When you break down the college application process by month or time of year, the whole thing can become more exciting and organized—and a lot less overwhelming. 

So let’s talk January!

For juniors and seniors currently in high school, here’s what you should be doing this month to move along in the college process.  

For juniors, your January college checklist:

  • Rise up in your extracurricular activities. Colleges want to know that you’re committed to the non-academic activities you pursue. So in the new year, think about taking on a leadership role in a group you’re already enjoying. In fact, showing this kind of initiative and enthusiasm is much more important than trying to participate in as many clubs as you can.
  • Apply for scholarships.  If you do a quick Google search for scholarships, you’ll notice that there are a lot for high seniors. BUT… there are plenty for juniors, if you know where to look. Get ahead of the game and get in there. Here’s a great list of scholarships for high school juniors to start with.
  • Prepare for standardized tests. Find out if the colleges you’re interested in require the SAT, ACT or SAT subject tests, then register to take the tests you need. Taking these while you’re a junior means you can take them again your senior year if you want to improve your score.

For seniors, your January college checklist:

  • Submit any outstanding college applications! While some schools’ regular decision deadlines have come and gone, there are still plenty of schools—Siena College included—with deadlines in February. (Ours is February 15.) Here’s a list of schools with late application deadlines.
  • Apply for financial aid. The start date to apply for financial aid for this coming school year was October 1 of last year, but you can still fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if you haven’t already. The deadline is June 30, but the sooner you apply and receive your package, the better informed you’ll be come May 1. FYI, Siena’s school code is 002816.
  • Plan your revisits. You know which schools you want to see again, so now is the time to make a checklist of things you might have forgotten to see or ask the first time around. Accepted Student Day invitations are likely coming your way soon too, so keep an eye out for those!

Speaking of: Accepted students, our dates are up and they’re next month! Sign up for an Accepted Students Day now if you’ve already been admitted to Siena.