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College admissions timeline

Dr. Raymond J. Huntington, co-founder of Huntington Learning Center and an expert in ACT and SAT test preparation, offers the following calendar to keep parents and students on a steady course to college admissions.



Sophomores, juniors and seniors should attend college fairs

Seniors should ensure they have character recommendations lined up

Seniors who are applying for early decision should apply now

Seniors who haven’t taken the SAT Reasoning and/or Subject Tests or the ACT should sign up to take them in December


All students in need of financial aid should be searching for grants, scholarships and work-study programs


Sophomores and juniors should receive the results of the PLAN and the PSAT

Students planning to take the ACT in February should register now

Seniors should send official test scores to the colleges and universities they are considering

January – February

Complete the FAFSA

Continue investigating colleges

Juniors who have completed the math courses covered on the SAT Reasoning Test should register to take the test in April

Students who have completed the FAFSA may receive a Student Aid Report in February. Review this carefully and correct any errors.

March – April

Sophomores should register for the June SAT Subject Tests

Juniors should register for the May or June SAT Reasoning Test and/or the May/June SAT Subject Tests

Seniors should review college acceptances and financial aid awards

Seniors should inform the college of their choice of their decision

May – June

Sophomores should be thinking about summertime activities that will build skills suited to the academic track or career they’re considering

Juniors should look at activities to strengthen their academic records

Seniors should decide by May 1 which college they want to attend

Seniors should affirm when payments for tuition, room and board are due

July – August

Consider visiting colleges for a good view of campus life


Sophomores and juniors should register to take the PSAT or the PLAN

Seniors who have not taken the SAT or Act or those who want to re-test should sign up for the SAT in October and November and the ACT in September or October

Seniors should ensure they have all of the applications for colleges they’re targeting and the necessary financial aid forms

Sophomores, juniors and seniors who are concerned about their test-taking skills should register for a test preparation course

See our full article about how to save for college and apply for financial aid.

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