Important dates and deadlines

It’s never too late or too early to prepare for college. 

Anytime is the right time to start planning for college, but the sooner the better. Some students may start the process earlier, while others may need to accelerate their efforts due to various circumstances. Regardless of where you are in your journey, there are general guidelines you can follow to prepare. Keeping college admission deadlines and expectations on your radar is also critical so you don’t miss out on any opportunities.

Steps to take in high school

19 Jun 2024
19 Jun 2024

Middle school

  • Talk to a parent or other adult about what you like to do, what you’re good at and what you want for your future.
  • Meet with your counselor to discuss what classes you should take in high school.
  • Start saving for college.Check out for more information.
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19 Jun 2024
19 Jun 2024

Freshman year

  • Consider taking challenging advanced placement (AP) courses or dual enrollment to earn college credit.
  • Maintain good grades and get involved in extracurricular activities that interest you.
  • Take practice exams like the PSAT.​
  • Begin exploring your interests and potential career paths.​

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19 Jun 2024
19 Jun 2024

Sophomore year

  • Continue to stay involved in school clubs, after school programs and volunteering. Track your volunteer hours using a spreadsheet.
  • Read about the differences between a certificate, associate, bachelor’s and other advanced degrees.
  • Meet with your school counselor to make sure you’re on track to complete required math classes no later than the end of junior year.
  • Start preparing for the ACT and SAT with test prep materials.

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19 Jun 2024
19 Jun 2024

Junior year

  • Start researching colleges and universities you’re interested in attending. 
  • Take the SAT or ACT if the tests are required by the schools you’re considering. 
  • Continue to do well academically and participate in extracurricular activities.
  • Visit or take virtual tours of the colleges and universities that interest you.
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19 Jun 2024
19 Jun 2024

Senior year

  • In the fall of your senior year, complete college applications, including writing essays, securing letters of recommendation as needed and meeting all deadlines.  
  • Apply for financial aid or scholarships.  
  • Continue to maintain your grades and participate in activities. 
  • Be prepared for interviews or auditions if required by your chosen colleges.
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Important dates and deadlines


To stay organized, consider creating a calendar or spreadsheet that lists all of these important dates for the colleges where you’re applying. This will help you manage your time effectively and ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines. 

Application deadlines

Different colleges and universities have various application deadlines, including Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision and Rolling Admission. Make sure to note these deadlines for each school you're interested in attending.

Standardized test registration deadlines and test days

If you are planning to take the SAT or ACT, be aware of the registration deadlines that are typically several weeks before the test date. The tests are usually given multiple times a year and you are allowed to take them as many times as you want to improve your score.

Financial aid deadlines

If you're applying for financial aid, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will open in December of 2023 and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile opens Oct 1. To qualify for the Arizona Promise Program scholarship, the deadline to complete FAFSA is April 1. Each college has a priority filing deadline that you should be aware of to know when to apply to a particular school.

Scholarship deadlines

Many colleges and external organizations offer scholarships with their own application deadlines. Research and note the deadlines for scholarships you're interested in.

Letters of recommendation

Request letters of recommendation well in advance of application deadlines. Provide individuals who write the letters with clear information about submission deadlines and any specific requirements.

Transcript requests

Ensure that your high school transcripts are sent to colleges by your school's guidance office. Verify the transcript submission deadline for each college.

Deposit dates

Once you have been accepted, you’ll have to pay your enrollment deposit by a certain date to secure your place in the incoming class. Familiarize yourself with housing deposit due dates and when you’ll need to accept any financial aid offers.


Find out dates for new student orientation and any other important events leading up to your first semester.

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