Senior Checklist

Welcome to your Senior year! You are racing toward the finishing line. Your K-12 education is nearly complete and now you must begin to make plans for your future that lies beyond high school.  Work hard this year! Finish strong!

Click Here to Download the Senior Packet for resources regarding graduation and post high school activities.

SEPTEMBER

Register for Fall Tests – Determine what tests you still need to take this fall (SAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT, AP Tests) and register for them now. Make sure to consider the top schools, verify what tests they prefer and require for admission.

Letters of Recommendation – Do not wait until the last minute to request letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, staff, employers or community leaders. Know your deadlines and request recommendations letters at least 2-3 weeks prior to when you need them. Make sure to provide individuals with an activities resume and short explanation of your future goals so they can make your letter as specific as possible. Also, be very clear about your expectations. Do individuals need to complete the recommendation letter and mail it to the school or scholarship committee (if so you should provide an addressed and stamped envelope), can it be emailed (make sure you give them the address to send it to) or do you need the letter back to include with your application materials?  Finally, make sure you follow-up with those writing your recommendation letters – by writing a personal thank you…expressing your gratitude for the time they have taken to complete your letter.

Essays – Continue or begin working on your College and Scholarship Application Essays. Make sure you have a trusted friend; parent and/or teacher take a look at your essays and proofread them. Consider ideas and critiques to make your essays stronger. Essays are the means to help admissions offices and scholarship committees get to know you. Be creative so your essay will stand out among the many other application essays they read.

College Visits – Take every opportunity to visit and attend college visitations at McNary. Information about upcoming college visits will be available on our website and in our College and Career Center. Make sure that you bring your list of questions, personal to your needs, for the admissions representatives to answer.  These visits can truly help you finalize your school choices.

Review your High School Graduation Requirements – By this point, you should have a clear understanding of your requirements for high school graduation. However, it never hurts to double check.  

Compile all Documents to Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)Work together with your parents to pull together the necessary tax documents you need to complete your FAFSA Application. You will also need to know your Social Security Number to complete this process.

Attend Senior College Information Night –  All seniors are encouraged to attend this important event. Great information will be given to begin helping students and families navigate college preparation.

OCTOBER

CREATE A FSA ID  – A FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID, gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online system. It will be needed for the FAFSA as a means to serve as your legal signature when applying for Federal Financial Aid. An FSA ID is comprised of a username and password. It can be used to electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents, access your personal records and/or make binding legal obligations. Parents and students should have individual FSA ID’s.

File your FAFSA October 1st you can submit your FAFSA Application. It is important to complete this application as soon after the October 1st opening date as possible. It is important to apply for the FAFSA early because you are awarded aid based on the date you apply. Schools often award the aid they have available on a first come, first served basis. They can run out of funds and students may not get the financial award they could’ve had if they had applied closer to the October 1st deadline. Finally, the sooner you file your FAFSA, the sooner you will be receiving Award Letters from schools you are considering making it easier to cross-compare financial aid packages.

It is extremely important to include the school codes on the FAFSA for all the colleges, universities or trade schools you are considering. Once you list a school code, your FAFSA application will be sent to those schools and once admitted you will receive Award Letters explaining your Financial Aid.

ALL students are encouraged to file the FAFSA regardless of their family’s financial situation.  Even families who do not believe they would qualify for aid are strongly suggested to apply. Some scholarships (even scholarships not based on need) require that a student has applied for the FAFSA….if you choose not to apply you may unintentionally be limiting your options.  

Test – Take your final standardized tests this month. Make sure you remember to utilize practice tests on Oregon CIS or Khan Academy before you go in for the real thing. This will be one of your last opportunities to take your ACT, SAT and SAT Subject tests.

College and Career Fair – Each year the district will sponsor a district wide College and Career Fair. Take this opportunity to connect with college representatives from the schools you are considering and get your final questions answered.

