What Parents Need to Do:
We strongly recommend that you be active participants in your child’s college search. We will do our best to keep you fully informed of your child’s progress, and we encourage you to be as open as possible both with your child and with us about your expectations and concerns about finances, location of school, and so on. Please contact us or meet with us at any time during the college search with your questions.
You should pay especially close attention to each important part of successfully completing a college application. Make sure your child knows about application deadlines, asks their teachers for letters of recommendation, completes the personal essay, and submits all the materials colleges require. As we will repeatedly tell students throughout the application process, the most important responsibilities rest with them. We will certainly help them whenever they ask (and even when they don’t ask) but they need to understand that their role is central to a successful college search.
What Juniors (11th Year) Need To Do:
The first thing you need to do is to learn to take the lead in your own college search. While we will help you through the entire process, it is you who will be the one researching the colleges and thinking about your own goals. The next thing is to read, read, read! And KEEP reading! This is THE way to get a good reading score on the SAT Exam. You should also begin thinking about your plans for next summer. If you are not working, you ought to be doing some other activity. Cascadilla teachers and advisors can suggest some summer enrichment opportunities for you.
- Take the PSAT in October.
- Meet with the College Counseling staff (Cascadilla advisors, teachers, and Academic Dean) and make sure you prepare a written self-assessment, focusing on any academic interests you have, your goals in life, and your personal strengths and characteristics in areas like the fine arts, science, math, business, writing, etc.
- Throughout the spring, Cascadilla advisors will have one-on-one meetings with you to talk about your goals and the best way to present yourself to prospective colleges. By the end of the spring semester, you should have a broad outline of the colleges to which you should apply.
- Contact these colleges to get on their mailing lists.
- Consider taking the SAT Exam in May. Prepare for the exam by taking an online SAT preparation course such as Kaplan SAT Prep.
- Consider taking the ACT Exam in April or June.
- Take SAT Subject Tests in June if recommended. (Register in April for June SAT Subject Tests).
Late spring and summer:
- You and your family may wish to begin visiting some of the colleges and universities on your list. Tour the campus, attend an admissions information session, meet with financial aid officers, and visit a class or two if possible.
- What are your plans for the summer?
What Seniors (12th Year) Need To Do:
The first thing you need to do is to take the lead in your own college search. While we will help you through the entire process, it is you who will be the one researching the colleges. You will be the one carefully watching your application deadlines. You will be the one writing your personal essays and completing your application. If you can’t find something for your application, then ask us, your teachers and advisors. And if you don’t even know what to ask, then tell us that, too. You have a wealth of resources at your fingertips at Cascadilla. Be sure to use them.
- Begin to focus on specific colleges and on the challenging job of writing college applications. Cascadilla’s English and writing teachers will give you individual support in refining and improving the personal essay for your applications. Keep meeting with the College Counseling staff and keep them informed of your progress and any help you need. If possible, plan to visit some of the colleges and universities on your list. Tour the campus, attend an admissions information session, meet with financial aid officers, and visit a class or two if possible.
- Register for the September ACT Exam.
- Register for the October SAT Exam.
- Take the September ACT Exam.
- Register for the October ACT Exam if necessary.
- Take the October SAT Exam.
- Take the October ACT Exam (unless taken earlier).
- Begin asking your teachers for letters of recommendation. Be sure to give them at least two weeks before an application deadline to write their recommendations. By November 1, you should ask TWO teachers IN PERSON to write letters on your behalf (by October 1 for “early decision” and “early action” college applications). Be sure to give teachers the earliest application deadline, the names of the colleges to which you are applying, and any specific forms they will need.
- Register for the November SAT Exam if necessary.
- If any of your colleges will require the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (a financial aid application service provided by the College Board), you and your family must file it online at <https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp>
- Be aware of the deadlines for early decision and early action college applications. These applications are typically due between October 15 and December 15.
- Complete and submit applications for colleges with rolling admission as soon as possible.
- Take the November SAT Exam.
- Register for the December SAT Exam if necessary.
- Register for the December ACT Exam if necessary.
- Work on your college applications. Thanksgiving Break is a good time to focus on them.
- Take the December SAT Exam.
- Take the December ACT Exam (unless taken earlier).
- Register for the January SAT Exam if necessary.
- Submit your college applications. Most regular college applications are due between January 1 and February 1.
- Make sure your teachers have written their recommendations.
- Make sure you have requested the SAT, ACT, and (if you are an international student) TOEFL programs to send official scores to all the colleges that require them.
- Take the January SAT Exam.
- Make sure all your official test scores have been sent to the colleges that require them.
- Many financial aid deadlines are in early February!
- Official notifications from colleges begin to arrive. Cascadilla advisors will make sure you are aware of all of your options at this stage. Be sure to inform them of your admission decisions.
- Notify colleges you do not plan to attend so that they can admit students from their waiting lists.
- Make your final choice. You must send a deposit to the college of your choice by MAY 1.
- Beware of senioritis! Colleges will receive your final grades. A drop in grades may cause them to re-evaluate their offer.