Outreach Toolkit: College Readiness Checklist

Keep these tips in mind as you create your plan for college.



Getting into College: A Readiness Guide (2023)
UNCF’s college readiness brochure provides a comprehensive college readiness checklist, outlines the pivotal steps in preparing for college, and shares additional websites and resources that are useful to students as they prepare for their post-secondary journey.



Here’s what you need to do:

1)  Ensure you have taken all necessary courses to graduate on time.

2)  Sign up to take college placement exams, if necessary.

3)  Take ACT/SAT; seek waiver if eligible via your high school and/or through ACT or SAT websites.

4)  Set up appointments with your guidance counselor to discuss college choices and potential majors.

5)  Research colleges and majors. Set up tours and visits if you able to do so.

6)  Complete the FAFSA (https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa) as soon as possible. The form is posted annually starting Oct. 1. Many states and colleges have specific deadlines for applying for state and institutional aid. You can find your state’s deadline at https://studentaid.gov/apply-for-aid/fafsa/fafsa-deadlines and check with your college about other deadlines.

7)  Search for scholarships and financial aid.

8)  Request high school transcripts to be sent to colleges.

9)  Request letters of recommendation for scholarships and college applications that require them. Try to do this at least one month in advance.

10) Draft college essays. Have at least one person review the draft.

11) Complete and send off applications. Apply by the fall of your senior year, if possible, but be sure to check the college/university websites for key deadlines.

12) Avoid the summer melt. Stay on top of important information colleges may request, such as forms related to on-campus housing, immunizations, financial aid and new student orientations.