Senior Planning Timeline

Please use this as a guide as you go through your senior year.

Senior Year

  • When senior males turn 18, they must register with Selective Service. Visit www.sss.gov to register! If you fail to register, you will not be eligible for Financial Aid. Ms. Bruner has information about registering.


  • Finalize your list of reasonable choices. Include at least one “long shot”, one “target”, and one “safe” school. Your first choice might very well be a school to which you are a likely candidate for admission. However, each one of you should include at least one safe choice on your list of colleges.
  • Once you have narrowed your list of colleges to a recommended maximum of six, you should begin applying. Most colleges prefer students to apply online.
  • Attend meetings with college representatives who visit HHS. Keep in mind that the representatives who visit us will more than likely be the ones to present your case to the admissions team at their college: MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION!
  • Register for the September/October ACT or November SAT if you have not taken the test or want to retest. Obtain packets in Guidance or register on-line.
  • Begin work on application essays. Most senior English classes include work on an essay.
  • Remember that the grades you make this semester will be an important ingredient in the way college admissions committees view your academic seriousness. Your first semester grades will be the last ones they see before deciding whether to admit you to their school.
  • Decide how you will actually apply: paper application, or applying online at the school’s website. Also consider using the common application which will save you time. Just make sure your school accepts the common application.-For more information go to www.commonapp.org
  • Keep your commitment to take challenging courses! Your senior year matters!
  • All seniors will have an individual 15-minute meeting with their counselor this month.


  • Complete and file your FAFSA as soon as possible. Aid is distributed on a first come, first served basis. FAFSA’s web site is http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. First you will need to create a FSA ID at the following website, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid (Remember that the student and at least one parent needs to create an FSA ID)
  • The FAFSA is the federal financial form, needed for both public and private schools, and the Profile is for private schools only. Remember, the lottery scholarships require the FAFSA!
  • Please do not push deadlines. It is to your advantage to file your application early. Most colleges admit that early applications automatically receive more attention because they demonstrate the student’s sincere interest in a school.
  • Early decision deadlines and scholarship deadlines may be as early as October 15. Do not allow lack of planning on your part to create an emergency on our part. Submit your Transcript Requests two weeks before the deadline.
  • The college to which you are applying may require official copies of your test scores. Some schools require test scores submitted directly from ACT/SAT. Check the websites of the colleges to see what they require.
  • Notify your counselor if you would like to be nominated for a scholarship at the colleges you are applying.
  • Complete a Transcript Request form for each application you submit. Your transcript includes ACT and SAT scores, classes you’ve taken and your grades; when your counselor sends in your transcript, they will also attach your current schedule.


  • Use your college visiting days well. HHS allows a maximum of 2 days which will be counted against your exemption, but will be excused if pre-approved. Request the visit day by filling out the College Visitation Form at least five days beforehand and bring a letter from the college for proof of your visit.
  • Teacher Recommendations - If the colleges to which you are applying require a recommendation from a teacher, choose and ask a teacher who you feel knows you the best and will represent you well. Give your teacher a filled out Letter of Recommendation Form, which are available in the guidance office. ALLOW AT LEAST 2 WEEKS TO COMPLETE A RECOMMENDATION. If the teacher needs to send the letter directly to an institution, provide an addressed and stamped envelope with the appropriate corresponding forms.
  • This will be your last chance to sign up for and take the SAT or ACT in this year’s admission pool.


  • All college applications and transcript requests which need to be sent out before winter break are due in the guidance office two weeks before we leave for break.  Applications that have a February 1 deadline should also be processed in December.
  • Since we do not return until January 3rd, all Transcript Requests submitted after the deadline will be sent out in late January. Please remember that Counselor Reports will be processed in the order they are received…not in the order of urgency for you.
  • If you expect your counselor to write an effective recommendation for you, then allow sufficient time to process your recommendation.
  • Ace your mid-year exams—they matter!
  • Request Mid-Year transcripts to be mailed to the colleges to which you are applying.
  • Don’t ask to drop challenging courses. Colleges could withdraw their offer!


  • Continue applying and looking for scholarships!


  • If you haven’t already done so, visit schools to which you applied.
  • Wait.
  • Local Scholarships become available, please see the guidance office for an application.



  • By April 15, you should hear from all colleges. Use the two weeks before May 1 to make your final decision.
  • Register for Advanced Placement exams if necessary.
  • Notify all colleges which have accepted you of your final decision.
  • Notify colleges who have put you on their waiting list if you wish to remain on it.
  • Don’t develop Senioritis! All college acceptances are conditional pending receipt of final grades in June.


