College Check List

Transitioning from high school to college can be rather hectic. Once you’re in your junior year of high school, it’s time to start thinking about the future — your future.

The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be. Whether you’re barely starting to think about attending college, in your junior or senior year of high school, or you’re about to pack your bags, this is the college check list for you.

The following are the ultimate junior year of high school and senior year of high school college checklists.

Junior Year Checklist

Junior year of high school is typically when students start thinking about college seriously. If you’re planning on attending a university, it’s important to keep up with the following items.

  • Grades

While in high school, make sure to maintain a great grade point average (GPA). Your GPA is definitely a factor when it comes to getting accepted by colleges. Even if it means you’ll be studying more, you won’t regret it! Check out the average GPA’s of student’s accepted by your prospective colleges. Hello, competition.

  • Register for the ACT/SAT

Junior year is when many college students register for the ACT and/or SAT — depending on what different colleges require. Standardized tests have never been my forte. Making sure you get a great score lies not only in your determination to study but also in your confidence. Try to remember to relax when you’re taking either or these exams.

  • Visit colleges 

A great — and probably obvious — way to see if a certain college is for you is to visit the campus. Making the trip will help you determine whether or not you can see yourself there in the future.

Maybe try to fit in a campus tour while you’re there. The tour guides will probably be able to give you more information about the college than what you would find doing your own research.

  • Community service

No matter the college, community service always plays a factor. In high school, make sure you’re getting plenty of community service hours whether you’re volunteering at an elderly home, helping out at a local elementary school or offering your time at a pet shelter. Colleges want to see that you’re giving back to your community.

Senior Year Checklist

Hopefully by the time your senior year of college rolls around you’ve already compiled a list of colleges you’re interested in.

Senior year is when you really have to be serious about the application process and how you’re going to make yourself stand out from other applicants. It’s also important to continue visiting colleges to find your perfect fit. Here’s the college check list for senior year:

  • Take the ACT/SAT (again!)

If you haven’t already, register for the ACT and/or the SAT! If you’ve already taken either of

them, consider retaking them for a better score. If you weren’t happy with your first score, think of ways to improve your study method so you can come out the second time around with a score you’re more proud of.

  • Visit your school counselor

As a senior in high school who is seriously thinking about colleges, make sure to meet with your school counselor. We had a college counselor at my high school who was there to answer questions we had regarding different universities.

If you have any questions at all, don’t be afraid to meet with you counselor! They’ll provide you with the information you need to know and make sure you’re on your way to attending a great university.

  • College fairs

College fairs are a great opportunity to meet with college representatives. If a college fair is happening near you, find out which colleges will be represented and whether or not you’re interested in them.

  • Apply for college(s) 

This is it. All of those standardized test scores, your GPA and community service hours … it’s time to apply to different colleges. Many students choose to apply to a number of colleges in order to ensure that if they didn’t get their first choice, they can have “safety schools.”

In other words, don’t assume you’ll get into the only college you’re applying to. Maybe you will, but if you don’t, it would be disappointing to find that the only college you applied to, you didn’t get into. Yikes.

  • Apply for financial aid

For many students, applying for financial aid is extremely important. Figure out how much you will be receiving at each college you were accepted to.

This could ultimately be a deal-breaker for you when it comes to choosing the college you will attend. Apply for financial aid using the FAFSA.

  • Decide on a college

So you’ve received your acceptance letters, but which college will you ultimately attend? Weigh the pros and cons of each college you’re considering attending. Is financial aid a factor? Location? Majors offered? Good luck in your decision process!

Dorm Packing List

It’s the summer before your first year of college. This is the time to start packing for college. Make sure these dorm room must haves are on your own college move in checklist!

  • Twin XL sheets

Most college dorm room beds require twin XL sheets. This size can be found at your local Target.

  • Laundry basket

Don’t leave your dirty laundry lying around your floor! Purchase a laundry basket or hamper to put your sweaty gym clothes in.

  • Alarm clock

Have an early 8 a.m. class? Don’t risk sleeping in and missing your class! Purchase yourself a good alarm clock to get you up in time — and on time — to your classes. You can also use your phone as an alarm clock.

  • School supplies 

Lined paper, pens, pencils, sticky notes. All of these items are a definite must. Oh, and don’t forget to bring a printer and printer ink with you!

  • Backpack

This is a no-brainer but definitely an essential item. Take a good backpack (or bag if you prefer) to haul with you to campus.

It’s never to early to start thinking about college but when it comes to your junior and senior year, it’s time to start taking things seriously and following a real college check list.

And once you’ve received acceptance letters, make sure you have all of your college dorm essentials packed before you begin what many call the best four years of your life!

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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