High School Timeline

for College Preparedness

Please refer to the timeline below for information on how students can prepare for entrance into Florida Atlantic University, starting their first year of high school.


  • Build strong language, mathematics and critical thinking skills by taking challenging courses.
  • Study hard to get excellent grades.
  • Strengthen your vocabulary by increasing your reading.
  • Become involved in co-curricular activities.
  • Meet your high school guidance counselor and discuss your plans for the next four years.
  • Browse college literature and research what kinds of schools may be of interest to you.
  • Check out which high school courses will be required for admission.
  • Get to know NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) requirements if you want to play sports in college.
  • Keep an academic portfolio and co-curricular record.
  • Research career possibilities.
  • Begin saving money for college.


  • Take the PSAT for practice. The results will not be used for college admission.
    • The PSAT is a preliminary test that will prepare you for the SAT Reasoning Test.
    • Consult your guidance counselor about taking the PSAT in October.
  • If you plan on taking the ACT, talk to your guidance counselor about taking the PLAN this fall.
    • The PLAN is a preliminary standardized test that will give you some preparation for the ACT.
    • PLAN does not have national testing dates, so ask your guidance counselor about test dates offered by your school.
  • Take NCAA-approved courses if you want to play sports in college.
  • Sign up for co-curricular activities that interest you. 
  • Keep up with your academic work. If necessary, meet with your teacher or a tutor for additional help.
  • Record your co-curricular involvement, volunteer work, and employment (all year).
  • Once you receive your PLAN and/or PSAT score, consult your guidance counselor to explore ways to improve on future standardized tests and courses to discuss which may be required or beneficial for your post-high school plans.

  • Keep studying!
  • Continue researching colleges and universities.
  • Continue to research career options and consider possible college majors that will help you achieve your career goals.


  • Consider taking a summer course or participating in a special program at a local college.
  • Consider working or volunteering.
  • Prepare for the PSAT/SAT by taking a prep course, use computer software, or do the practice tests in books designed to familiarize you with standardized tests.
  • Continue reading to increase your vocabulary.

  • Register for the October PSAT.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor to review your courses for this year and plan your schedule for senior year.
  • Save samples of your best work for your academic portfolio (all year).
  • Maintain your co-curricular record (all year).

  • Junior year PSAT scores may qualify a student for the National Merit Scholarship Competition and the National Achievement and the National Hispanic Scholars Programs. Even though these scores will not be used for college admission, it is still a good idea to take the PSAT. The more times you take standardized tests, the more familiar you will become with the format and the types of questions asked.

