December is a pivotal time for high school seniors in the college application process. Here are the key dates and tasks to keep on your radar:
- Early Decision (ED) and Early Action (EA) Notifications: Typically, students who applied under ED or EA plans will receive their admissions decisions in December. Be prepared for any outcome—acceptance, denial, or deferral.
- Regular Decision Applications: Many regular decision deadlines are on January 1st or 15th, so December is the time to finalize and submit these applications if you haven't already.
- Finalize College Essays: Ensure your college essays for regular decision applications are polished and reflect your best work.
- Scholarship Deadlines: Some scholarship applications may be due in December. Make sure you submit all necessary documents on time.
- SAT/ACT Scores: If you took the SAT or ACT in November (or earlier), ensure the scores are sent to your colleges of choice. December may also offer the last test dates for some colleges' regular decision deadlines, so be sure to register early if you plan to retake any standardized tests.
- FAFSA and CSS Profile: Although the FAFSA opened on October 1st, if you haven't submitted it yet, do it as soon as possible. Some state and institutional aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, check if your colleges require the CSS Profile and submit it as necessary.
- College Financial Aid Deadlines: Some colleges may have financial aid deadlines in December or early January. Make sure to check each college's financial aid webpage for specific dates.
- Letters of Recommendation and Transcripts: Confirm that your school has sent your transcripts and letters of recommendation to the colleges to which you're applying. Give your school enough notice, as many schools will be closed for winter break.
- College Interviews: If you haven’t completed your interviews, try to schedule or complete them before the winter break.
- Winter Break: Use this time wisely to complete any remaining applications and get a rest before final decisions and next-semester challenges.
- Plan for Second Semester: Colleges will look at your final year in its entirety, so plan to keep your grades up and stay involved in extracurricular activities.
- Follow-Up: Double-check that all your application materials have been received by your colleges, including test scores, essays, and additional forms.
- Rest and Reflect: The college application process can be stressful. Take time during the holiday season to relax and recharge.
Keep in mind that exact dates for deadlines can vary significantly from school to school, so always check and confirm each college's specific deadlines. Additionally, if you applied through an ED or EA program and were accepted, remember to withdraw your applications from other schools.