• College Application Timeline - Getting Started

    Starting to feel the stress of the College Application Process? As you enter your last year of high school, you're solidifying your plans for after you graduate. If you're planning to apply to college, here are some important steps to help you get your college application process started.


    Step 1: Create and Finalize Your College List


    Everyone is different and your college list should meet your wants and needs. Here are some general guidelines to consider for your college list:

    Consider what your wants and needs are and what kind of school can meet those wants and needs.

    Use this Choosing the Right College worksheet from ECMC: The College Place to help you consider different factors and think about what kind of school would be the best fit for you: 

    Consider aiming to apply between 5 and 8 schools. Make sure your list includes Safeties, Matches, and Reach schools:

    Safeties (1-2): Your GPA and SAT/ACT scores are higher than the average score range of last year’s freshman class. These are colleges that you feel you have a very good chance of getting into and that you think you can afford to attend. They should also be colleges you would be happy to attend.

    Matches (2-4): Your GPA and SAT/ACT scores are solidly in the same score range as last year’s freshman class. These are colleges that you feel you have a good chance of getting into and that are good matches for you overall.

    Reaches (1-2): Your GPA and SAT/ACT scores are lower than the average score range of last year’s freshman class. These are colleges that you think may be more of a challenge to get into, but you want to reach for it. Getting in is not a sure thing, but it’s realistic enough to be worth the effort of applying. Remember: colleges consider the whole package!

    By having a balanced list, you’re adding colleges that you may not have considered before. Ultimately, it’s important to build a list that reflects your wants and needs and dreams, while also keeping in mind what schools can meet those needs and help you succeed. Here aresome tips for How to Finalize your Balanced College List from The College Board: Big Future.

    Log into MaiaLeraning using your PPS student email and add your list of schools to your Considering List!


    Step 2: Organize your Deadlines and Application Materials 

    Update your MaiaLearning Applying List. Send your College List to your Counselor through THIS FORM so they know where to send your transcripts. This is VERY important!

    Visit the website for each college on your list to know the application dealines and understand what you will need to complete each application.

    Consider using the "Colleges" and "Deadline" worksheets in this Oregon Goes to College "It's A Plan: College Workbook" to stay orgaized, or create your own!

    Specific application requirements to look for on each college website:

    • Application Deadline? Are you planning to apply Early Action or Regular Decision? Make sure to keep track of your deadlines!
    • Counselor Letter of Recommendation required? If so, go to the College Application Process tab of the Counselor Website to get all the information you need for how to request a Letter of Rec from your counselor. You must submit necessary info and materials to your counselor at least three weeks before your college application deadline. Note: If a Counselor Letter of Rec is not required for the schools you are applying to, don't worry about this step! Either way, make sure you are communicating with your counselor!
    • Other Letters of Recommendation? Teacher, Coach, Mentor? How many letters are required, and does the college website have suggestions about what kind of letters they're looking for? Make sure to start thinking about who you would like to ask to write your letters and look at your MaiaLearning account to become familiar with how to request your letters of rec. 
    • SAT or ACT required? Some schools require test scores, and others don't. Make sure to check the college websites to know what the schools you're applying to require. If test scores are required, get an idea of the score range the college is looking for.
    • Application Platform? Do you have to apply directly on the College Website? Does the college partner with Common App or Coalition App?
    • You will be able to find all this information through the Admissions Page of the college websites, so make sure to check!


    Step 3: Start your Applications

    Create your account on the college websites of the colleges on your list, the Common App, or the Coalition App.

    Start filling out your application!

    Work on your college essays! Want help? Reach out to Lincoln's Writing Center.


    Next steps!

    1. Check out resources about How to Pay for College and Scholarships

    2. Make an appointment with someone in the College & Career Center (Room 101)

    3. Check out the ASPIRE program and make an appointmet to see if you are a good fit

    4. Keep your MaiaLearning account up to date with schools on your applying list and your admission information

    5. Make sure you are communicating with your counselor!