institutions where you can gain the required skills.
  • Talk to your parents about your plans for after high school.
  • Save for postsecondary education.

11th Grade

  • Enroll in college prep courses. (Advanced Placement, Running Start, Tech Prep or International Baccalaureate). If they aren’t offered at your school, talk to your counselor about your options.
  • Register for the PSAT in the fall. (Scores count for National Merit Scholar consideration.)
  • Take the SAT or ACT in the spring.
  • Research careers of interest to you, and explore postsecondary institutions where you can gain the required skills.
  • Begin searching for scholarships to help you pay for postsecondary education. Some deadlines come earlier than you might think, so don’t delay. Use our Scholly app. Free access provided courtesy of Reach Higher Montana.
  • Attend a financial aid night at your school. It’s not too early to be learning about your options to pay for your education.
  • Plan visits to the campuses of colleges you are interested in attending.
  • Save for postsecondary education.

12th Grade

  • Visit with your counselor to make sure you are meeting all of the requirements of the postsecondary institution you want to attend.
  • Continue to take college prep courses. (Advanced Placement, Running Start, Tech Prep or International Baccalaureate). If they aren’t offered at your school, talk to your counselor about your options.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after Oct. 1 as possible. Check with your school regarding the priority FAFSA filing date at that insitution.
  • If you need help filling out the FAFSA, look for a Reach Higher Montana College Goal event in your community, or contact the Reach Higher Montana advisor in your area.
  • Take the SAT or ACT in October or November.
  • Continue to research and apply for scholarships to help you pay for school.
  • Check with schools you are interested in attending regarding application and other important deadlines.
  • Create a planner on which to log all important dates and deadlines.
  • Attend college application nights and college fairs.
  • Send high school transcripts to colleges with your initial admissions application in the fall, and send your complete transcripts after final grades and graduation status are recorded.
  • Register for selective service at the post office or online. This applies to males, 18 years of age. (You can’t receive financial aid if you don’t register.)
  • Attend financial aid nights at your school.
  • Check your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is the U.S. Department of Education’s summary of information you submitted on the FAFSA and provides an estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and estimated Pell and loan eligibility. Make sure your colleges of choice are listed. If corrections or updates are needed, complete them as soon as possible.
  • Evaluate financial aid packages offered by the schools to which you applied. Accept only the aid you need.
  • Expect to hear whether you have been accepted to colleges by April 15. Compare the acceptance letters, financial aid and scholarship offers. Reply promptly to acceptance letters from colleges. Pay a non-refundable deposit to your selected college for tuition and housing for your freshman year.
  • Participate in summer orientation programs for incoming freshmen.
  • Save for postsecondary education and create a budget. Live like a student.

Parents

  • Talk with financial professionals about college saving strategies. If you start saving early, college savings accounts are beneficial. For more information, visit montana.collegesavings.com.
  • Start developing financial knowledge in children early. Create budgetary guidelines for your child.
  • Attend college fairs and financial aid nights at your child’s school.
  • In your child’s junior year in high school, use FAFSA4Caster to help you understand your options for paying for college. By providing some information, it can help you estimate your eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon after Oct. 1 as possible in your child’s senior year. Check with the school your child wants to attend regarding the priority FAFSA filing date.
  • If you need help filling out the FAFSA, look for a Reach Higher Montana College Goal event in your community, or contact the Reach Higher Montana advisor in your area.
  • Encourage your child to research and apply for scholarships to help pay for school.
  • Borrow only what you need to pay for college. Help your child create a budget.
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