College Guidance Timeline

Grade 9

  • Work diligently in all of your classes. Recognize your academic strengths and think about what you especially enjoy about your academic life.
  • Your grades during freshman year become part of your cumulative GPA.  Your grades this year will eventually be viewed during the college admissions process.
  • Take advantage of practice ACT and SAT opportunities offered through VMA.
  • Explore extra curricular activities and get involved!
  • Attend Freshmen Seminars held during advisory periods. Be sure to meet with your Freshmen Guidance Counselor.
  • Get to know all of the counselors and feel free to come to the Guidance Suit with any questions or concerns!

Grade 10

  • Challenge yourself with the VMA curriculum, work hard academically.
  • Your grades matter.  Colleges like to see an upward trend in GPA from freshman to sophomore year.
  • You will take the PSAT at VMA in October. Scores are returned in December. Review results and note areas in need of improvement.
  • Meet with your Guidance Counselor and prepare to discuss test prep options.
  • Try out the practice ACT hosted by VMA.
  • Prepare to increase self-awareness and explore possible careers of interest during your sophomore seminar class.
  • Meet with your Guidance Counselor in March to register for Grade 11 courses that will challenge you yet realistic with your ability.
  • Create an activities resume in which you can build upon through your time attending VMA. Remember: Colleges would like to see true commitment to a few activities as opposed to little investment in many activities.
  • Early stage college conference appointments with guidance counselor are strongly encouraged during the spring of sophomore year. Parent involvement during these appointments is welcomed.

Grade 11

  • Make sure your academic performance indicates your fullest potential during this year.  College admissions will review this years grades carefully.  Your junior year GPA is incredibly important.

September-December

  • Utilize test prep opportunities throughout the months of September and October
  • Take the PSAT in October. Make it a goal to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.
  • Attend the NACAC National College Fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the fall. Review VMA website for more local college fair opportunities.

January- June

  • For Testing Dates and Enrollment:
  • Take the SAT for the first time in January or March and then again in May or June, if necessary.
  • Take the ACT (with Writing) in February.
  • You will attend a Junior Seminar course  throughout the spring. Naviance will be used to generate a preliminary list of colleges of interest.
  • Athletes who plan to compete in Division I or II levels in college should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center after attending the NCAA Information Session at VMA.
  • Schedule individual meetings with your Guidance Counselor throughout the spring semester.
  • The English department in conjunction with the Junior Seminar courses will assist in the completion of your first college essay.
  • Seek guidance from your counselor while registering for Grade 12 classes that will challenge you and are realistic with your abilities.
  • In March, ask two of your Grade 11 teachers in person and ask if they would be willing to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Obtain a VMA Teacher Recommendation Questionnaire (VMA website or Guidance office), fill out the form, and submit to your teacher so that they may use it as a resource for your letters. Send a request for recommendation letter to your teacher on Family Connection.
  • Attend the Main Line PACAC College Fair at Villanova University in the spring.
  • Schedule to attend open houses and campus tours for the colleges that you may be interested in during the spring and summer.
  • Prepare and register in April for the June ACT, SAT Reasoning Test and, if necessary, SAT Subject Tests.
  • Think about your summer plans: college visits, other travel, volunteer opportunities, jobs, projects, classes, work on college applications, etc.  Be sure to include some time for relaxation!

Summer Between Junior and Senior Year

  • Use Family Connection in Naviance to keep notes regarding your college visits, review college admissions representatives VMA visit schedule and register to attend when your top schools are here. Use the scatter gram charts on Naviance to compare your GPA and test scores with the qualifications of each college on your list.
  • Prepare additional application essays and take advantage of Essay Writing Workshops offered by the VMA English Department.
  • Complete the Common Application in August. Each year, the most current version of the common application for rising seniors is typically available online on August 1.
  • In August, finalize your college choices and add your list to the “Colleges I’m Applying To” link in Naviance. Aim for a final list of 3-5 colleges (1 “confident/likely to accept” school, 1-2 realistic and 1 reach). Be sure that each college on your list is one you would gladly attend.
  • Sometimes colleges will want a senior test score. If this is the case, prepare to take the SAT or ACT in the fall of Grade 12.

