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College Timeline

Preparing for college begins well before your senior year. This college timeline serves as a guide by outlining some of the significant steps in the process. Our Guidance Services team is available to assist you during each step of the way as you identify what God has next for you.

General Recommendations in Preparation for College:
  • Strive to challenge yourself academically without overreaching. While your GPA is important, colleges want to see that you did not just take the easy road, but pushed yourself by taking Honors, AP, and/or dual credit classes.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities, leadership opportunities, and community service to develop skills and abilities that will benefit you in college and beyond.
  • Consider summer jobs, internships, and volunteer experiences that will develop your resume, help pay for college, and identify or confirm areas of interest.
  • Attend college fairs, such as the:
  • Pray and seek guidance from trusted adults about your future.

Yearly Checklists:

For a printable version of the complete checklist, click here.

8th Grade

Eighth Grade Year

  • Consider attending a Heritage Info Night with your parents and/or shadow a high school student to learn more about what is offered in the high school.
  • Listen to a classroom presentation by a high school guidance counselor about graduation requirements, course offerings, and scheduling.
  • Meet with a counselor one-on-one to discuss course choices for freshman year.

Freshman Year

Freshman Year

  • Work hard in classes to establish a good GPA.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor (along with your parents) to determine your academic plan for success.
    • Discuss diploma options and requirements.
    • Consider which challenging courses (Honors, AP or dual credit) might be appropriate for you to pursue.
    • Determine if you wish to participate in one of the Academies

  • Begin creating your resume (completed as a part of English class).

  • Familiarize yourself with Naviance, the program used to build a resume, research colleges and careers, submit college applications, request transcripts, upload letters of recommendation, etc.
  • Take the Strengths Explorer assessment provided in Naviance.
  • Take the freshman Interterm Week orientation course, which includes a learning style inventory.

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year

  • Meet with college representatives that come to Heritage and are scheduled through the guidance office.
  • Attend college fairs to begin gathering information about potential colleges.
  • Take the PSAT in October.
  • Take the Career and Personality assessments in your language arts class to help you identify potential majors or careers to consider.
  • Narrow your college criteria and use Naviance to search for colleges that fit.

  • Meet with your counselor to confirm your schedule/academic plan.
    • If pursuing the Academic Honors Diploma, determine which AP or dual credit courses you plan to take.
    • If needed, work with your guidance counselor or Educational Support Services to apply for SAT and ACT test accommodations.
  • Begin scheduling some college visits for the spring and summer.
  • Consider taking the College Search Seminar during Interterm Week, where you will define and develop a college search plan, investigate academic interests and visit 2-3 colleges (Christian, private, public).

Junior Year

Junior Year

  • Meet with college representatives that come to Heritage and are scheduled through the guidance office.
  • Attend college fairs to begin to narrow down your options.
  • In October, retake the PSAT for National Merit Scholarship Competition consideration.
  • Listen to a classroom presentation by the guidance office about the college search process. Parents, attend the evening session of this presentation.
  • Consult the scholarship list on Naviance and consider setting up an account with a free scholarship search service to help you identify scholarships worth pursuing.

  • Work on developing your list of potential colleges, with a goal of narrowing that list to your top options by the end of the school year.
  • Visit the colleges and universities to which you are interested in applying.
  • Take the ACT or SAT in winter/spring.

  • Set up your internship/job shadowing experience for Interterm Week in a career field which you are interested in pursuing.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor in the spring to assure you are progressing towards the necessary graduation requirements for your desired diploma.
    • If pursuing the Academic Honors Diploma, make sure you will have enough AP or college credits if you do not meet the ACT or SAT benchmark.
    • Future college athletes should maintain academic standards and register with the NCAA here.
  • Build a portfolio that includes the following important documents: resume, letters of recommendation, essays, and academic transcripts.
    • Update your resume and provide a copy to anyone writing a rec letter for you.
    • In the spring, request letters of recommendation from teachers, school personnel, coaches, employers, or pastors which can be uploaded to Naviance.
    • Look up the essay prompts for the Common Application and work on writing at least one over the summer.
    • Examine your transcript to make sure you are familiar with your grades and GPA, and that any online or other transfer classes are included.

  • In the summer, begin filling out applications for colleges and scholarships.
  • Final college visits

Senior Year

Senior Year

  • Consider taking the ACT/SAT again to raise scores.
  • Complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) by June 30, as well as any other financial aid forms required by your choice colleges.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor to confirm you are on target to meet all graduation requirements, discuss any scholarship applications, and finalize details of the college application process.
    • Make sure you have completed all necessary steps in Naviance - requested transcripts and teacher recommendations, clarified if you are using the Common Application for colleges where that is optional, etc.
    • Future college athletes must register with the NCAA or NAIA clearinghouses, confirm that your transcript matches clearinghouse requirements, send your ACT/SAT scores to the NCAA (code #9999) and sign a letter of intent by Spring.
  • Parents: consider attending the Guidance Office Financial Aid Night in October.
  • Apply to several colleges by November 1 as this is the scholarship consideration deadline for several colleges/universities, including IU and Purdue.
  • Visit your top 2-3 college choices again, staying overnight if at all possible.

  • Confirm your college decision and send your enrollment deposit by the National Candidates Reply Date of May 1.
  • Submit your list of scholarship offers to Guidance.