The College Process: A Suggested Timeline

Grade 9
Grade 10
Grade 11

Grade 12

Grade 9

  • Work hard in all your classes. Start thinking about what you especially enjoy about your academic life.
  • Remember that freshman year grades become part of your cumulative GPA; therefore, this year will “count” in college admissions.
  • Take the PSAT at MMA in October. The PSAT is a national test designed for high school juniors. There will be a session in December to assist you in interpreting the results.
  • Begin to develop an activities résumé by becoming involved in a few activities that interest you at MMA and/or in your own community. Explore new interests.
  • Students and parents will be invited to College Counseling programming in the spring.

Grade 10

  • Continue to work hard in all your classes. Challenge yourself within MMA’s curriculum.
  • Remember that grades earned in sophomore year “count” in college admissions as a third of your six- semester cumulative GPA. Colleges like to see an upward trend in GPA from freshman to sophomore year.
  • Meet with representatives from your colleges of interest who visit Merion Mercy Academy throughout the fall. Visit Naviance for the schedule and sign up for these meetings. You may not be excused from class for these meetings.
  • Take the PSAT at MMA in October. Review your scores and note areas for improvement when your scores are returned.
  • In second semester, register for Grade 11 courses that will challenge you and are realistic for your abilities.
  • Most, if not all, colleges prefer in-depth participation in a small number of activities rather than a little participation in many activities.
  • Complete the "Do What You Are" survey in Naviance to begin exploring possible careers.
  • Plan for effective use of your time during the summer–consider academic programs, volunteer opportunities, work, interships, and college visits.
  • Students and parents will be invited to College Counseling programming in the spring.

[back to top]

Grade 11

  • General advice: Decide at the beginning of your junior year to take your school work seriously. Your high school academic record will be the most important factor in college admissions decisions. Don’t wait until senior year to begin improving your work; by then it may be too late! Your junior year GPA is important. Colleges like to see an upward trend in GPA.

September - December

  • Meet with representatives from your colleges of interest who visit Merion Mercy Academy throughout the fall. Visit Naviance for the schedule and sign up for these meetings. You may not be excused from class for these meetings.
  • Take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in October. Use the explanation of your results to help you prepare to take the ACT and/or SAT in January or March.
  • Attend the NACAC National College Fair at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the fall.
  • Take a full length practice SAT/ACT test to compare your performance.
  • Begin to plan college visits, if you have not already begun. 
  • College Counselors will available for student and/or parent meetings by appointment in November and December.

January - June

  • Create a standardized testing plan that best suits your abilities.
  • Take the SAT for the first time in March and/or taking the ACT (with Writing) in February.
  • Complete the junior survey in Naviance in January.
  • Athletes who plan to compete in Division I or II levels in college should register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
  • Have your scheduled individual meeting with your counselor (February-May).
  • Research as many colleges as possible. Begin to develop a preliminary college list in Naviance under "Colleges I'm Thinking About"
  • Register for Grade 12 classes that will challenge you and are realistic for your abilities.
  • In February or March, see one of your Grade 11 teachers in person to ask if they would be willing to write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Please note: Most colleges now want only one teacher recommendation for an applicant. If you are considering applying to one of the relatively few colleges, generally the most selective, that require two teacher recommendations, you may ask a second teacher. Colleges are becoming increasingly specific about the number of recommendations they will accept. Remind your daughter to check each college’s policy. Arranging for more than the requested number of recommendations to a particular college may adversely affect that college’s admissions decision.
  • Attend the Main Line PACAC College Fair in the spring.
  • Begin to visit colleges officially (especially during spring and/or Easter break).
  • Register in April for the June ACT, SAT Reasoning Test, and if necessary, SAT Subject Tests.
  • Become familiar with the Common Application (www.commonapp.org).
  • Think about your summer plans: college visits, other travel, volunteer opportunities, jobs, projects, classes, work on college applications, etc. Be sure to include some time for relaxation.

Summer between Junior and Senior Year

  • Continue to visit colleges!
  • Use Naviance to keep notes regarding your college visits, application process, which college representatives are visiting MMA, and to obtain the latest news regarding open houses and college information sessions in our area. You can also explore colleges with direct links to their websites and download applications. By using the scattergrams provided for each college, you can compare your qualifications (GPA and test scores) to those of recent MMA graduates who applied to the same college.
  • Finish your application essays.
  • Complete the Common Application. 
  • In August, finalize your college choices and add your list to the “colleges I’m applying to” link in Naviance. Aim for a final list of 6-8 colleges (2 “feel good/likely to accept” schools, 2-4 realistic and 2 reach). Be sure that each college on your list is one you would gladly attend.
  • If you are planning to take the SAT/ACT in the fall, test dates and registration deadlines are usually posted in June. SAT: http://sat.collegeboard.org/home
    ACT: http://www.actstudent.org