Grade 12

September

  • Complete the Common Application if you have not already done so. You will have senior seminar for the first quarter in which the guidance department will be available to offer insight and help with application questions.
  • Additionally, schedule to meet with your Guidance Counselor for your Senior Conference. Parents are encouraged to attend.
  • Fine tune your essays. Make sure that at least 2 adults proof read your work before submitting on an application.
  • Meet with college admissions representatives who visit VMA throughout the fall.  Sign up to attend through Family Connection.
  • Follow up with the 2 teachers who agreed to write your recommendation letter last spring.  Teachers have until October 1st to complete recommendation letters. Transcripts will be sent as early as October 1st.
  • Plan overnight visits with your prospective colleges and schedule interviews with college admissions.
  • Take the ACT (with Writing) in September, if necessary.
  • Arrange to have SAT/ACT scores sent directly to colleges by the testing agency through your College Board account.
  • Begin working on application supplements if necessary.
  • Proofread all applications before submitting them. Check especially for errors in your birth date, social security number, home address, and other identifying  information.
  • Complete your FERPA waiver in Common Application. Be sure to select the, “Yes, I waive…” option.
  • Financial aid tasks for parents (explained in further detail in financial aid section):

October

  • Explore options for capstone. Begin required paperwork for  your senior capstone project.
  • Be aware of all Early Action, Early Decision and Rolling admissions deadlines. Make sure to give all Transcript Request forms to your counselor no later than two weeks before the college’s application deadline.
  • Attend open houses and college information sessions.

November

  • Complete monthly required portion of senior capstone project.
  • Double check all your deadlines for college and scholarship applications.
  • If you are applying to Penn State University, submit your application by 11/15.
  • Student athletes who plan to compete at the Division I or II level should be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center. If you haven’t done so already, download the transcript release form and submit to the college Guidance Office.      
  • Bring to the college counseling office letters indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/wait lists, and invitations to honors programs. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

December

  • Remember to withdraw, in writing, any other applications if you receive an acceptance for an Early Decision application.
  • Complete monthly required portion of senior capstone project.
  • Bring to the college counseling office letters indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/wait lists, and invitations to honors programs. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

January

  • Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) promptly according to each college’s deadline.
  • Submit the CSS Profile to those colleges that require it.
  • Complete monthly required portion of senior capstone project.
  • The college counselors will then send your first semester grades to all your colleges that require them.
  • Bring to the college counseling office letters indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/wait lists, and invitations to honors programs. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

February

  • Maintain your academic standing. Your chosen college will see your final grades. Colleges have the right to rescind acceptances if they deem your final transcript unsatisfactory.
  • Continue to research any scholarships for which you may be eligible.
  • Your mid-year reports will be sent to every school in which you applied for that we have no reported decision.  (No need to request them formerly)
  • Complete monthly required portion of senior capstone project.
  • Keep counselor abreast of decisions and your level of interest in each school.
  • Check all college application portals to assure applications are complete and contact your college counselor if you have not heard from one or more of your colleges.
  • Bring to the college counseling office letters indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/wait lists, and invitations to honors programs. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

March

  • Attend personalized admissions events when you are invited. Consider making final campus visits to narrow your college choices. Attend classes, stay overnight, eat the food, meet current students, etc.
  • Keep counselor abreast of decisions and your level of interest in each school.
  • Complete monthly required portion of senior capstone project.
  • Bring to the college counseling office letters indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/wait lists, and invitations to honors programs. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

April

  • Carefully compare each financial aid package: grants, scholarships, loans, etc.
  • If you are placed on a waiting list, return the reply form if you are truly interested in that school. Consult with your college counselor regarding other possible strategies.
  • Complete monthly required portion of senior capstone project.
  • Bring to the college counseling office letters indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/wait lists, and invitations to honors programs. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

May

  • Send in your deposit to one college by May 1st. Inform the others in writing that you will not be attending. Depositing at more than one college is unethical and both acceptances may be rescinded as a result. For a description of a student’s rights and responsibilities in the college process follow this link, http://www.nacacnet.org/studentinfo/articles/Documents/Know-Your-Rights.aspx.
  • Colleges may activate their waiting lists one to two weeks after the May 1st deadline, but you may not hear from the college until June, July, or even August in a few cases.
  • Return your completed and signed Final College Choice form to the college counseling office.
  • Attend your off-site experience and complete the requirements for your senior capstone project.
  • Take any applicable Advanced Placement exams.

June

  • GRADUATION TIME, Congratulations!
  • Your final official transcript will be forwarded to the one college you choose to attend.
  • NCAA – registered athletes’ final official transcripts will also be sent to the NCAA Eligibility Center.