College Four Year Planning Timeline

  • Preparing For Post-High School Applications

    • TEST SCORES: Register to take the ACT or SAT.  You can register over the summer for the August 27, 2022 SAT ( Also, are you considering a college that requires a subject test SAT?  Check out the Collegeboard website for more information on subject tests!  You can also register now for the July 16th ACT ( The deadline to register is June 17th.  Some schools are test optional.  If you choose not to submit scores, you will have to apply test-optional.  If you believe an SAT or ACT score would complement your application, submit the scores.  With many institutions, if you go test optional, additional essays will be required to complete your application.
    • NAVIANCE: Sign on to Naviance using your PowerSchool username and password. Explore the site and get familiar with its features. You will need this site when applying to post-high school institutions:  Naviance will be you and your school counselors' connection to important documents post-high schools need to complete applications.
    • LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: If you have not done so already, ask 1-3 people for letters of recommendation. You can use the resume builder on Naviance to ask for a formal letter.   
    • CAMPUS VISITS: Start visiting colleges or universities that interest you. Research expectations from those colleges (i.e. do they have a language requirement, do they want SAT Subject test, what classes do they expect to see on your transcript, etc.). You can also reach out to the admissions department and attend virtual college events or a scheduled video chat.
    • EARLY ACTION OR EARLY DECISION: Do you plan on doing Early Action or Early Decision? Please note that early decision is BINDING! You withdraw any other applications if you choose early decision. With early action you receive an admissions decision no later than February. With early action, you do not have to commit upon receipt. Do your research on both options before applying!
    • WORK EXPERIENCE: Consider a summer job or volunteer experience.  Any outside of school activities can be used when applying to schools and/or scholarships. 
    • APPLICATION TYPES: Review the Common Application and Coalition for College websites, what is needed to complete these applications, and if your post high school institution is a Common App or Coalition school ( (  If your post high school is not a common application school, you will apply right on the institutions website.  
    • ESSAYS: Draft application essays.  Each prompt may be different, verify through the college/university website what essays they are asking for. 
    • FINAL LIST: Finalize your list of 6-10 post high school institutions.
    • DEADLINES: Be aware of all admission deadlines!
    • TRANSCRIPTS: Your transcript is an academic record listing classes taken, grade received, grade point average, and class rank.  Schools use  your transcript to determine admissions.  If you need a transcript prior to school starting in August, fill out a transcript release (found on the high school guidance website) and get it to Mrs. Auch in the school counseling office. 
    • DIVISION SPORTS: Prospective Student Athletes, read the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Athlete.  Those athletes interested in pursuing Division I or Division II university sports should register with the Clearinghouse by visiting their site at
    • FINANCIAL AID: It is important to ask the question "How am I going to pay for my postsecondary education".   There is assistance available from the federal government, state government, scholarships, and even the higher education institutions themselves.  For more information, go to,, or


    • Meet with your guidance counselor to determine a four-year course plan
    • Learn about college acceptances
    • Set academic goals
    • Become involved in extracurricular activities: seek leadership roles whenever you can
    • Discuss how to pay for your college with your parents
    • Start gathering information on career fields that interest you


    • Register for the PSAT ($25 cash or check to OASD, send to Mrs. Auch in the guidance office)
    • Make a list of features you want in a college
    • Start searching the internet for schools that interest you
    • Examine college information resources in guidance and the library
    • Start making a list of schools to exam more carefully
    • Contact admissions offices and ask for brochures and information
    • Consider a job or volunteer experience in your field of interest



    • Register to take the PSAT (in preparation for the SAT in the winter and/or spring) (this can be done in guidance).
    • Check dates and locations of local college fairs (Chester County College Fair is held in November of every year at the Exton Square Mall)
    • Sign up for College visits at Oxford Area High School (see guidance for more information)


    • Attend College Fairs
    • Take the PSAT to be considered for National Merit Scholarships


    • Refine your list of schools; eliminate the ones that do not meet the criteria
    • Request catalogs for schools remaining on your list
    • Compare and contrast admissions policies, academic programs and placement opportunities for each school


    • Examine PSAT results to determine areas that need improvement
    • Request catalogs for schools remaining on your list
    • Compare and contrast admission policies, academic programs and placement opportunities for each school

    January and February

    • Continue narrowing the number of schools in your file
    • Talk to your counselor and gather information on the application process


    • Start preparing for Advanced Placement (AP) Exams
    • Register to take the SAT or ACT (Taking them early will allow you time to retake them if you are not satisfied with your scores)


    • Take the SAT and/or ACT or register for the May tests


    • Final opportunity to take required tests for those applying early decision


    • Start visiting colleges or universities that interest you
    • Consider a summer job or volunteer experience in your area of interest
    • Study for the SAT or ACT. Consider taking a test preparation course, online tutorial or self-help books
    • Review common or universal application; complete short answers (
    • Draft application essays. Ask your parents, counselor or English teacher to review your essays and make comments for revision
    • Finalize your list of 6-10 favorite colleges or universities
    • Determine how you will meet costs at selected schools
    • Note all admission deadlines
    • Continue to visit schools that interest you. Arrange for interviews while on campus or with assigned alumnus at home
    • Start filling out admission applications
    • Develop a resume
    • Decide which teachers and other people you would like to write letters of recommendation.  It is best practice to use a resume or brag sheet so the teacher can reference all your amazing accomplishments in their letter!  Feel free to use the resume feature on Naviance or the attached student brag sheet!



    • Register to take or retake the SAT and/or ACT
    • Request that official test scores be sent to schools where you are applying
    • Meet with college representatives (there are several opportunities to meet representatives for colleges at Oxford Area High School. See your counselor for more details)
    • Check dates and locations of college fairs and parents nights in your area


    • Take or retake SAT and/or ACT
    • Make a final list of your six top college choices
    • Attend College Fairs
    • Finalize application packets
    • Send early decision or early action applications
    • Request high school forward official copies of transcript and counselor recommendation to schools where you applied
    • Promptly respond to any request from admissions officers
    • Starting October 1st, you can submit the FAFSA


    • Submit admission applications


    • Request transcripts of first semester grades be sent to select colleges/universities
    • Apply for outside scholarships


    • See if mid-year transcripts have been sent


    • Register and start studying for advanced placement tests


    • Expect to receive letters of acceptance or non-acceptance
    • Review all acceptance packages carefully
    • Make final visits to schools that have sent acceptance letters to make final decision
    • Select the school you plan to attend and send a deposit by specified deadline
    • Notify schools of your decision
    • Send thank you notes to those who wrote you recommendations
    • Register to take advanced placement tests


    • Take any remaining Advanced Placement (AP) tests
    • Request that your final transcript be sent to the college you have selected