College Counseling Process

When to Take Standardized Tests

Freshmen, sophomores and juniors take the PSAT in October. SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject Tests and ACTs are taken when appropriate for the student in the junior and/or senior year.


In the fall, juniors and seniors have the opportunity to meet on campus in small groups with visiting representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities. An evening forum on the college application process is offered for all Upper School students and parents each fall. In addition, a group of private schools in the Bay Area organize and coordinate a college fair in October with over 200 representatives from all over the United States. Each February, a meeting for junior parents is held to address the college process at Prep. Finally, a college admission case studies program is offered to junior families in January. This program provides each family member an opportunity to experience first-hand how admission committees make decisions.

Yearly Student Checklist/Timetable

» 10th Grade

Programs pertaining to higher education are available to students and parents beginning their sophomore year. Attend these sessions to get a feel for what’s to come. In addition, complete the following steps:

  • Try a new club or hobby that interests you
  • Attend the Bay Area Private School Fair in the fall
  • Attend the NACAC College Fair in the spring
  • Explore interests during the summer
  • Read to expand horizons
» 11th Grade

Beginning the second semester of junior year, students attend the college planning retreat. Following the retreat, students meet individually with their assigned college counselor to discuss all aspects of the college application process and the transition to college. In addition, each junior family has an opportunity to meet with the college counselor to discuss college choices and strategies for success.


  • Meet with college representatives visiting campus
  • Complete self-assessment questionnaires (see pg 13 in College Guide)
  • Attend college admission presentations hosted by Tampa Prep
  • Make a list of types of colleges and criteria that will best meet your needs
  • Research schools that meet your criteria (several resources are available through the College Search Resources page)
  • Take the PSAT (this test serves as the basis for the National Merit Scholarship recognition)
  • Attend the college fair in October
  • Register to take the SAT and ACT in the spring


  • Meet with your college counselor to compile a list of schools that interest you
  • Schedule visits to potential colleges and universities
  • Register for the SAT II (if your colleges require them)
  • Take the ACT and SAT
  • Read through materials sent to you by colleges to further evaluate your list of schools
  • Conduct college research using your Naviance account
  • Review the College Guide


  • Review college websites and take virtual tours
  • Explore outside interests
  • Visit college campuses
  • Begin to work on college essays
  • Update resume/activities list in Naviance
  • Complete your senior biography in Naviance
» 12th Grade


  • Finalize your list of colleges with your counselor
  • Visit the colleges to which you are applying
  • Attend evening programs hosted by the colleges on your list
  • Make note of merit scholarship deadlines
  • Submit applications for early decision (ED) in October and November
  • Submit applications for early action (EA) in October and November
  • Submit applications and meet school deadlines for rolling admission October - December
  • Make requests to teachers and other recommendation writers
  • Request official transcript from your college counselor via Naviance
  • Register for the SAT I, SAT II or ACT if applicable (send scores to your colleges)


  • Finish and submit applications
  • Complete FAFSA and Profile if applying for financial aid


  • Respond to offers of admission and/or scholarships
  • Ask for guidance from counselors if wait listed
  • Attend spring admitted student programs on the college campuses or arrange an individual campus visit
  • Take AP Exams in May
  • Notify your college counselor about which school you will attend
  • Thank your parents and teachers
  • Enjoy the rest of your senior year stress-free!