12th Grade Checklist

The majority of the resources provided here can be found at bigfuture.collegeboard.org


First Semester

  • Strengthen your college list

    A strong college list includes a mix of schools where you can thrive both academically and socially. Using your GPA and test scores, you can sort through colleges on BigFuture to identify schools that are a good fit for you. Incorporate at least three reach schools, two match schools, and one safety school—not only will this strengthen your list, but you'll be automatically entered into our monthly scholarship drawings!


  • Visit colleges

    If you haven’t already, make plans to check out the campuses of colleges you are applying to. Use the Campus Visit Checklist to learn how to get the most out of these experiences.


  • Get ready for college applications

    If you plan to apply to colleges, there's a lot to keep track of during your senior year. We created this guide to help you stay organized. 


  • Meet with the school counselor

    Meet with the school counselor to talk through your final list of colleges to apply to and any tasks you need to complete before deadlines.  


  • Decide if you want to take the SAT again

    Many students take the SAT a second time to improve their score. Ask your counselor or principal if your school is offering the SAT on a school day this fall. If not, you can register to take it on a weekend at a test center near you.


  • Connect with colleges and scholarships

    Want to start hearing from colleges and scholarship programs looking for students like you? Opt in to  Student Search Service so they can contact you directly. You'll learn about life on campus, scholarships, financial aid, and more.


  • Commit to taking AP exams

    Regardless of your AP Exam score, completing an AP course and exam shows your determination to tackle college-level work. Learn more about the ways you'll benefit.


  • Explore scholarships

    Now is the time to find scholarships to help you pay for college. Discover scholarship opportunities from over 6,000 different programs and organizations. You can find matches based on your intended major, cultural background, and other factors. 


  • Send your SAT scores to colleges

    Sending your SAT scores to colleges is often up to you. Talk with your counselor about their recommendation based on colleges’ admission test policies. Some colleges allow SAT superscores, meaning that you can combine your section-level scores across multiple test attempts to maximize your score.


  • Create your college application plan

    Keep your college application process organized by making a checklist and creating virtual or physical folders to store your materials in. This will help you keep track of everything you need and ensure that you submit your applications on time!


  • Write and revise your application essay

    Much like letters of recommendation, your essay gives colleges insight into who you are beyond test scores or grades. It also gives you a chance to demonstrate your writing skills and show off your personality. After drafting your essay, seek feedback from a trusted mentor, teacher, or current college student to make your essay is the best it can be.


  • Complete the FAFSA

    The most common way to apply for financial aid is by filling out the FAFSA, or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. While this form may seem a little daunting, we have many resources to help you out. You’ll want to start by creating an FSA ID and identifying someone who can help you complete the form, such as a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.


  • Complete and submit your college applications

    Once you’ve reviewed your application(s), it’s time to send them off to your chosen schools. Congratulations—you did it!


  • Complete and submit scholarship applications

    Once you’ve identified the scholarships you are eligible for, it’s time to fill out the applications. Be sure to include all of the required components, which may include essays, test scores, or short responses. Keep an eye on the application deadlines too—they can sneak up on you if you don’t plan ahead!


  • Explore careers and majors

    As you start to think about what kind of jobs you might want to pursue or potential majors, take the career quiz to learn about potential career paths based on your interests. 


Second Semester

  • Complete your CSS profile

    Some colleges might also require that you submit the CSS Profile application to award financial aid. Research if the schools you're applying to require it. The CSS Profile asks about things like familial income, assets, and expenses, so you will likely need a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult to assist you in gathering the needed materials.


  • Update your college application status

    Update your college application status on BigFuture to keep track of whether you’ve been accepted or not. 


  • Get ready for AP exams

    This year stay focused on following through. Completing an AP Exam always has benefits, no matter your score. It shows colleges you’re willing to challenge yourself by completing college-level coursework. And if it’s your first time taking an AP Exam, learn what to expect so you’ll feel confident on test day. You go many free resources online to aid you in preparing for your AP Exams.


  • Understand your financial aid offers

    Cost is an important factor to consider when picking a college. Review your award letters to learn more about how much each school might actually cost your family after aid to help inform your decision.


  • Review and send your AP exam score(s)

    AP Exam scores are released in early July. Check out these tips to ensure you're ready to view yours and learn how to send them to colleges for credit.



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