Countdown to College
You probably have lots of questions about college. We'll help you think through the application process and help you get ready.
Your junior year in high school is the perfect time to seriously think about your college plans. With this in mind, we've developed a time line to help guide you in your college search.
- Junior Year (September - October)
- Junior Year (January - March)
- Junior Year (March - June)
- Junior Year (July - August)
- Senior Year (September - December)
- Senior Year (January - February)
- Senior Year (March - August)
Junior Year (September - October)
- Register for and take PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). This is a good practice test. Good scores may lead to a National Merit scholarship.
- Establish an email account which is dedicated to the college search process. Write out entire email address carefully and fully when asked. (Note: It is important that you maintain this same email account for the duration of your college search process since many colleges will communicate with you using this address.)
Junior Year (January - March)
- Discuss college plans with your family.
- What type of program or major interests you?
- How much money can you and your family afford to spend on your college education?
- Would you prefer a two‑year or four‑year school?
- How far from home would you like to be?
- What extracurricular activities would you like to pursue?
- Do you want a big or small campus?
- Would you like a school where you can live on campus?
- Do you need a school that offers academic support services?
- Job shadow someone working in your field of interest. This will give you a good idea of what it’s like to work in your desired field and will confirm for you whether you’ve made the right choice in a college major.
- Begin researching colleges and discuss college options with your school counselor. Your school counselor can provide you with many college search resources. Your school may also have a computer‑aided research program that will help you determine which colleges have what you’re looking for.
- Discuss your preliminary list of possible colleges with your school counselor. Determine if your initial list meets your needs and whether you are likely to be admitted.
- Request information from schools you’re considering.
Junior Year (March - June)
- Attend college night programs located near you. College night programs attract many college representatives who can provide you with information and answer any questions. Many representatives will have a card for you to fill in with information that is needed to put you onto their school’s mailing list.
- Register for ACT and/or SAT tests to be taken March through June. It’s a good idea to take these during your junior year. If necessary, you can retake them as a senior. Alfred State does not require these tests for associate degree programs, but we highly recommend them. They are required for baccalaureate degree programs, for some scholarships, and for those students interested in playing an intercollegiate sport.
- Visit colleges that look interesting. (See “Tips for a Successful College Visit” and “Important Questions to Ask When Selecting a College” sections.) Students are welcome to visit Alfred State during our normal Monday‑Friday visitation schedule. Arrangements can be made for a general campus tour, academic department tour, and an Admissions interview by calling the Admissions Office at 1-800-4-ALFRED or (607) 587‑4215. In addition, Alfred State holds spring open house programs which provide an opportunity to see the campus on an informal basis. Although it doesn’t replace an actual campus visit, a virtual campus tour is also available.
- Begin researching scholarship opportunities. Learn more about scholarships available at Alfred State as well as information on outside scholarship sources.
- Plan your course schedule for your senior year paying careful attention to any specific entrance requirements for your desired major. Refer to this website, viewbook, or catalog for specific entrance requirements for our programs.
Junior Year (July - August)
- Visit schools that you did not have an opportunity to see during the spring. At Alfred State we welcome student visits during the summer. However, be aware that the campus environment is much different than it would be when classes are in session.
- Make the most of your summer vacation. Many colleges offer summer programs for students. You could also volunteer, focus on a hobby, or get a summer job to earn money for college.
Senior Year (September - December)
- If you did not take the ACT or SAT tests during your junior year, or you would like to retake them, register for these tests to be given October through December.
- Once you’ve narrowed your college choices to two-three, revisit these schools either through an individual visit or an open house program. Again, at Alfred State arrangements for a campus visit may be made through our Admissions Office. In addition, each fall we host open house programs when students and their families can visit a variety of departments on campus.
- Ask your school counselor, teachers, or other appropriate people for letters of recommendation to accompany your college applications.
- Do you need to write a college essay for the schools you’re considering? If so, begin formulating the essay.
- Fill out college applications paying careful attention to any application deadlines. Although there is no official application deadline at Alfred State, some programs fill up quickly. For these programs it is important to complete your application at the beginning of your senior year. Contact our Admissions Office for more information.
- Attend college night programs located in your area.
- Meet with college admissions representatives who will be visiting your school.
Senior Year (January - February)
- With your family, attend financial aid workshops which may be conducted at your school or in nearby schools.
- Fill out financial aid paperwork. At Alfred State, students applying for financial aid use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. can complete this form online at www.fafsa.gov. Be sure to call the Alfred State Student Records and Financial Services Office at 1-800-4-ALFRED if you have any questions.
Senior Year (March - August)
- Read carefully all materials received from the colleges. Respond promptly to requests for additional information.
- Make the final decision on the college you’ll attend in the fall.
- Attend any freshman orientation sessions.