Piedmont High School : Achieve the Honorable

College Prep Checklists

The following checklists may be helpful to you as you organize your college path. Not everything in this booklet will apply to you. Choose what is appropriate for you.

Freshman Checklist

  • Attend Freshmen Orientation
  • Visit all the resources on campus—Library, Counseling Office, College & Career Center, etc.
  • Establish strong study habits and time management techniques
  • Become involved in extracurricular activities; join sports and clubs
  • Explore and participate in community service
  • Strengthen your vocabulary by increasing your reading
  • Find a tutor or a friend, if you need help
  • Meet your counselor and start thinking about classes you might want to take while at PHS
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Sophomore Checklist


  • Concentrate on academic preparation and continue to develop basic skills and extracurricular interests
  • Take challenging classes, when appropriate
  • OPTIONAL: Register for the PSAT (this is for practice and not used by colleges)
  • Sign up for extracurricular activities
  • Participate in community service


  • Take the PSAT, if appropriate
  • Stay on top of your academics
  • Be a leader in appropriate situations


  • Receive results from PSAT in December
  • Consult with counselor on PSAT
  • Develop learning strategies/plan for taking SAT and/or ACT in junior year


  • Keep your grades up
  • Continue with community service
  • Explore summer internships and jobs


  • Attend College Fairs
  • Sign up to take summer classes at a nearby college, if appropriate
  • Volunteer or work over summer, take classes or enrichment programs
  • Attend Sophomore Orientation with your parents
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Junior Checklist


  • Visit College & Career Center to check resources
  • Sign up for college visits at College & Career Center
  • Take challenging classes, when appropriate
  • Continue with community service during school year
  • Register with NCAA Clearinghouse by end of junior year if you want to play competitive sports in college (Division I or II)


  • Take the PSAT (sign up at College & Career Center)
  • Have your counselor evaluate your records for college preparation
  • Make sure you are meeting the “a–g” course requirements for UC/CSU
  • Attend the East Bay Consortium’s college fair on the UC Berkeley campus
  • Attend “College Night” at PHS with parents
  • Parents attend “Parent Panel”
  • Continue attending college admission officer visits


  • Network with your peers, family, and friends for information on college choices
  • Start keeping a list of colleges, careers, majors that might interest you
  • Think about the learning environment you do best in
  • Visit local college(s) over Thanksgiving break (Mon–Wed)


  • Visit College & Career Center; pick 2–3 schools and review catalogs, brochures
  • Use the internet for virtual school tours
  • Develop art portfolios, or music/drama audition ideas


  • Plan a strategy for getting the SAT and/or ACT scores you want (study booklet, preparation course)
  • Continue community service
  • Register for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Tests, and/or ACT (based on what your target schools require)
  • Review PSAT scores with math & English teachers
  • Visit College Board’s college, major and career exploration tool (MyRoad)


  • Make a list of your top 15 colleges and begin investigating them
  • Plan college campus visits for your spring break
  • Explore careers/majors more in depth—visit College & Career Center
  • Attend Junior Orientation at College Center, and meet with your counselor to review transcripts, senior classes, etc.
  • Visit colleges (especially California colleges)
  • Research and sign up for summer internships
  • Take SAT or ACT
  • Keep your grades up
  • Fill out and return “Right Match College Questionaire” to counselors


  • Visit colleges
  • Narrow down your 15 schools to 8–10 to focus on investigating further
  • Take SAT or ACT
  • Review test results; decide whether to take preparation course, if re-testing
  • Attend the East Bay College Connection Fair at Saint Mary’s College, Alameda County College Fair at CSU East Bay, and other fairs
  • Attend “Case Studies Night” with parents in May
  • Sign up for and take AP exams in May
  • Begin drafting “brag sheet” or resume to help with filling out college applications


  • Continue to collect information on your top colleges, majors, and career choices
  • Take summer classes
  • Volunteer or get work experience
  • Brainstorm ideas for writing college personal statement—draft statement
  • Discuss college finances with parents
  • Contact Piedmont alumni at various colleges for more information
  • Take test preparation class, if appropriate
  • Continue developing art/music/drama portfolio, if appropriate
  • Review your SAT or ACT scores with counselor to determine eligibility for UC/CSU
  • Visit more colleges during the summer
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Senior Checklist


  • Meet with parents to discuss college finances and any other help you need
  • Register for any additional testing and send scores to schools you are sure you will apply to
  • Check transcripts to make sure they are complete and there are no errors
  • Complete your resume (helps teachers with recommendations, and you with applications)
  • Begin brainstorming essays
  • Begin searching for scholarships


  • Request applications and other materials from schools that interest you
  • Attend college visits of schools you are interested in, at PHS or regionally
  • Create a separate email account for all college info—check it daily
  • Make a list of people to ask for recommendations
  • Complete your questionnaire and Senior Packet, and make an appointment with your counselor
  • Make a list of colleges you will apply to and their deadlines
  • Give teachers recommendation forms


  • Online application opens for Cal State Universities on Oct. 1; remember to check each individual campus for deadlines
  • First draft of UC personal statement
  • Complete essays for early decision/early action
  • Complete any rolling admission, early action, or early decision applications


  • Online application opens for UCs on Nov. 1
  • Continue working on all applications/essays
  • Register for CSS profile (for financial aid at private schools)
  • Financial aid forms to parents (FAFSA and CSS); apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) PIN # (personal ID #), for student and parent
  • Send SAT or ACT test scores to all schools that need them
  • Complete UC application early (online is best) – do not wait until end of Nov., and keep a hard copy
  • UCs and CSU “impacted” campus application deadline is Nov. 30. (Get Return Receipt certificate if using USPS, and staple to your hard copy of application.)


  • Continue working on essays/applications
  • Mail/send applications as they are due; and keep hard copy of all; keep re-checking deadlines
  • Call colleges to make sure your file is complete
  • Complete all testing


  • Keep checking deadlines—most private college applications will be due sometime in January
  • FAFSA form (for your financial aid package) can be filed beginning Jan. 1
  • Send thank you notes to teachers and counselor for recommendations
  • Keep checking with colleges to be sure all applications are complete
  • Call financial aid office at colleges and make sure parents have completed paperwork
  • If you were admitted somewhere by early decision, you must withdraw all other applications


  • Most priority deadlines for CSS Profile are in Feb.


  • FAFSA deadline
  • Cal Grants deadline


  • Preview programs and visit colleges for an overnight
  • Send Intent to Register, and then notification to colleges you are not attending. (Deadline for Intent to Register is usually May 1). If deferring for a Gap Year, notify the college in writing
  • Check for any other deadlines (e.g. housing, scholarships)—some deadlines will be in early May


  • Send deposit for housing
  • Register for AP tests, if appropriate


  • Ask for final transcript to be sent
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Parent & Student Informational Nights

  • October: Parent Panel (panel of previous year’s senior parents)
  • October: College Information Night
  • February: Summer Camp Fair
  • April: Sophomore Orientation
  • March: Junior Orientation
  • May: Case Studies Night (for juniors and their parents)
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