College Counseling » College Readiness Checklist

College Readiness Checklist

9th Grade

9th grade is an important year in a student’s college preparation journey.

Take challenging classes in core academic subjects. Most colleges require four years of English, at least three years of Social Studies (history, economics, and government), three years of Mathematics, and three years of Science, and many require two years of a Foreign Language. Many colleges prefer four years of Science and Math!

Round out your course load with classes in technology and the arts. Talk to your guidance counselor about your elective options!

Work with one of your parents to estimate your financial aid using FASE Estimator and be sure to save for college.

Get involved in school- or community-based activities that interest you or let you explore career interests. 

Consider working, volunteering, and/or participating in academic enrichment programs, summer workshops, and camps with specialty focuses such as music, arts, or science. Remember—it’s quality (not quantity) that counts.


Start a list of your awards, honors, paid and volunteer work, and extracurricular activities. Update it throughout high school.


10th Grade

There’s a lot a 10th-grade student can do to stay on the right track toward college, and a lot a parent can do to help.

Take a look at these tips for thinking about the future, managing time, taking standardized tests, and more.

Continue challenging yourself academically! Colleges look at all of your grades from 9th grade to 11th grade so it’s important to focus on your academics throughout high school.

Take a practice Preliminary SAT (PSAT/NMSQT)  exam.


Plan to use your summer after 10th grade wisely: Work, volunteer, or take a summer course (away or at a local college).

Go to career information events or enroll in an enrichment program to get a more detailed look at career options.

Research majors that might be a good fit with your interests and goals based on your results from the U.S. Department of Labor’s career search.


11th Grade

It’s crucial to stay on top of college preparation during the 11th-grade year and the following summer.

Here’s what you should be doing—including looking into careers, searching for scholarships, and keeping the savings account on track.


Speak to Ms. Cheyney about taking College Now classes at a CUNY school.


Go to college fairs and college preparation presentations by college representatives.


Visit college campuses, preferably when classes are in session. 


Register for and take exams for college admission in the spring. The tests that many colleges require are the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and the ACT.


All 11th graders will take their first SAT here at BEA during the spring of their junior year. Students will also register for their second SAT ideally in June of their junior year, but no later than October of their senior year.


Ask two teachers for a letter of recommendation. Your college counselor will provide information on how to request letters of recommendation from your teachers. Don’t forget to bring them a copy of your resume!


Find scholarships for which you might want to apply. Some deadlines fall as early as the summer between 11th and 12th grades, so prepare now to submit applications soon.
Contact colleges to request information. Ask about financial aid, admission requirements, and deadlines.


12th Grade

12th grade is the time to apply for admission to college and then to apply for federal student aid by filling out the FAFSA.


Work hard all year—second-semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility.


Stay involved in after-school activities, and seek leadership roles if possible.


If you haven’t done so already, register for and take the SAT required for college admission. 


As soon as possible after October 1, complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online, along with any other financial aid applications your school(s) of choice may require.


You should submit your FAFSA/ TAP/ and if needed CSS Profile by the earliest financial aid deadline of the schools to which you are applying, usually by early January.


Apply to the colleges you have chosen. Prepare your applications carefully. Follow the instructions, and PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DEADLINES!


Complete any last scholarship applications.


Visit colleges that have accepted you. 


Review your college acceptances and compare the colleges’ financial aid offers.


Contact a school’s financial aid office if you have questions about the aid that the school has offered you. They can tell you about deadlines, other aid for which you might wish to apply, and important paperwork you might need to submit.


When you decide which school you want to attend, notify that school of your commitment and submit any required financial deposit by May 1.