  • Reply to the college you choose. Do not place a deposit with more than one college: it is unethical and you can be dropped by both colleges if discovered.
  • Fill out a Final Transcript Request for the college you will attend. You must make this request in writing to release your transcript.
College Entrance Tests

There are two college entrance tests; the ACT and the SAT. Though many institutions will accept the results of either test, Ohio colleges generally request the ACT. Some institutions may use test results for proper placement of students in English and Math courses.

Students planning on attending college should take either the ACT or SAT before January of their senior year. Many students will take the test more than once. It is not unusual for test scores to increase the second time taken.

A student should prepare in advance to take an entrance test. There are practice test booklets available in the counselor’s office, and there is also online preparation through the test website. You will also be able to find numerous books and computer programs to buy in order to help prepare further. A student is also able to take Test Preparation Classes through Kaplan or through Sylvan Learning Center; contact one of these companies or ask your counselor for further information about these resources.

You are highly encouraged to register for these tests online either at actstudent.org (ACT) or sat.collegeboard.org (SAT). When filling out the application for both the ACT and the SAT, you are required to put the high school code (or the CEEB code). The code for Hilltop is 365-505. Memorize this code, as it will be used very frequently when filling out applications and scholarships.

ACT Test

The ACT consists of four tests: English, Reading, Math, and Science Reasoning. Students are given a score for each test, with scores ranging from 1 to 36. These scores are then averaged to a Composite Score. The national average Composite Score is 21. ACT also has an optional 30-minute Writing Test; it is recommended that all students take the Writing at least once. All of the ACT questions are multiple choice and there is no penalty for guessing; therefore a student should answer every question. Calculators are allowed to be used.

The cost for the ACT (without Writing) is $46.00; ACT plus Writing is $62.50. Registration packets can be picked up in the Guidance Office. A student should be registered five to six weeks prior to the test date. ACT fee waivers are also available; if you are on free and reduced lunch, you could be eligible for a fee waiver.

What’s New with the ACT: Students will receive new readiness scores and indicators designed to show performance and preparedness in areas important to success after high school. The new scores and indicators will include: STEM score, Progress Toward Career Readiness Indicator, English Language Arts Score, and Test Complexity Progress Indicator.

For information on ACT test prep tools, go to www.act.org/theact/testprep

ACT Test Dates
Test Date Registration  Deadline   (Late Fee Required)
September 9, 2017 August 4, 2017 August 5-18, 2017
October 28, 2017 September 22, 2017 September 23-October 6, 2017
December 9, 2017 November 3, 2017 November 4-17, 2017
February 10, 2018 January 12, 2018 January 13-19, 2018
April 14, 2018 March 9, 2018 March 10-23, 2018
June 9, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 5-18, 2018
July 14, 2018 June 15, 2018 June 16-22, 2018
SAT Test
The SAT tests the skills you’re learning in school: reading, math and evidence based reading and writing. Your knowledge and skills in these subjects are important for success in college and throughout your life.  
  • The reading section tests the understanding of passages from U.S. and World Literature, History/Social Studies, and Sciences.
  • The writing section tests the "Expression of Ideas" and "Standard English Conventions" through passages relating to Careers, History/Social Studies, Humanities, and Science.
  • The mathematics section includes questions on arithmetic operations, algebra, geometry, statistics, probability and real-world problem solving.
With the SAT, there is no penalty for guessing. Calculator use is allowed on 37 questions; not permitted for 20 questions The cost for the SAT Test with no essay is $46.00 and with essay $60.00 and you can register for the test online at www.collegeboard.com, as well as take practice tests, look at practice questions, and get information about the test structure. A student should be registered for the SAT five to six weeks prior to the test date.
SAT Test Dates
Test Date Normal Deadline Late Registration
October 7th, 2017 September 8th, 2017 September 22nd, 2017
November 4th, 2017 October 6th, 2017 October 22nd, 2017
December 2nd, 2017 November 3rd, 2017 November 17th, 2017
March 10th, 2018 February 9th, 2018 February 23rd, 2018
May 5th, 2018 April 6th, 2018 April 20th, 2018
June 2nd, 2018 May 4th, 2018 May 18th, 2018
SAT also has Subject Tests that are required by some colleges; check with the college you are applying to make sure you have taken the correct entrance exam (i.e. ACT, SAT, or SAT Subject test).
Please visit the following website for more information on the new SAT and test prep tools www.kaptest.com/sat/kaplan-sat-prep/2016-sat-test-changes
College Selection Process