College Information Nights/Workshops at McNary – McNary College and Career Center will also host College Information nights related to Financial Aid Information, completing FAFSA’s and scholarship search sessions, etc. Look for events on our Events Calendar.

NOVEMBER – JANUARY

Begin Applying to your top choice schools – Complete your applications for college admissions and request to have your transcripts sent to each of the schools. Also, confirm your test scores have been sent to the appropriate schools. Make sure you check and re-check deadlines and application requirements. It is so important to have applications submitted complete and on time!!! Monitor your applications and make a phone call to each school when you believe your application should have been received and fully complete. Ask admissions to verify whether all documents, transcripts, letters of recommendations, essays and test scores have been received.

Scholarship Applications – This is the busiest time of year for applications. Not only college admission applications, scholarship applications! Make sure that you spend plenty of time researching scholarship possibilities on-line, using Scholarship Resources or by coming to the College and Career Center.

Mid-Year Grades – Some of the schools you have applied to, or scholarship committees, may require you to send your updated transcripts mid-year. Make sure these are sent in a timely manner.

FAFSA Student Aid Reports (SAR) – After completing your FAFSA you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). Look this document over carefully and make sure all the information is correct. Any mistakes or errors could cost you in financial aid you may be eligible for. Contact FAFSA and update any errors that you find right away.

FEBRUARY – APRIL

Complete the OSAC (Oregon Student Access Commission) Scholarship Application – The OSAC Scholarship is a unique scholarship application open to all Oregon students. By completing this is one scholarship application, you apply and are considered for multiple scholarships you choose based on a list of over 500 scholarships associated with this one application. The variety of scholarships are wide and based on criteria such as the high school you attend, school and community activities, volunteer involvement, academic interests, or career goals. Some require a minimum GPA and others require no GPA.   Early bird deadline is February 15th. Final deadline for all materials is March 1st.

Decisions, Decisions! – Acceptance letters and financial aid award letters will begin to arrive. Take time and consider all your options. Spend time comparing aid packages. What school is best for you based on your future goals and personality? Spend time talking with trusted family members and adults as you make this very important decision. Ideally, if you haven’t already, you will want to make plans to visit the campus before making final decisions. Most schools have a May 1st decision and deposit deadline. You will need to formally accept your offer of admission and submit your housing application if you plan to live on campus in the fall. Also, make sure to formally accept your financial aid offer. Not doing so may result in you losing pieces of your financial aid package.

College Open Houses – Most colleges have open houses for students enrolling for fall classes. This is a great opportunity to get information about housing options, campus life and how to prepare for fall. Attend! Get familiar with your campus and enjoy meeting other students you will be going to school with in the fall.

MAY – JUNE

Finish Strong – You are so close…make this last sprint count!  Keep your grades up through graduation. Most schools will be looking at final transcripts and still can rescind your admission if you fall below a required GPA.

Update your CIS profile – All the work that you have done to create your Personal Education Plan, Resumes and College Applications you get to take with you!  After high school you can continue to use the tools in your CIS profile to research and refine career options as you determine a major in college. If you plan to further your education and get an advanced or specialized degree you can consider new colleges based on the information you find in CIS. Also, it’s easy to keep all your employment and training information up to date in CIS. When you need to create a new resume you have everything you need in one place.

Final Transcripts – Make sure to send your final transcripts to the college you have chosen to attend.

Scholarships and Loans – Continue to work on final scholarship applications. Make sure that you give a list to your college of all scholarships you have received. Award letters need to reflect the awards you have received. Also, if you are accepting financial aid in the form of loans, make sure all documents and papers are signed as needed. You want to make sure all this is done so your funds will be ready for you as you begin fall term!

Graduation – You did it!!! Sit back and enjoy your accomplishments and success with your family, classmates and the McNary High School faculty and staff!  Continue to strive for excellence as you begin this exciting new journey. We wish you the best and hope your WORLD CLASS attitude will bring you success in all you do!