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College Planning

Preparing for college is a process and one that begins the first day of the Freshman year.  Below you will find a list of steps that should be completed each year to be ready to make decisions about college and your future. The Senior year list is long but will be eased greatly if you accomplish the necessary steps in the prior years.


Make the most of high school!

  • Participate in activities
  • Try different classes
  • Review your study habits (See Study Tools in this website)
  • Look for ways to improve
  • Do your very best in all your classes (Grades DO matter to colleges)
  • Do something creative
  • Be adventuresome
  • Research possible careers (See Career Searching in this website)
  • Review your EXPLORE or PSAT  test results and how they relate to your career and educational plans.


  • Attend SW MO Regional College Fair @ MSSU in October.
  • Prepare to take the ACT
  • Practice exams are available in the Guidance Center.
  • Check out the ACT "How to" books in the Guidance Center
  • Check out the Test Prep in this website
  • Register for ACT Super Saturday (Aug/Sept)
  • ACT Enhancement Workshop (Oct.)
  • Practice!  Practice!  Practice!
  • Job shadow in the field of your career interest.
  • Volunteer in an area that interests you.
  • Learn something about yourself.
  • Giving to others matters!
  • Begin writing your resume
  • Keep a record of your
    • Shadowing experiences
    • Volunteer efforts
    • Academic awards
    • Special projects
    • Jobs
    • Other learning experiences
  • Research possible careers (See Career Planning in this website)
  • Prepare to take the PSAT exam.
  • Register for PSAT Prep Classes
  • Review vocabulary
  • Take practice tests
  • Check out Guidance Center resources
  • Check out the Test Prep in this website
  • Review eligibility for college entrance, scholarships, and NCAA.
  • Review your study habits
  • Look for ways to improve
  • Do something creative
  • Try something new!


  • Take challenging courses and make the best grades possible.  Remember GPA matters!
  • Continue to research your career choices
  • Register & take the ACT until you are satisfied with your score
  • Attend SW MO Regional College Fair @ MSSU in October.
  • Take the PSAT (Check out the SAT/PSAT page in this website)
  • SAT preview exam
  • National Merit Qualifying Test
  • Search for schools of interest.
  • Plan to visit at least 3 schools.
  • Each junior student is given 2 college visit days
  • Decide what schools you will apply to.
  • Begin writing your college essay.
  • Compare your career choice(s) with interested schools academic/training programs.

Summer before Senior Year

  • Begin searching for scholarships (Check out the Scholarship page in this website)
  • Make a calendar for application & scholarship deadlines.
  • Complete your campus visits.
  • Register with NCAA for college sports.
  • Compose your resume`.
  • Volunteer if possible in the field of your career interest.



  • Choose three or four schools you are interested in.  Request Applications
  • Search for private scholarships (Web & Guidance Office)
  • Register for ACT or SAT (should be final time to take these exams)
  • Compile a list of school, community, church activities involved in and leadership roles
  • Create a calendar of deadlines for admissions, scholarship and financial aid applications and test registrations


  • October 1 is the first date you may file FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  FAFSA is based on the previous year tax information (see February 1 note about Missouri State deadline)
  • Apply to schools most interested in
  • Request financial aid information. Review application procedures and deadlines
  • Schedule final campus visits if necessary before making application
  • Attend college/career night
  • Continue to search for private scholarships
  • Work on essays for scholarship and school applications
  • Ask key individuals who know you well to write a recommendation (should have at least 3)


  • Collect completed letters of recommendation
  • Send college admission applications (well in advance of the deadlines)
  • Schedule campus visits with financial aid and your department


  • February 1 is the deadline for Missouri State Money for Education
  • Meet all financial aid deadlines
  • Respond to requests for information from admissions or financial aid offices
  • Register for CLEP tests
  • Schools will begin sending acceptance and financial award letters


  • Select a school and notify the admissions office
  • Notify schools not attending that you applied to
  • Pay the required deposits for enrollment and/or residence hall
  • Contact school financial aid office for loan applications if necessary


  • Request that final high school transcript be sent
  • Contact admissions office to verify that all needed information is complete
  • Follow all instructions from school regarding admission and financial aid
  • Attend orientation programs when offered
  • Schedule a visit with your academic advisor
  • Pre-register for classes for fall semester