With multiple steps and deadlines to keep track of, the college application process can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve created this timeline and checklist to help you stay on track and put your best foot forward when applying to your dream schools.

  • Create a college list. Research different colleges you may be interested in. Review their tuition rates, distance from home, admission requirements, and application deadlines.
  • Visit your top schools. Visiting campus gives you the chance to picture yourself as a student. Many visits can be booked online, and some schools even offer fly-in programs if you’re traveling in from a long distance.
  • Reach out to your admissions counselor. Introducing yourself is a great way to show your interest in the school. Many colleges record all contact you have with them and may refer to this information during the application review process.
  • Decide on your essay topic. The essay is your chance to tell your story, and give your admissions counselor a glimpse of something about yourself that they won’t see anywhere else in your application. Start brainstorming meaningful ideas that are authentically you.
  • Schedule an interview. Interviews with admissions representatives allows counselors to learn more about you. This will also give you the chance to ask questions and learn more about the school. In return, counselors will be able to refer back to that information during the application review process.
  • Stay focused in school. Senioritis is a real thing. As you start preparing for college, high school might seem less important, however, many schools will actually check in to ensure you’re maintaining strong grades during your senior year.
  • Finish up your essay. The essay is an influential part of your application. Don’t wait until the night before to start working on it, and don’t overlook questions asking why you’re interested in attending a particular college.
  • Familiarize yourself with how to apply. Determine if the colleges you’ll be applying to are members of the Common Application (a website where you answer certain application questions once, and your answers are sent to all schools you’d like to apply to), or if they have a different application of their own. Check with your admissions counselor to see if you’re eligible for application fee waivers.
  • Fill out the FAFSA and your CSS Profile. If you’re applying for financial aid, most schools require the FAFSA, and some require both the FAFSA and CSS profile. Both are available on October 1 (and if you apply by WPI’s November 1 Early Application deadline and have your financial aid documents submitted, you’ll receive your financial aid package months ahead of schedule).
  • Apply to college. WPI is an Early Action school, which means that if you’re accepted after applying Early Action, you still have until May 1 to make your decision. Early Action deadlines are November 1 and January 1; the Regular Decision deadline is February 1.
  • Review mail from your colleges. All the emails, letters, and pamphlets can be overwhelming, but they offer valuable glimpses into the community you’ll be entering into and what the colleges prioritize in education.
  • Check in on financial aid. If you have any questions about your aid package, your financial aid counselor is here to help.
  • Attend Accepted Student Day. Many schools offer events specifically for accepted students. They’re a great way to get any last-minute questions answered, talk with current students, and meet potential new classmates.
  • Make your decision. U.S. colleges and universities have a universal deposit deadline of May 1. Find out the amount required to enroll at your college, and send in your decision.
  • Enjoy the rest of your senior year. After the deposit deadline, your college will be in touch with next steps on housing, dining, and class registration. Pat yourself on the back and get ready for the exciting journey ahead. Congratulations!