College Application Roadmap
The road to college can be confusing, but the PTSA is here to help!  Here are suggestions on what to be aware of as you are thinking about college.
 
First-years (Freshmen):
 
Second-years (Sophomores):
  • Start to specialize in whatever club/activity that you are interested in.  It is better to be involved deeply with 1 or 2 activities than shallowly with 5 activities.
  • Be open to leadership opportunities.
  • Take a practice SAT/ACT, if you like.
  • Spring - Decide if you will go the Advanced Placement (AP) or Running Start route for your junior/senior years, if you want college credit in high school.  AP classes are held at IHS while Running Start is often at Bellevue College.  Running Start credit may not transfer to out-of-state private colleges, but is recognized by all Washington State public colleges.  AP scores are recognized nation-wide.
 
Third-years (Juniors):
  • Begin taking leadership roles in your activities.
  • Fall/Winter/Spring - Take the real SAT or real ACT, if preferred.  Many colleges are test-optional.  You do not have to send your scores to colleges.  IHS may host an SAT session at the school in the spring.
  • Fall - Visit the College and Career Counseling Website to see when college representatives are visiting IHS.  Some colleges will record when a student has attended an information session.  The elite private colleges will not.
  • Spring - Start visiting colleges to see what style you like (large, small, urban, rural, public, private).
  • Spring - Review your grades.  Request with IHS Counseling if you need to adjust your high school transcript (e.g. add/delete 8th grade classes).  This can only be done once.
  • Spring - Check out the IHS Counseling presentation for juniors.  They will also do this during school hours.
  • May/June - Ask a current teacher for a letter of recommendation to college.  Some teachers limit the number of recommendations they write (e.g. AP Lang Arts teacher).  Some colleges will require one letter from a Math/Science teacher and one from a Language Arts/Social Studies teacher.
 
Summer between Junior & Senior year:
 
Fourth-years (Seniors):
  • Sept - Request teachers' Letters of Recommendation.  Many require that you fill out a form.  Some limit the number they will do.  Be sure to send a thank you note.
  • Fall - Visit colleges to see what style you like (large, small, urban, rural, public, private). 
  • Fall - Narrow down your list of colleges.  Have a conversation on what the family can afford.
  • Fall - Visit the College and Career Counseling Website to see when college representatives are visiting IHS.  Some colleges will record when a student has attended an information session.  
  • Sept/Oct - Work on your college applications.  Many require multiple essays.
  • Oct - Request a transcript sent to the Common App through Parchment.
  • Oct - Request a Counselor Letter of Recommendation, if required by your college.  IHS Counselors require a 2-page form and 10 school days to send a letter of recommendation. 
  • Oct 1 - FAFSA and WASFA open.  FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid while WASFA is the Washington Application for State Financial Aid for undocumented students.  There are limited funds, so apply early.  FAFSA is required for some academic scholarships even if you can afford to pay for the college in full.  Here is information on how to fill out the FAFSA.
  • Nov 1 - deadline for many early action/decision colleges 
  • Nov 15 - deadline for University of Washington (UW)
  • Nov 30 - deadline for University of California (UC) schools
  • Jan 1 - deadline for many regular action colleges
  • mid-March/April - colleges will respond on acceptance.  Let colleges know if you will not attend as soon as possible so they can give the spot to someone else.
  • May 1 - response deadline to colleges.  Some students wear their new college T-shirt on this day.