Freshman Year

Meet your college counselor

Meet your high school college counselors and get their advice and suggestions.

Be a great high school student

There's no need to spend a significant amount of time worrying about test prep freshman year. Instead, take classes that challenge you and do well in them. Remember, your transcript is more important than your test score!

Sophomore Year

Start college research

Start your college research and visit schools that interest you.

Take a PSAT in October

Get some standardized testing experience. This test is typically offered at school during October.

Possible summer prep

A few students (about 1%) may want to start test prep over the summer to prepare for the PSAT and possible National Merit consideration.

Practice ACT

Take a practice ACT in the spring so that you can compare results with your PSAT.

Junior Year

Take the PSAT in October

This PSAT "counts" for National Merit recognition.

Meet with your college counselor

Discuss test scores and potential college choices.

Take the SAT or ACT in the spring

Take a real test during your second semester. Ideally, this is the only test you'll need!

Choose to prep for the SAT or ACT

Take a prep class that leads up to the test of your choice. It's best to stick to one test!

Narrow college choices

Continue to narrow your college choices and compare their requirements to your GPA and test scores.

Possible backup test date in late spring/summer

If you're unhappy with your previous score, you can take the test again in the late spring or early summer.

Start working on applications over the summer

Begin working on your applications and essays.

Possible test prep over the summer if required

If you still need test prep for a test date during your senior year, you can take it over the summer.

Senior Year

Final fallback SAT/ACT test date in the fall

If you're still not happy with your score, you can take the September ACT or October SAT.

Meet with your college counselor

Go over your applications and discuss college choices.

Apply for financial aid

Submit your applications for need and merit-based financial aid.

Submit applications to colleges from October - January

Send your completed applications to the college of your choice!

Graduate, and get ready to head to college


Choose your college

Make your final college decision by the start of May.