The College Search Process
Choosing the "right” college implies that among the 3,000+ colleges and universities in the U.S. there is a single, magical campus that will meet your needs better than any other institution. This is simply not true. For any single student, there are several colleges that will enable you to reach your academic, personal, and social goals. The issue is one of finding the right match. The trick is to identify your unique priorities for selecting a college, carefully research the characteristics of a range of colleges and universities, and make a match of several options to which you will apply. Benet Academy offers comprehensive services through the College Counseling Department to help with this process.
A STUDENT’S TIMETABLE FOR THE COLLEGE ADMISSIONS PROCESS
SOPHOMORE YEAR – Continue to improve academic performance in all subject areas
FALL OF JUNIOR YEAR
- Take PSAT and PLAN tests
- Review test results with counselor and learn about "My College Quickstart” tools
- Register and gain brief overview of Naviance (spring)
- Explore and check out colleges:
- Attend Naviance training sessions with College Counselors, reviewing how to:
- Conduct a comprehensive college search in order to find colleges that match the specific criteria that are important to you
- Compare colleges’ admission criteria to your own academic qualifications
- Compare your own academic performance to that of Benet students who have applied to a specific college in the past
- Visit college websites and research books and directories—there are many in the College Counseling Center.
- Meet with college representatives when they visit Benet during homeroom and lunch periods. Notices of visiting colleges are posted on the bulletin board of the College Counseling Center, are part of the announcements, and are listed on Naviance.
- Attend "The Successful College Interview” presentation.
- Encourage your parents to attend our "Conquering the Challenges of College Costs”.
- Attend the College Search Program for Juniors & Parents where the College Counselors will address the College Planning Process.
- Complete the Required College Questionnaire and Resume, which can be found on the Naviance website. Parents must complete the Questionnaire for Junior Parents, which can be found on the Benet College Counseling web page. All three forms must be completed prior to scheduling your college planning conference with your College Counselor.
- Visit a range of colleges! See below for helpful hints regarding your campus visits.
SPRING OF JUNIOR YEAR
- Schedule your College Planning Conference with your respective College Counselor.
- Attend the College Search Program Part 2 in early February.
- Register and attend the ACT Workshop in March.
- Take your ACT and SAT tests. In order to be named an Illinois State Scholar, you must take one of these tests by June of junior year. Also remember that the ACT with writing section is a Benet Academy graduation requirement.
- Attend the Mock Admissions Program.
- Take SAT Subject Tests if required by the colleges you’re interested in or if you have completed a course of study in which you plan to demonstrate proficiency.
- Organize your plans for the summer. Look for a job or a summer program. Summer programs can be particularly helpful in determining whether or not you are interested in a specific field of study. For example, there are programs for Journalism or Engineering, as well as Military Camps and internships for Pharmacy. Keep in mind the program doesn’t necessarily have to be at a college you’re considering; the value is in the program itself. This is an ideal time to discover something you love… or not!!... which can also be especially helpful.
FALL OF SENIOR YEAR
- Attend the Required College Application Workshop.
- Encourage your parents to attend our Senior Parent Program.
- If you have not already done so, schedule your college interview with your College Counselor.
- Make sure your official ACT and/or SAT test scores have been sent from the testing agency to the colleges to which you plan on applying.
- Encourage your parents to attend the "Coffee with the College Counselors” Q&A Program.
- Encourage your parents to attend the "Conquering the Challenges of College Costs” Program.
- Encourage your parents to complete Net Price Calculators on individual college’s website.
- Attend "The Successful College Interview” presentation.
- Begin completing online applications to the schools of your choosing.
- Note application deadlines! Many Early Decision, Early Action, and Priority deadlines fall in November.
- Request that a transcript be sent to each school you plan on applying to by submitting the Transcript Request Form (found on Naviance in the Document Library) to your counselor.
- Retake the ACT or SAT or take Subject Tests as required by the colleges to which you are applying. Be sure to have the scores AUTOMATICALLY sent to your colleges.
- Attend the Alumni Panel presentation to hear from former Benet students about their recent transition to college.
JANUARY OF SENIOR YEAR
- The beginning of January is typically the Regular Decision application deadline for highly selective colleges.
- Request Midyear/7th semester grades to be sent to colleges where you were deferred in the fall or that require them as part of the admission process.
- Submit FAFSA forms if you are applying for financial aid. Online applications can be found at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Submit as soon as possible after January 1st. Many colleges have February deadlines for FAFSA submission.
FEBRUARY – APRIL OF SENIOR YEAR
- Visit / Re-visit your top choice colleges so that you are able to make a well-informed decision when your admission decisions arrive.
- By April 1, you should have received all admission decisions for Regular Decision applications, as well as information regarding financial aid packages.
MAY 1st (National Candidate Reply Date)
The date by which students must notify ONE AND ONLY ONE college of their decision to attend. All colleges that have accepted you must hold a place for you in their freshman class until May 1. Furthermore, all colleges must be notified of your final plans by this time, so that they can offer your spot to another student should you choose not to enroll. Accepting an offer of admission is typically done by paying an enrollment/tuition deposit. This deposit indicates that the student intends on enrolling. It is unethical to send a deposit to more than one college, as a student simply cannot attend two colleges.
- Request your Final Transcript to be sent to the college you have chosen to attend!