Mentors Checklist

The college planning process can be daunting for everyone, so it's best to plan ahead and allow plenty of time. In fact, it's a good idea to start college discussions when your teen is in middle school. Help guide your teen though the college planning process by checking out the notes below. You may also want to read through the student-specific tips by clicking on the grade levels (ex: Freshmen) of the main navigation, and then on "Steps to College".


9th Grade

10th Grade

  • Create or review your student's high school plan and make sure he is choosing the right courses and he's on track to meet Kentucky high school graduation requirements.
  • Encourage your student to continue focusing on learning. Colleges will see her grades.
  • Keep your options open--take the most challenging classes you can handle.
  • Ask your school counselor about getting a head start on college classes through AP, dual credit, early college, or IB classes.
  • Go to a college fair or financial aid night at school.
  • Help her research colleges and scholarships with in her ILP
  • Take part in after-school activities or clubs.
  • Consider a part-time job, internship, or volunteer position.

11th grade


  • Make sure your student meets with his school counselor.
  • Talk with your student about what she wants in a college (majors available, size, location, faculty-to-student ratios, sports programs, cost, etc).
  • Choose 5-10 colleges that meet her needs and request information from them.
  • Find out how your student's grades, test scores, etc., compare with the requirements of his college(s) of choice.
  • Encourage her to take challenging courses. If possible, add AP, IB, or dual credit classes.
  • Help your student stay involved in activities and encourage him to take a leadership role.
  • Be sure your student registers to take the PSAT (October).
  • Go to college and financial aid fairs with your child.
  • If your student is interested in the military, he or she will need to register for the ASVAB test. A local recruiter or school counselor can provide more information.


  • If applicable, your student should sign up to take the SAT in May or June. See a school counselor for details.
  • Your student can begin to prepare for SAT and/or ACT by taking practice tests (lots of free ones online!).
  • Read all information you and your student receive from her preferred colleges.
  • Pay attention to school announcements and communications about guidance office events such as spring open houses and college tours.
  • Check deadlines.  Get familiar with the application and financial aid deadlines at your student's top choice schools and make sure he puts them on his calendar.
  • Look for and apply for scholarships.
  • Ask her if she's decided on a college major.


  • Take the ACT (All Kentucky juniors take the ACT in March).
  • Sign up for college campus visits/tours with your student.
  • Help your student create a resume. A school counselor or college & career advisor is a great resource for help.
  • If she hasn't already, make sure she plans her senior year courses to meet all graduation requirements.
  • Encourage your student to apply for summer jobs or internships, or look for volunteer opportunities.
  • Sit down with your student and help him narrow his list of colleges to five.
  • Suggest adults who might write your student a letter of recommendation for their college applications (think about church or community leaders, teachers, coaches, etc.).
  • Remember your student can apply to college under early decision or dual enrollment programs.
  • Remind your student to registration for June SAT or ACT tests, if needed.


  • Your student should request applications from your top colleges of choice.
  • Have him work on his personal statement (many applications require students to write a short essay about themself).
  • Visit college campuses with your student.
  • If you intend to play NCAA sports, register for Initial Eligibility. You cannot play, practice, or be recruited until you are certified by the NCAA's Initial Clearinghouse
  • If possible, save money for college.
  • If you're applying for an early decision, request high school transcript(s) and letters of recommendation from teachers, etc; send them in with your application.

12th Grade


  • Create your FSA ID for your Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at
  • Save September pay stubs to complete your FAFSA next month
  • Get organized! Start a calendar with all test names, registration dates, and fees as well as admissions and financial aid deadlines.
  • Start a binder or folder to file all correspondence.
  • Choose top 5 colleges and request applications.
  • If applying early decision, check with admissions office for deadlines.
  • Sign up for October or November ACT and/or SAT I and SAT II tests.
  • Apply for scholarships.


  • Fill out your FAFSA (available October 1 for students entering college in 2017 or later)
  • Request letters of recommendation.
  • Ask teachers, and others to help you with your personal essays.
  • Take SAT I, SAT II and/or ACT exams.
  • Attend college fairs.
  • Visit/tour colleges.
  • Ask colleges about financial aid forms.
  • Meet with your school counselor to check in on progress.
  • Keep up with grades and homework.
  • Submit applications to out-of-state colleges.


  • Sign back into your FAFSA or call 1-800-433-3242 to check the status of your application. If you have been selected for verification, check with your counselor about how to respond.
  • Get financial aid applications from colleges.
  • Get five copies of high school transcripts.
  • Males 18 and up must register for Selective Service to get federal financial aid. Register online at
  • Take SAT I, SAT II and/or ACT exams.
  • If necessary, register to retake SAT and/or ACT tests in December or January. Click here for testing dates.
  • Submit applications to KY state schools.
  • Apply for scholarships


  • Mail admissions applications, if due
  • Do colleges have your recommendations?
  • Apply for scholarships


  • If due, mail admissions applications and/or make sure they've been received.
  • Make sure all admissions files are complete
  • Keep copies of all forms you mail.
  • Schools may want a tax return to prove financial aid eligibility. Make sure to check the status of your FAFSA online
  • Mail end-of-semester transcripts to colleges.
  • Apply for scholarships.


  • When you get your Student Aid Report, make sure your colleges of choice are listed.
  • If the SAR asks for updated information, or you need to make a correction, do so ASAP. Failure to respond could cost you financial aid!
  • College admissions letters start to go out.
  • Apply for scholarships


  • Contact financial aid offices to see if your application is complete.
  • If you're not admitted to any colleges, see your school counselor for guidance.
  • Review financial aid awards from colleges.
  • Decide which school to attend and notify all colleges by May 1.
  • Apply for on- or off-campus housing.
  • Respond to all letters from your college of choice by due date!


  • Within 10 days of graduation, remind your high school to send your official final transcript to your college.
  • Finalize summer school or job plans.
  • Double check campus housing arrangements.
  • Participate in freshman orientation and tour programs.
  • Register for your first semester of college classes
  • Take any required placement tests.
  • Save money for college expenses.