Senior Year

Over the Summer

Get Involved. 

Volunteer your time with an organization that you enjoy working for, play a sport, or work at a summer internship. Whatever you choose to do – find something that interests you. Summer experiences can be good topics on your personal statements for college. They can also be listed on college apps so make the best of your summer.

Begin your College Search

Finding the right colleges can seem overwhelming. Several things to keep in mind are: Class Size, Urban/Rural/Suburban Area, Religious Preferences, Majors, Student Life, and Financial Aid.

If you don’t know where to begin, try the Fiske Guide or Princeton Review’s 366 Best Colleges

Prepare for tests.

Summer is a good time to study for the SAT. Senior year will be very hectic. Get the SAT out of the way early by taking it in October. If you do badly in Oct, you can still take it again in November or December.

Click here for the SAT Registration or ACT Registration. Already taken the SAT or ACT? Check out the ACT-SAT Concordance Table, which allows people who have taken either test to find comparable scores for the other exam.

Understanding Application Terms:

Early Action – An early application to college that is due by November or early December. If you are admitted through Early Action, you do not have to attend the school.

Single Choice Early Action – Similar to early action. If you opt to apply through this process, you may only apply to one college early.

Early Decision – This is an early application to college that is binding. If you are accepted, you must attend the college. In some cases, applicants can choose not to attend for financial reasons.

Regular Decision – This is the latest application for college. You may apply to as many colleges you want through Regular  Decision. This is not binding.

Waitlisted – If you are neither accepted nor denied by a college, you will be given an offer to be placed on the waiting list. If you accept, you will be placed on a waiting list and notified of your updated status in mid May to late June.

Deferred – This applies to students to apply early.  If your application is deferred, the Office of Admissions has decided that they require more time to evaluate your application and you will be placed into the regular decision pool. Your updated status will be available when regular decision statuses are ready.

Seniors, did you miss College Knowledge Night? Review the PowerPoint presentation from that night; you’ll probably learn something new!

Alternative Ways to Apply:

Questbridge National College Match Application:

  • full four year scholarship to one of Questbridge’s Partner Colleges
  • it is a free application
  • must submit transcript, several essays, 3 letters of recommendation
  • must rank 8 of the Questbridge Partner Colleges
  • must be low-income high school senior
  • deadline is in late September

For more information, visit the Questbridge site.

Posse Foundation

  • four year full tuition scholarships based on merit and leadership
  • candidates are selected after a series of interviews
  • scholarship only applicable to Posse Partner colleges
  • commitment to the Posse scholarship is the same as early decision
  • to be considered, ask your teacher or counselor to nominate you in the spring of junior year

For more information, check out the Posse Foundation here.


There are several ways to satisfy the Health requirement. You can take Health in your schedule before you graduate. You can take it at Cleveland during summer school or after school. You can take it through Opportunities for Learning or Options for Youth (these are independent study summer school programs and are free). You can take it at community college. We may even offer it in Saturday school.

 College Calendar

If you need some organization in your busy, chaotic senior schedule, take a look at the Important Dates for Seniors which compiles the due dates for SAT I/II fees, ACT fees, college applications, and financial aid. Below is a more in-depth, month-by-month to-do list.


  • register (and study) for the October SAT / ACT
  • continue your college search and begin narrowing down colleges
  • begin the QuestBridge application if you wish to apply through QB. The application opens in early August and the deadline is late September.
  • Begin your UC Applications which opens August 1st.
  • Begin your Common Application for private colleges which opens on August 1st


  • continue studying for the SAT or any SAT II’s or the ACT
  • finalize your college list and make preparations if you are applying Early Decision or Early Action to any private colleges
  • begin working on personal statements for colleges
  • prepare brag sheets or resumes for counselors and teachers if you wish to ask them for letters of recommendation (private colleges require 2 letters from teachers and 1 from a counselor)
  • request any letters of recommendation for private colleges


  • take the October SAT/ACT or register for the November/December SAT’s
  • Submit your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application for Financial Aid which both open October 1st,,
  • finish up any Early Decision or Early Action applications (most are due between Nov. 1 and Dec 15)


  • submit your CSU/UC applications by November 30th (warning: the website may crash if you wait to the last minute to submit)
  • send your SAT or ACT scores to colleges through CollegeBoard or ACTStudent
  • submit any early applications to private colleges


  • take the SAT or ACT for the last time if you haven’t already (make sure you check deadlines ahead of time to see which test date is the last one accepted by the colleges you are applying to)
  • submit all your applications to private colleges through Common App


  • submit your  CSS profile as soon as possible. You may use last year’s tax returns if your taxes are not ready yet.
  • check on all your college portals to see that you are not missing any college application materials.


  • check the financial aid application for each college you are applying to. If colleges require that you submit an IDOC, create an IDOC packet and send it to College Board at least 1 week in advance of the deadlines. Be aware that all colleges have different deadlines.
  • check on all your college portals to see that you are not missing any college application materials.


  • throughout March, colleges will be notifying you of your application status – make sure you check your portals!


  • send in your letter of intent.

Application Checklist


  • Obtain Social Security # for filling out your application
  • Get an unofficial transcript from the College Office so that you can fill out the classes
  • Prepare a fee waiver or income information
  • Create portals for each CSU and check frequently to see that you are not missing any materials
  • GPA verification forms do not need to be submitted, since LAUSD sends the GPAs. After submitting FAFSA, the two will mesh.


  • Get a UC transcript (unofficial) printed from the College Office so that you can fill out your GPA & classes
  • Complete the 2 required essays
  • Prepare fee waivers ahead of time or obtain income information from parents
  • Fill out and submit the application at least 1-2 days prior to the deadline
  • After submission, print out your receipts
  • Create portals for all the UC’s you applied to
  • Check portals and UC application to make sure that you are not missing any application materials
  • UC Admitted students who do not meet the following requirements must take a UC Analytical Writing Placement Exam on Saturday, May 14.  
    • 680 or higher Writing SAT section
    • 30 or higher Writing or English ACT section
    • 3 or higher on an AP English Exam taken before Senior year

Private Colleges

  • Create a list of private colleges that you are applying to. Check deadlines for all the colleges, including deadlines for the last SAT available
  • Ask teachers for Letters of Rec and provide any materials they may need to write about you ( Brag sheets etc )
  • Write your essay for the Common App
  • Fill out all supplements
  • Prepare any fee waivers (NACAC or College Board)
  • Submit your SAT Scores through the College Board
  • Submit your applications before the deadlines – make sure you know the time zone and date for the deadlines – some dates may be listed in EST

Financial Aid

  • Obtain parent’s 2011 tax returns and 2012 tax returns
  • Submit FAFSA as soon as possible with last year’s tax returns & update when new returns come back (IMPORTANT: DO NOT use because this is a scam website that charges you! FAFSA is the FREE Application for Federal Student Aid. NO FEE!) 
  • Submit CSS Profile by date listed on your college’s websites
  • Submit IDOC or tax returns to colleges by deadlines