Before you start researching colleges, you should make a list of characteristics you think you want in a school. Some characteristics to consider:

  • Academic Program (2 year, 4 year, Vocational)
  • Admissions, Cost, Financial Aid
  • Affiliation (Public vs. Private)
  • Supportive Services (Counseling, Med Center)
  • Size of the College
  • Activities, Social Clubs, & Athletics
  • Community (Rural vs. City) & Location (Distance from home)
  • Religious Affiliation, Ethnic Composition
  • Campus Housing (Dorm, Off Campus, Live at Home)
  • Areas of Study, Course Offerings, & Facilities
  • Student Body (Coed vs. All Male/Female)
  • Academic Rigor & Graduation/Retention Rates

Choosing a Major

A major is the area that you will study in most depth in college. You will take up to two-thirds of your classes in that subject. Most colleges do not require a student to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year. You can change your major, however, be cautioned that this could involve the risk of taking additional classes to satisfy the major requirements, which may cost additional time and money. Consider the following when choosing a major:

Look at your interests-career and otherwise.

Talk to people that you know that work in the field you are thinking of choosing. Come to the Guidance Office to look at the “Book of Majors” to help you decide.

Look in local newspapers at classified ads; look to see which jobs sound interesting and which pay the salary you would like to earn.

Research different career websites:

What Colleges Look For

  • Academic Record-Difficulty of courses taken
  • Standardized Tests
  • Grades & Class Rank
  • Out of Class Activities (Jobs, Volunteer Work)
  • Recommendations
  • College Interviews (Some colleges)

Filling Out a College Application

Freshman applications can be filled out any time after your Junior year. Colleges strongly recommend that students apply early (some as early as or earlier than Thanksgiving). In order to be considered for acceptance, scholarships, financial aid, and housing, applications need to be filled out by March. However, this does not mean that you can slack off and wait until April to fill out applications! Not only are they time consuming, but financial aid and housing is usually based on a first-come first-serve basis; meaning, if all of the housing has been taken by other freshman that applied early, you may not be able to start on time or get enough aid to cover the costs. Moral is: DON”T WAIT! College requirements often vary so always read and comply with those specific requirements.

In general, the following are basic materials needed to complete an application:

  • A completed application & any required application fee
  • An official copy of your high school transcript, including class rank & GPA
  • An official record of your ACT/SAT scores (sent directly from ACT or SAT)
  • Other items that may be required (recommendations, essays, & financial aid forms)

Applications DO’s & DON”T’s

  • Read applications & directions carefully,
  • Make sure to include any extra paperwork that may be needed/requested,
  • Fill out your own application,
  • Apply online to avoid mistakes (you can save and edit)
  • If you fill out a paper application, do not use white-out, cross anything out, or use pencil,
  • Don’t leave anything blank (if you have questions, ask),
  • Don’t be unclear or vague (answer q’s specifically),
  • Don’t put it off! Do it early!

Most schools require/prefer that you apply online

  • Be truthful & don’t exaggerate
  • Be thorough & on time
  • If someone is writing a recommendation for you, give that
  • person at least two weeks before it is due
College Visitations

Visiting a college campus is a very important step in choosing a college. You can’t actually experience a college through brochures and smiling admission reps, so schedule a tour! Seniors are allowed two excused absences per year for college visitations. Per board policy, no visits can be made in May, so schedule your visits early by filling out a College Visitation Form, which are available in the Guidance Office. These forms must be completed and returned three days prior to the visit.

Before visiting a college, call the Admissions Office at least one week prior to the visit to schedule an appointment/tour. Try not to visit two colleges in one day; the information may run together. During your visit, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Speak to an admission counselor about admission procedures & programs of study (majors)
  • Take a campus tour (preferably with a current college student & when classes are in session)
  • Speak to a faculty member regarding an academic program that interests you
  • Eat lunch in a campus dining hall (sampling food you may be eating for the next few years is a good idea)
  • Get a general feel for the campus atmosphere (what students & faculty are like, residence halls, libraries/computer facilities)
  • Ask questions that concern you & find out general information (admission process, financial aid, scholarships, housing, etc.)

