Counseling Timeline

Counseling Timeline

  • Students and Parents are invited to an evening program called “Get the most of the High School Years,” which focuses on how students can prepare for high school and how parents can provide support as they make decisions regarding course selection and extracurricular activities.
  • Although Upper School students won't enter into the formal portion of our college counseling curriculum until their junior year, we know that students and families may have college-related questions well before that. As a veteran of the College Counseling department and a former admissions officer at a highly selective university, Dr. Cooper is uniquely well-qualified to offer advice and insight as well as address any questions that underclassmen and/or their parents may have. Prior to the all-class "college kickoff" meeting junior year, Upper School students and their parents who have questions about summer opportunities, future course selections, and/or strategic approaches to standardized testing are encouraged to reach out to Dr. Cooper to schedule an appointment. In addition, college admissions planning events and programs will be announced throughout the school year.

    Dr. Cooper's approach is to provide information while encouraging students to remain engaged and active in their high school experience. Participating in a new club, sport or community service opportunity are just a few examples of how students can develop new skills and grow as a leader within our community.

    Beginning in mid-March of their junior year, all Rutgers Prep students are assigned to a section of Junior Seminar, a course which is specifically designed to support them as they engage with the college search process. The curriculum includes information that will help students get the most out of a college visit, design an impressive college résumé and learn the best way to choose teachers to approach about writing letters of recommendation in the fall. Students also receive their “point person” assignments in college counseling, develop preliminary college lists, and begin learning about the application process. In general, this is a time for juniors to reflect on their goals, touch base with friends and family, and think about who they are and why they want to go to college.

     In general:

    •  Speak with current seniors about their plans.

    •  Think about who you are and why you want to go to college.


    •  Take the PSAT.


    •  Receive results of the PSAT shortly before winter break.

    January – March (includes College Kickoff in early February!)

    •  If planning to take the ACT on Feb. 11, register by Jan. 13.

       If planning to take the SAT on March 11, register by Feb. 10.

        If planning to take the ACT on April 8, register by March 3.

    •  Explore summer opportunities.  See Dr. Cooper and/or the RPS college counseling website for materials and suggestions.


    •  After completing student and parent questionnaires, meet with your college counselor to discuss goals and to establish draft list of colleges to investigate.

    •  Discuss senior schedule with your advisor and/or a member of the college counseling staff.

    •  If at all possible, visit some colleges during Spring Break.  Keep a journal of your impressions, ask questions, and take pictures.

    •  Students, meet your college counselor for a mock interview; this gives you practice, and offers your college counselor an opportunity to gather information for your recommendation letter.

    •  Attend Junior Seminar. Keep up with homework and ask good questions.

    •  SAT is on March 11; ACT is on February 11 and April 8.


    •  If planning to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests on May 6, register by April 7th.

    •  Attend regional College Fairs


    •  If planning to take the SAT or SAT Subject Tests on June 3, register by May 9. If planning to take ACT on June 10, register by May 5.

    •  SAT/SAT Subject test date is May 6.

    •  Advanced Placement Exams are in the first half of May.

    •  Develop a list of colleges to visit during summer.  Sign up online to request information.  Set up visits and schedule interviews.

    •  Ask two teachers to sign the form which commits them to supporting your college applications by writing letters of recommendations.


    •  SAT/SAT Subject test date is June 3; ACT is June 10.


    •  V I S I T   C O L L E G E S ! !  Update journal, compare colleges, discuss your reactions and opinions with family and trusted friends.

    •  Narrow list to about 10 colleges. Be sure to include a range of selectivity.

    •  Plan to draft application essays; the Common App goes "live" over the summer; create an account and begin working on your first applications.

    •  Plan fall visits (campus interviews, events, tours) & your testing schedule, e.g. register by July 28 if planning to take August 26 SAT.

    •  Sign up for email lists & campus visits if you have not already done so.

    •  End-of-summer SAT is on August 26th.

    •  Watch for announcements re: summer essay workshops


    Through the first semester of their senior year, students continue to meet in groups as their Senior Seminar course gives them scheduled opportunities to focus on essay writing, gather information on completing applications, and receive assistance in preparing for college interviews. Students also receive individual feedback on drafts of their essays and are encouraged to participate in a mock interview in anticipation of the college interviews to come.

    In the spring of the senior year, students will meet for several seminars to address the issues related to leaving home and establishing independence as they begin a "new life" in college. Outside professionally trained speakers come to campus to address potential "pitfalls" that students will face in their residence halls and around campus. 


    •  Sign up for email lists and & campus visits if you have not already done so.

    •  Attend the Senior Retreat and Senior Seminar.


    •  Meet with college representatives who visit RPS. (A full list of scheduled visits will be accessible via the Family Connection site.)

    •  Meet with your college counselor to finalize your college list.

    •  Begin writing application essays if you haven't already done so.

    •  No Sept. SAT; ACT exam is Sept. 9. Register by Sept. 8 for Oct. 7 SAT.

    •  Review transcript for accuracy; see "Mrs. I" to approve information or request additions or corrections.

    •  Confirm with the teachers you spoke with in May that they will write your recommendations; provide them with your first application deadline.


    •  If planning to take SAT's on November 4, register by Oct 6.

       (Nov. is typically the last acceptable test date for ED/EA applications.)

    •  Begin to activate applications to colleges with rolling admissions.

    •  All applications with a college deadline of Oct 15 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff no later than October 2nd.

    •  The fall SAT test date is October 7; ACT is offered Sept. 9 and Oct. 28.

    •  All applications with a college deadline of November 1 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff no later than October 16.

    •  If planning to take an SAT on Nov. 4 or Dec. 2, register in October.

    •  All applications with a college deadline of November 15 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff no later than November 1.

    •  Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and CSS Profile (if required) if planning to apply for financial aid. International students should check their colleges' websites for Certification of Finances forms applicable to them.


    •  Review final list of colleges with your college counselor.

    •  The November SAT I/SAT Subject Test date is November 4.

    •  Applications with a deadline of December 1 must be submitted to a member of the college counseling staff no later than November 15.


    •  Applications with a deadline of December 15 must be activated in the Upper School Office no later than December 1.

    •  Applications with a deadline anytime in January must be activated in the Upper School Office no later than December 1.

    •  The SAT I/SAT Subject Test date is Dec. 2; the ACT test date is Dec. 9.

    •  We strongly encourage students to complete all applications before the winter break in order to avoid a conflict with exams in January.


    •  Applications with a deadline of February 1 must be activated with a member of the college counseling staff by Friday, January 12.  All remaining applications must also be activated at this time.

    •  There will be no SAT I/SAT II offered in January of 2018.


    •  REMINDER: Seniors' mid-year grades are sent by the College Counseling Office to all colleges to which each student has applied.

    •  Colleges will notify students of their decisions.


    •  Students may want to visit schools where they've been accepted.


    •  Make a final college choice. Inform only one college that you plan to attend.  Send your regrets to the rest.  In general, students should plan to notify colleges of their decision no later than May 1.

    •  Advanced Placement Exams take place in early May.