Seniors: College Apps Timeline

We get it, seniors– you promised yourself that you would finish all your college essays and apply for all these scholarships during the summer — but then, well, summer sorta-kinda happened, and nothing is done. It’s relatable, it’s stressful, but don’t fret – it’s also manageable.


Here’s the college process, conveniently outlined for you. We’ll update it throughout the year whenever dates become less ambiguous. Keep all this in mind throughout the year, and don’t let senioritis take over.



  • Make lists!
    • Colleges to Apply To
      • Include Match, Safety, and Reach schools, and don’t let your dreams be dreams.
      • Look up app deadlines for each school.
      • Decide if you want to apply Early Action to any private schools and get your application done early.
    • Scholarships to Apply For
      • GGHS Guidance has compiled a list of scholarships, which can be found on the school website.
    • SAT/ACT Dates
      • ACT: 10/28, 12/9
      • SAT: 11/4, 12/2
  • Gather information/documents for college applications!
    • Your social security number.
    • Your high school transcript (request one from the Guidance Office)
    • Your parents’ income level (refer to your parents’ 2016 tax returns)
    • Teacher/counselor recommendations (if you are applying to private schools/scholarships)
      • Give them a few weeks’ notice beforehand and remind them constantly! You are responsible for making sure they submit the recommendation letters to the colleges. And remember to thank them!
    • A brag sheet/list of your involvements/extracurriculars and awards.
      • Provide a copy for your recommenders.
      • This is also a good reference when you apply for multiple scholarships.
  • Start applications by filling out the basics – your transcript, personal information, campuses you want to apply to, etc.
    • UC app
    • Common App → you can even download the app on Apple/Google Play Store.
    • Coalition App
    • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Draft your essays and have a friend, teacher, or parent look over them!
    • For UCs, pick 4 out of the 8 prompts.
    • For Common App and Coalition App, choose 1 prompt.
    • You can find successful essays online of people who got into their dream schools, but don’t lose the voice that makes your writing style unique.



  • CSU campuses begin accepting applications. Make an account on The deadline is 11/30, same as for UCs.
  • FAFSA filing period begins. You want to get this done ASAP to get as much federal aid as you can.
  • Stay on the lookout for scholarship opportunities! Many of them are due by the same time as college apps, so you can even tweak/reuse your essays.



  • UC campuses begin accepting applications. You have until 11/30 to submit everything, including the 4 Personal Insight Questions.
  • Early Decision/Early Action college applications for most private schools are due.


11/20-24 – Fall Break

  • Complete and submit at least 1 college application at this point.
  • If you still have not submitted your UC apps, this fall break is for writing your 4 short essays! You can do it!



  • Early Decision/Early Action results begin coming out.


12/25-1/5/2018 – Winter Break

  • If you still have not submitted the Common app to private schools, this winter break is for writing your Common app essay and specific college writing supplements. Don’t let your dreams be dreams!



  • Regular Decision college applications for most private schools are due.



  • File your FAFSA if you haven’t already – it’s due March 2nd.
  • UC admissions notifications come out.
  • Visit college campuses to decide where you’d like to spend the next four years of your life.
    • Attend the Admit Weekends and imagine your life at each campus.
  • Keep your grades up. Don’t let senioritis put your college acceptances at risk.


May 1st

  • You did it – the college application process is over. Today, you will decide the college you will attend for your freshman year of college. We knew you could do it.