Questions to Ask When Considering/Visiting a College:

  • How many students attend? Do most students live on campus?
  • What academic programs is the college most known for?
  • How many students are in one class? How many total students are in the Freshman class?
  • Do faculty teach all the classes?...or graduate assistants?
  • Am I required to live on campus? What are campus policies regarding housing? How are roommates assigned? Ask to see a residence hall room.
  • What types of student activities, organizations, and athletics are available?
  • What is the surrounding neighborhood like? How is security? Ask for crime statistics.
  • Can I have a car on campus? Where do I park?
  • How is the food?
  • Is there a health clinic on campus?
  • Is there a hospital nearby?...bank?...churches?...grocery stores?...etc.?
  • Is tutoring available?
  • What are the campus rules about visitation?
  • How much is the enrollment deposit?...is it refundable if I change my mind?
College Information & Scholarship Websites Scholarships

You have probably heard people say that there are “millions of scholarship dollars that go unclaimed each year.” You have also probably heard parents who have told you that their student has a 3.7+ GPA and cannot get a scholarship. Both are true. The fact is, there are thousands of scholarships, however, most of these scholarships have very specific eligibility criteria, and when it comes to academic scholarships, students generally need to have an outstanding GPA, high test scores, excellent recommendations, and be involved in extracurricular/community activities.

  • Even though searching and applying for scholarships can be a lengthy process, students and parents who are willing to invest the time and energy may find that their efforts pay off handsomely. When searching, keep the following in mind:
  • Start early-finding & applying takes time, energy, & persistence
  • Private colleges often are more generous in awarding scholarships, thus making them more competitive in price
  • Be aware of deadlines & be organized (make copies of everything)
  • Network-tell everyone that you are looking
  • Search websites, books, etc. with scholarship information
  • Be aware of scams! Six warning signs of scams:
    • “This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.”
    • “The scholarship service will do all the work.”
    • “The scholarship will cost some money.”
    • “You can’t get this information anywhere else.”
    • “You are a finalist-in a contest you never entered.” Or “You have been selected by a national foundation to receive a scholarship.”
    • “The scholarship service needs your credit card or checking account number in advance.”
College Costs

Below is a list of local colleges and their costs. This cost may include general fees; however they do not include fees such as parking, books, meal plans, etc.

  • Northwest State Community College:
    • Tuition: $3,768,
    • Books and Supplies: $1,300,
    • Other Fees: $221
  • Bluffton University:
    • Tuition: $30,312, 
    • Room and board: $10,188,
    • Technology fee: $450, 
    • TOTAL COST: $40,950
  • Defiance College:
    • Tuition: $30,980, 
    • Room and board: $ 9,950
  • BGSU:
    • Tuition & Fees: $10,606, 
    • Room: $5,450,
    • Bronze Meal Plan: $3,240, 
    • Total: 19,296
  • The University of Findlay:
    • Tuition: $15,718, 
    • Room: $2,380, 
    • Board: $2,389,
    • Student Activity Fee (non-refundable): $100,
    • General Service Fee (non-refundable): $383,
    • Health and Accident Insurance (per year): $315,
    • Total per semester: $21,285,
    • Total per year: $42,255
  • Owens Community College:
    • Tuition: $166.77 per credit hour
  • UT:
    • Tuition: $8,950.08, 
    • Mandatory Fees:  $856.10,
    • Total (Per Semester): $9,806.18,
    • Total (Per Academic Year): $19,612.36
  • Trine University:
    • Tuition: $29,600
    • Room & Board: $9,800
  • Ohio State University:
    • Tuition and Fees: $10,037, 
    • Room and Board: $11,666, 
    • Books and Supplies: $1,248, 
    • Other Expenses: $2,680
  • Lourdes College:
    • Tuition: $17,455
    • Room and Board: $8,400
    • Books and Supplies: $1,275
    • Fees: $200
To Sum it All Up: Do’s & Don’ts

DO: Attend College Fairs, use college source books, and take advantage of college-related Web sources to learn about as many colleges and universities as you can.

DO: Develop a set of criteria (entrance requirements, reputation/ranking, location, costs, majors, etc.) for developing your list of colleges.

DON’T: Wait until the last minute to begin the application process; the earlier you start, the better you’ll be. And do read the application instructions carefully to be certain you are following directions including everything each college requests.

DO: Research each college or university to determine entrance requirements, fees, and due dates for applications.

DO: Make campus visits to colleges that most interest you.

DO: Keep track of all the deadlines for each college or university-and do be sure to get your applications in before those deadlines.

DON’T: Allow yourself to fall into the dreaded senior slump. Many colleges will ask to see at least some of your senior grades before making an admissions decision-and some may wait on the decision until they see all of your grades.

