If you're wondering, "What should my high school student be doing this month?" this simple checklist will help!


There’s a lot for seniors (and their parents!) to keep track of right now with classes, tutoring, and extracurricular commitments, so here’s a checklist of items that should be completed (or at least well underway).

  • College List. The college list should be finalized, and your child’s college counselor should have a copy of it.
  • Teacher Recs. Did your child choose and ask the right teachers? Teacher recommendations should have been requested by now.  If the teachers didn’t ask for a brag sheet or request an interview, have your child ask if they would find either useful.
  • Applying "Early" or "Priority." November 1 is the early action, early decision, and priority deadline for many colleges (but make sure to double check). This is an important strategy question, so be sure you and your child have discussed where to apply early.
  • Essay Drafts. Drafts of essays should be completed. Even if your child isn’t applying early anywhere (but really, she probably should be) she should be well into her college applications and have drafts of most, if not all, the application essays.
  • SAT/ACT. Last call for standardized tests! The October SAT is October 1, and the October ACT is October 22 (late registration still available). The November SAT is November 5 (registration deadline October 7). Even though it’s late in the game, test prep might still be an option.

If some (or none -- oops!) of these are done don’t panic, we’re here to help. Ask your questions on our private Facebook Group: Free College Counseling. Or if you're looking for 1:1 counseling, get in touch with us.


Juniors will take their PSATs October 19 or 22. It’s just for practice and won’t affect college prospects at all, unless they get National Merit, in which case it will be a nice little star on their application. If your junior has been studying for the PSAT, then it might be a good idea to take the SAT in November since the material will be fresh. It’s also not a bad idea to start considering test prep if you haven’t already enrolled your child in a class. (Though for the money, 1:1 tutoring is often a better value, especially if your kid is the type that will zone out in class or skip all the homework assignments...or both!)


Sophomores will have their first shot at taking the PSAT in October (either the 19th or 22nd). It doesn’t count for anything, and you can’t qualify for National Merit until you’re a junior so don’t sweat this one!


P.S. If you have questions about this post or about anything college, join Free College Counseling, our private Facebook group for parents!