Four Year Timeline

College Planning for Freshmen
College Planning for Sophomores
College Planning for Juniors
College Planning for Seniors

9th Grade:

  • Start talking about college with your parents, friends, teachers, and counselor.
  • Work with Mr. Rezzo to create a Four-Year Plan
  • Create profiles on CFNC and Collegeboard and utilize their helpful tools
  • Explore colleges, entrance requirements, majors, and careers (check out BigFuture, CFNC, and MyNextMove websites)
  • High school portfolios and resumes: Keep track of accomplishments, awards/honors, extra-curricular activities, and volunteer work.
  • Get involved! Find a few things you enjoy doing and pursue those passions over the next four years. Colleges like to see depth and upward trajectory in a few key areas rather than mere involvement in a “bunch of things”
  • How are you spending your summer? Talk with your parents and counselor about volunteering and educational programs that align with your interests.
  • Be the best student you can be NOW! You will want to look back on your four years proud of what you accomplished in and out of the classroom. Do not kick yourself later for not taking high school seriously from the start.

10th Grade:

  • Sign up for the PSAT in October (Listen for announcements)
  • Take Pre-ACT in October (No sign-up required). Give full-effort on these practice exams to prepare you for the real thing.
  • Continue pushing your schoolwork to the next level. A strong academic record will prepare you well for success in college and beyond.
  • Stay involved! Focus in on a few extra-curriculars and work towards growth and leadership.
  • Create preliminary college list. Research and visit colleges that interest you. Sign up for information on their admissions pages and follow them on social media.
  • Attend Mr. Rezzo’s college rep visits and college tours.
  • Look into summer programs with specialty focuses in addition to jobs and community service.
  • Consider taking a college course at local community college over the summer through College & Career Promise
  • Prepare for ACT and SAT to be taken Junior year. Buy a book and/or use online program such as Khan Academy.

11th Grade:

  • Look up schedules for the SAT over the summer. Prepare and take when ready.
  • Continue to prep for state-required ACT in February which will be taken for free here at MCA. No registration required.
  • Sign up and take the most challenging classes you can handle.
  • Register for the October PSAT: National Merit Scholarship qualifier for Juniors and extra practice.
  • Search for scholarship opportunities, ESPECIALLY school-specific scholarship programs.
  • Narrow your list of colleges to include a few colleges with requirements at your current GPA, a few with requirements above your current GPA, and at least one with requirements below your GPA
  • Carefully select courses for your senior year. Colleges will still consider the strength of your schedule, even without any grades available (when you send transcripts to colleges only grades through Junior year will be included)
  • Take a second look at colleges of interest. Call ahead for appointments with admissions and financial aid offices. Consider an over-night visit if possible.
  • If you go on interviews or visits, don’t forget to send thank-you notes.


Summer Between 11th and 12th Grades:

  • Work on applications and essays as much as possible in advance.
  • Decide if you are going to apply under any early decision or early action programs. This requires you to submit your applications early, typically between October 1st and December 1st.
  • Continue to take advantage of volunteer and educational programs.
  • Prep for SAT or ACT if re-take is needed.


12th Grade:


  • Use CFNC and Common App accounts for most applications and sending transcripts.
  • Re-take ACT or SAT if needed (Be mindful of Early Decision or Early Action deadlines)
  • Apply for scholarships. College-specific scholarships due in Fall. Check deadlines.
  • Attend college fair with Mr. Rezzo. Touch base with admissions reps of your college choices.
  • Chat with Mr. Rezzo about your plans
  • College list should be mostly solidified and deadlines for these schools should be organized.


  • Take advantage of college rep visits. Re-connect with admissions reps.
  • Finish College Applications (feel free to seek editing help from Mr. Rezzo or a teacher!)
  • Opens October 1st now. Fill out ASAP. Federal aid awards made until funds deplete.
  • Fill out CSS Profile for more non-federal aid (Davidson, Duke, Elon, Chapel Hill, WFU)


  • Submit applications.
  • College Application Week (one week in November many NC schools will waive application fee)


  • Continue submitting apps.
  • ED/EA decision notifications sent.
  • Enjoy Christmas vacation!


  • Regular decision deadlines.
  • Submit mid-year transcript if needed by colleges of choice
  • Finish second semester strong. Colleges can and will withdraw your admission offer if grades/behavior become an issue.


  • CFNC,, Fastweb. Deadlines!
  • Consider local scholarships as well. Deadlines are strict!


  • Attend “accepted students days”
  • College Acceptances (celebrate the good news with Mr. Rezzo.)
  • Don’t lose heart at non-acceptances. You have so much to offer and experience wherever you go.


  • Pay attention to emails from colleges
  • Attend open houses and orientations
  • Compare financial aid offerings
  • Submit deposit and make decision by MAY 1st.


  • Send in decision by MAY 1st. Notify other schools of decision.
  • Send final transcripts if needed.
  • Graduate! You did it!