: Put together your personal and academic resume.

: Get to know the admissions criteria for your top schools. Know where you stand relative to those requirements and work toward changing what you can, if you happen to fall short.

: Sit down with everyone who has a stake in your college decision making and solicit their input. Listen to what they have to say.

: Gather applications for the schools you’re considering. Note deadlines for admission, scholarships, housing, and more. Develop a timetable of deadlines.

: Write essays for your college applications and ask your English teachers to review them.

: Ask for letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, and employers. Choose people who actually know you and give them plenty of time to write the letters.

: Borrow scholarship information—such as contact names, addresses, applications, etc. from someone a year ahead of you in school who received several scholarships.

: Meet early admission deadlines.

: Apply for scholarships before Christmas break. Verify the arrival of your application, transcripts, and other materials.

: Attend a financial aid workshop and apply for financial aid as soon as possible after

January 1st.

: Choose the college you’ll attend and let that college know of your decision. Notify other colleges whose offers you are turning down.

: Submit any enrollment deposits if needed.

: Send thank-you letters to those who wrote letters of recommendation and let them know about your decision.