Test Dates

2017-2018  ACT Test Dates

Register Online at: http://www.act.org/content/act/en/register.html

Test Date                      Registration Deadline                      (Late Fee Required)

September 9, 2017                  August 4, 2017                                       August 5-18, 2017

October 28, 2017                    September 22, 2017                       September 23-October 6, 2017

December 9, 2017                  November 3, 2017                                November 4-17, 2017

February 10, 2018                  January 12, 2018                                   January 13-19, 2018

April 14, 2018                        March 9, 2018                                       March 10-23, 2018

June 9, 2018                           May 4, 2018                                          May 5-18, 2018

July 14, 2018                         June 15, 2018                                        June 16-22, 2018

2017-2018 SAT Test Dates

To register please visit: https://sat.collegeboard.org/register/

Test Date                            Normal Deadline                        Late Registration 

October 7, 2017                       September 8, 2017                            September 22, 2017

November 4, 2017                   October 6, 2017                                October 20, 2017

December 2, 2017                   November 3, 2017                            November 17, 2017

March 10, 2018                       February 9, 2018                               February 23, 2018

May 5, 2018                            April 6, 2018                                     April 20, 2018

June 2, 2018                           May 4, 2018                                        May 18, 2018

Financial Aid


www.scholarships.com Free scholarship search based on your profile. Other financial aid info also.
www.finaid.org Aid estimator and scholarship search.
www.fastweb.com Database of private sector scholarships, grants, and loans.

www.collegenet.com/mach25 Database contains over 600,000 awards totaling over $1.6 billion.

www.collegeboard.com Scholorship search and financial planning resource.
www.WeeklyScholarshipAlert.org  Free resources for college bound students and their parents.

www.collegescholarships.com A list of scholarships from around the country.
www.free-4u.com/minority.htm Scholarships for many ethnic groups and minorities.
www.schoolsoup.com The world's largest scholarship database

http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.org/ohio/ Accredited online college database

http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.org/degree-programs/ A complete list of online degree programs

http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.org/guide/ A guide to how colleges receive accreditation




Career & College Information

Don't Procrastinate!

It is highly recommended that all college applications be submitted by December 1st! Don’t procrastinate!

The college Database

Provides data to help in the college search and selection process.









Information @ college and career planning, as well as scholarships.

Allows students and counselors to research colleges based on location, cost, and academic majors.

Kaarme.com (pronounced car-may) is an online resource that helps high school students navigate the complex world of college admissions. Our service is provided free of charge and marks a new development in connecting students to prospective universities.




College Information Websites:
Fast Web: www.fastweb.com – Download applications to more than 800 colleges and return them via e-mail.
Peterson’s Education Center: www.petersons.com – Peterson’s publications offer some of the most comprehensive information available to students about all aspects of preparation for higher education.
The Princeton Review: www.princetonreview.com – This site provides general information on college admission and financial aid.

Transfer.org – Course Applicability System (CAS). Provides information on how specific coursework will transfer and apply towards a degree at another university.
GoCollege - www.gocollege.com - Search for colleges, take virtual tours of colleges, take online practice tests for ACT and SAT.
College Net – www.collegenet.com Launched in 1995, lets applicants complete, file and pay for their admissions applications entirely through the internet.
SuperCollege.com – This free website is all about helping students get into and pay for the college of their dreams. There are free resources and great tips and strategies.
ACT: www.act.org
The College Board: www.collegeboard.org
College is Possible: www.collegeispossible.org Preparing for, selecting and paying for college.


Please Visit the following site for more information on the changes to FAFSA for the 2017-2018 School Year: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/fafsa-changes

Please visit the following site for information on and to fill out your FAFSA: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

FAFSA news and materials can be found at financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/fafsa, click on FAFSA updates under Quick Links on the right side of the page.

#AskFAFSA Office Hours on Twitter: At 5pm eastern time on the last Wednesday of each month there will be a (Ask FAFSA Office Hours) live Q&A session on Twitter. This live Q&A will give students, parents and mentors the opportunity to get questions answered by the experts. You can submit your questions and join the conversation by using the hashtag #AskFAFSA and tune in during the live event for answers. Find them at www.Twitter.com/FAFSA

Don't have a Twitter account? Watch the stream live athttp://bit.ly/ASkFAFSA2. Not available during office hours? Obtain a transcript of the Q&A session at www.storify.com/FAFSA the day after office hours.

Be sure to visit FinancialAidToolkit.gov, this website offers a searchable library of brochures, videos, fact sheets, sample tweets and Facebook posts, infographics, PowerPoint presentations and more.



Seniors can fill out their application for FAFSA starting October 1st, 2017.

The following link  is a free  interactive tool that can help guide you through how to answer every question of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

College Credit Plus

Please visit the following website for information on CCP through Northwest State Community College