[back to top]

Grade 12

September

  • Arrange to have SAT/ACT scores sent directly to colleges by the testing agency. (5 weeks ahead of application deadline)
  • Fine-tune your essay (s). Have it proofread for careless errors.
  • Complete the Common Application if you have not done so.
  • Complete the senior survey in Naviance.
  • Meet with representatives from your colleges of interest who visit Merion Mercy Academy throughout the fall. See the college counseling bulletin board or Naviance for the schedule. Sign up for these meetings in Naviance.
  • Sign up for an individual meeting with your college counselor to review college choices, application processes, and deadlines.
  • Visit colleges for overnights/interviews.
  • Take the ACT (with Writing) in September if necessary.
  • Begin working on application supplements if necessary.
  • Proofread all applications before submitting them. Check especially for errors in your birth date, home address, and other important information.
  • Hand in your completed and signed Transcript Release form to the college counseling office.
  • Complete your FERPA waiver in Naviance. Be sure to select the, “Yes, I waive…” option.
  • Financial aid tasks for parent (explained in further detail in financial aid section):
    • Begin preparing the CSS Profile if required by your colleges.
    • Create an account to obtain a PIN for the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov in preparation for filing as soon as possible after October 1. The actual FAFSA will be available online as of October 1 of your daughter’s senior year.

October

  • Retake standardized tests if desired. Arrange to have SAT/ACT scores sent directly to colleges by the testing agency.
  • Be aware of all Early Action, Early Decision, and Rolling Admissions deadlines. Give your counselor your blue forms.
  • Complete a green teacher recommendation form in your senior folder. Give it to the teacher who agreed last spring to write your recommendation on your behalf.
  • FAFSA and CSS Profile become available. Be sure to check financial aid policies for deadlines.

November

  • Retake SAT if desired. Arrange to have SAT/ACT scores sent directly to colleges by the testing agency.
  • Double check all your deadlines for college and scholarship applications
  • Student athletes who plan to compete at the Division I or II level should be registered with the NCAA Eligibility Center and send official standardized test scores to the NCAA.

December

  • Remember to withdraw, in writing, any other applications if you receive a positive response for an Early Decision application.
  • Bring to the college counseling office letters (or send screenshots) indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/waitlists, and invitations to honors programs. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

January

  • The college counselors will send your first semester grades to all your colleges that require them.
  • Bring letters (or send screenshots) indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/waitlists, and invitations to honors programs to the college counseling office. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

February

  • Maintain your academic standing. Your chosen college will see your final grades. Colleges have the right to rescind acceptances if they deem your final transcript unsatisfactory.
  • Continue to research any scholarships for which you may be eligible.
  • Bring letters (or send screenshots) indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/waitlists, and invitations to honors programs to the college counseling office. We will make a copy of each item for our records

March

  • Attend personalized admissions events to which you are invited. Consider making final campus visits to narrow your college choices. Attend classes, stay overnight, eat the food, and meet current students, etc.
  • Bring letters (or send screenshots) indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/waitlists, and invitations to honors programs to the college counseling office. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

April

  • Contact your college counselor if you have not heard from one or more of your colleges.
  • If you cannot decide between several very close choices, make a more thorough visit to each school. Since you have already been accepted and know your cost, you can look more objectively at each college.
  • Carefully compare each financial aid package: grants, scholarships, loans, etc.
  • If you are placed on a waiting list, return the reply form if you are truly interested in that school. Consult with your college counselor regarding other possible strategies.
  • Bring letters (or send screenshots) indicating acceptances, scholarships/grants, deferrals/waitlists, and invitations to honors programs to the college counseling office. We will make a copy of each item for our records.

May

  • Send in your deposit to one college by May 1st. Inform the others in writing that you will not be attending. Depositing at more than one college is unethical, and both acceptances may be rescinded as a result. For a description of a student’s rights and responsibilities in the college process, click here.
  • Colleges may activate their waiting lists one to two weeks after the May 1st deadline, but you may not hear from the college until June, July, or even August in a few cases.
  • Return your completed and signed Final College Choice form to the college counseling office.
  • Take any applicable Advanced Placement exams.

June

  • Graduate from Merion Mercy Academy!
  • Your final official transcript will be forwarded to the one college you choose to attend.
  • NCAA – registered athletes’ final official transcripts will also be sent to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

[back to top]

An independent, Catholic, all-girls college preparatory high school for grades 9-12
Merion Mercy Academy
511 Montgomery Avenue Merion Station, PA 19066
P (610) 664-6655
F (610) 664-6322
powered by finalsite