Ultimate College Planning Checklist

It’s exciting to think about all the possibilities in your future. You’re looking forward to career goals and adventures, and you’re eager to start your college search process. But before you find yourself scrambling for places next semester, take a moment and construct a plan that is both realistic and successful! For instance, this checklist will help you prepare for everything from choosing an adequate school for your finances and personality type.

Forewarning: there is no easy way out of this process! It takes effort, planning, dedication, self-discovery but it could also be life-changing if done correctly.

Taking professional help

Getting expert assistance is a vital part of your college preparation. You must do so to ensure that you are making the greatest options possible for yourself and your future.

There are a lot of questions to ask about how long it will take, how much it will cost, and what kind of credentials it will produce.

You’ll find a list of questions that college planning consultant may use to easily and confidently answer yours. While selecting your professional help, consider the following items to cross off your list:

  • Determine which consultant is best suited to your requirements.
  • Examine his credentials and background.
  • Find out how much he charges and how you can pay him.
  • Verify if he has a valid license, insurance, and other legal documentation.
  • Inquire about the time frame for completion.
  • Learn about refund policies and guarantees.
  • Check to see if there are any testimonials from former clients.

College essay

College essay checklists are useful since they serve as a road map for reaching the desired destination, which is college admission. They specify what you must do when you must do it, and the steps you must take in that order.

College essays also reduce stress by ensuring that all of your bases are covered so that all you have to think about when it’s time to submit your application is crossing your fingers.

Here is our college essay checklist in all its glory so you can tick off everything on the list before submitting your application:

  • Is my essay persuasive?
  • Will it show my personality?
  • Does it grab the reader’s attention right away?
  • Have I revealed a flaw that my college will be able to help me overcome?
  • Is my college essay free of spelling and punctuation errors?
  • Do I have no more than ten words per sentence, at least five sentences per paragraph, and three paragraphs total?
  • Will my essay convey to the reader that I am a good writer?
  • Does this essay meet the length requirement of minimal requirements of less than 650 words, or if it is required to be longer, no more than 1000 words?

Necessary documents

It’s easy to become swamped when it comes to college planning. Especially if you’re not sure what documents you’ll need or if they’ll be appropriate in your situation. This checklist is intended to assist you in determining what is required for each prospective student’s specific situation.

  • Transcripts (required by most institutions).
  • School-issued report cards (at least through high school).
  • College Entrance Examination Board scores (SAT or ACT scores; at least one test is required for entry into 4-year institutions).
  • Letters of recommendation (typically 3, but sometimes more depending on the school to which you are applying).
  • Student financial records showing savings, investments, and other assets above $500 per year for the last 3 years or tax returns showing taxable income above $5,000 for the last three years.
  • Complete financial information for parents including 1040 tax returns for the last 3 years; recent W-2s, most recent pay stubs, or other documentation of income.
  • Employment verification from your parents’ employers.
  • Parent’s “Statement of Educational Purpose” (SOP) explains how they plan to pay for their child’s college education and what their long-term plans are for their child’s career.
  • Current resume or CV detailing your employment history, volunteer experience, extracurricular achievements, etc.
  • Financial aid applications submitted to the colleges are most likely to be able to meet your educational expenses.
  • College acceptance letters (if you have been accepted by multiple schools).
  • School transcripts for all secondary and postsecondary schools.
  • Transcripts for your postsecondary work, especially if you are applying to graduate programs.
  • Resume with a “job objective” statement, explaining what career you are planning.
  • Health records (Mental Status exam and Physical Assessment form) if necessary.
  • “How I spent my summers” essay (“Operation Summer Salvation”, typically called OSAS), explains why you need to attend college now.

Financial planning

If you intend to attend college, you must consider what you want to get out of your education. There’s a lot of information on the various types of degrees and specific programs that you might be interested in on the internet, but not so much about the financial aspects.

For individuals who need a checklist before filling out their college applications, we’ve put together one. When it comes to money, you’ll be in great shape if you know what your future ambitions are! The goal of this guide is to assist students who are presently completing the application process in determining how to best prepare for their next four years of education and what they will be able to afford during that time.

You must do some college financial planning before you start filling out the applications because it’s not worth it if you’re looking at 5-6 years of school debt!

Many factors influence your ability to repay college debts after graduation, but the first thing we should consider is your coursework. Discuss some of the most common career routes that lead to the highest-paying jobs with your high school guidance counselor, then seek institutions in your area that offer such courses.

The more education you have now, the more easily you will be able to obtain loans in the future. If you want to pursue a career that requires an advanced degree, you should earn an undergraduate degree as soon as feasible.

If you genuinely desire a bachelor’s degree but can’t afford it right now due to financial constraints, there are other options. If students seek to transfer to a four-year undergraduate program at another institution, some community colleges offer two-year degrees that can transfer into a four-year undergraduate program at another school.

You might also enroll in some classes at your local community college or university online. This way, you’ll be able to move with your family or for other reasons, rather than being left with a mountain of student loan debt that prevents you from living the life you want after graduation.

If you can afford it, getting as many college credits as possible will make things easier for you when your loans are due.


Finally, the majority of this post has covered all you need to know to create your college planning checklist. Before you fill out any of the things on this list, think about your strengths and shortcomings, as well as your hobbies, needs, and desires. That way, you’ll be able to focus your time in college on preparing for your future goals.

This brings us to our final point: go through this checklist with an open mind regarding what will lead you to your goals. College is a four-year program that does not last indefinitely.