  • Junior year grades are extremely important in the college admission process, because they are a measure of how well you do in advanced, upper-level courses. Grades also are used to determine scholarships and grants for which you may be eligible. So put in the extra effort and keep those grades up!
  • If you will require financial aid, start researching your options for grants, scholarships and work-study programs. Make an appointment with your guidance counselor.
  • During December you should receive the results of your PSAT. Read your score report and consult your school counselor to determine how you might improve on future standardized tests. The PSAT is excellent preparation for the SAT Reasoning Test, which you will take in the spring.
  • If you plan to take the ACT, register now for the February ACT.
  • Meet with your guidance counselor to discuss your preliminary list of colleges. Discuss whether your initial list of colleges meets your needs and interests (academic program, size, location, cost, etc.) and whether you are considering colleges where you are likely to be admitted. You should be optimistic and realistic when applying to colleges.
  • Register for the March SAT Reasoning Test if you have completed the math courses covered on the SAT Reasoning Test. If not, plan to take the SAT Reasoning Test in May or June. Prepare for the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT by signing up for a prep course, using computer software, or doing the SAT/ACT practice tests available in the counseling office or at bookstores. But don't spend so much time trying to improve standardized test scores that grades and co-curricular involvement suffer.
  • Write, telephone, or use the Internet to request admission literature and financial aid information from the colleges on your list. There is no charge and no obligation to obtain general information about admission and financial aid.
  • When selecting your senior courses, be sure to continue to challenge yourself academically.
  • Register for the May/June SAT Reasoning Test.
  • Look into summer jobs or apply for special summer academic or enrichment programs.
  • Attend a college fair to get more information about colleges on your list.
  • Get a jump start on summer activities-consider enrolling in an academic course at a local college, pursuing a summer school program, applying for an internship, working, or volunteering. If you work, save part of your earnings for college.
  • Begin visiting colleges.
  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test.
  • After school ends, get on the road to visit colleges. Seeing the college firsthand, taking a tour and talking to students can be the greatest help in deciding whether or not a school is right for you. Although it is ideal to visit colleges during the academic year, going in the summer will be valuable. Admission offices employ their students to give tours and answer questions from prospective students and their parents.
  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test and/or the ACT.
  • Visit colleges, take tours, and ask questions. Involve your parents and siblings in every step of your application process. Choosing the right college is a tough decision; the opinions of those who know you best can provide helpful insight into which college is best for you.
  • Begin preparing for the actual application process
  • Make sure you have all applications required for college admission and financial aid.
  • Check on application and financial aid deadlines for the schools to which you plan to apply. They may vary and it is essential to meet all deadlines!
  • Review your transcript and co-curricular records with your school counselor to ensure their accuracy.
  • Register for the October/November SAT Reasoning Test or September/October ACT.
  • If the colleges require recommendations, ask the appropriate people to write on your behalf. At least three weeks before the due date, ask your counselor and teachers, employers, or coaches to write letters of recommendation. Provide recommendation forms, any special instructions and a stamped, addressed business envelope to the people writing your recommendation. Be thoughtful! Write thank-you notes to those who write recommendations and keep them informed of your decisions.
  • Plan visits to colleges (if you didn't get to them during the summer or if you want to return to a campus for a second time). Read bulletin boards and the college newspaper. Talk with current students and professors.
  • Attend a regional college fair to investigate further those colleges to which you will probably apply.
  • Send applications in time to reach the colleges by the deadlines. Check with your guidance counselor to make sure your transcript and test scores have been/will be sent to the colleges to which you are applying.
  • Register for the December/January SAT Reasoning Test or December ACT if you have not completed the required tests or if you are not happy with your previous test scores and think you can do better.
  • Have official test scores sent by the testing agency to colleges on your list.
  • Take the SAT Reasoning Test. Don't forget to have test scores sent to colleges on your list.
  • Be sure your first quarter grades are good.
  • Continue completing applications to colleges. Make copies of all applications before sending.
  • If you need financial aid, obtain a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) from your guidance office. Check to see if the colleges to which you are applying require any other financial aid form. Register for the CSS Profile if required and obtain the college's own financial aid forms, if available.
  • Keep all records, test score reports and copies of applications for admission and financial aid. Do not throw anything away until at least the end of your first year in college. Having detailed records will save you time and effort should anything be lost or should you decide to apply in the future to other colleges and scholarship programs.
  • Have official test scores sent to colleges on your list if you have not done so.
  • Keep working in your classes! Grades and courses continue to count throughout the senior year.
  • Request that your counselor send the transcript of your first semester grades to the colleges to which you applied.
  • Parents and students, complete your income tax forms as soon as possible. You will need those figures to fill out the FAFSA. Complete and return your FAFSA as quickly as possible after January 1. Check to make sure your colleges or state does not require any other financial aid forms. If they do, consult your guidance counselor or contact the college's financial aid office.
  • Remember to monitor your applications to be sure that all materials are sent and received on time and that they are complete. Stay on top of things and don't procrastinate; you can ruin your chances for admission by missing a deadline.
  • If you completed a FAFSA, you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within four weeks after submitting the FAFSA. Review the SAR carefully and check for any inaccuracies. If necessary, correct any items on the SAR and return it to the FAFSA processor (if a college transmitted your data directly, notify the college of any change).
  • If more than four weeks have passed after sending in your FAFSA and you have not received an acknowledgment, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (319) 337-5665. To identify you, they will need your name, social security number, address, and date of birth exactly as it was written on your FAFSA.
  • Complete scholarship applications. You must be accepted to FAU in order to be eligible for scholarships through the Office of Admission. Our scholarship deadline is
  • Stay focused and keep studying-only a couple more months to go!
  • Office of Undergraduate Admissions Scholarship Deadline: March 1.
  • Review your college acceptances and financial aid awards. Be sure to compare financial aid packages in your decision-making process. If you are positive you will not enroll at one or more of the colleges which accepted you, please notify those colleges that you have selected another college. Keeping colleges abreast of your plans might enable those colleges to admit someone else. If you have been accepted to FAU and you know that you will attend, send your tuition deposit and follow all other instructions for admitted students.
  • By May 1, decide on the one college that you will attend. By May 1, send in your tuition deposit to the college you will attend. Notify the other colleges that accepted you that you have selected another college.
  • BE PROUD-you have completed a difficult task.
  • Take Advanced Placement examinations, if appropriate and request that your AP scores be sent to the college you will attend.
  • Request that your counselor send your final transcript to the college you will attend. Know when the payment for tuition, room and board, meal plans, etc., is due.
  • Congratulations, you've made it through high school! Enjoy your graduation and look forward to college.
  • Look for information in the mail from the college about housing, roommate(s), orientation, course selection, etc. Respond promptly to all requests from the college. August-September
  • Ease the transition into college. Accept the fact that you'll be in charge of your academic and personal life. What you do, when you do it and how things get done will be up to you. You'll have new responsibilities and challenges. Think about budgeting your time and establishing priorities. Take charge of the changes that lie ahead and eliminate or minimize pressures. Go forth with confidence and enthusiasm, willingness to adapt and determination to succeed academically and personally.
  • Pack for college. Don't forget to include things that remind you of friends and family. Be prepared for the new opportunities and challenges. Have a great freshman year!


Review of applications

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. A decision is generally rendered within 6 to 8 weeks after the applicant's file is considered complete . The Office of Admissions will notify you by mail of your admission decision. Correspondence will be sent to your permanent address on file. Applicants may also check their status online. www.fau.edu/admissions/appstatus.php

Your email address will be used as the primary method of communication during the admission process. Please notify us at admissions@fau.edu with updates to your email or mailing address.