College Timeline

Freshman Year

  • Get Your Bearings!
    • Starting ninth grade at Calhoun represents a big transition. Once you get the hang of high school, work on key skills like time-management and self-advocacy that will serve you well once we start the college process.
    • Academically, use your curriculum to explore and expand your interests. Be curious, be engaged, and be your best academic self in every class.  
    • Get involved in the arts, sports, clubs, community service...whatever floats your boat! Find some activities where you can connect with like-minded classmates and make an impact. Colleges value students who make a positive impact on their school and their greater community
    • Summer can be an important time to explore passions and opportunities, so make it count!  Get a job or an internship; return to your camp as a counselor; take a class on a college campus; or travel (especially if there is a service or study component).  Do something that matters to you, and remember: it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to have a meaningful experience!

Sophomore Year

  • Keep up the Good Work!
    • Challenge yourself academically and improve on your performance from last year
    • Stay involved: sustained participation counts for a lot!  Consider opportunities to develop leadership skills through your activities, but know that colleges need leaders and participants: no need to be the head of everything you do.
  • Practice Taking Standardized Tests: ACT/SAT Diagnostic
    • Take the ACT/SAT Diagnostic Test that is administered in the spring as practice for the kind of standardized tests that you will be taking as juniors.  Bring your parent or guardian to the College Counseling Office’s Q&A night on standardized testing.

Junior Year

  • Rise to the Occasion!
    • Junior year is the last full year colleges see when they review a student’s application, so make this your best year yet. Grades and rigor always matter, but passion and intellectual curiosity do too; your Junior Workshop project can be a great vehicle for highlighting these qualities in your application next year.
  • Plan and Prepare for Standardized Tests
    • Mid-October: Take the PSAT and a Practice ACT 
    • Pick your test by December of junior year and develop a plan to prepare for one-- not both. Do not let test preparation interfere with academic success!
    • Consider taking a Bespoke SAT or ACT class--held onsite at Calhoun for 16 weeks leading up to the June test dates. Financial aid is available to students who currently receive tuition assistance from Calhoun.
    • If you choose a different approach to test prep, plan carefully and don’t over-do it.  Months and months of test prep doesn’t always lead to better scores, though it can lead to increased anxiety around testing.
    • Take a first SAT or ACT exam in the spring
    • SAT dates in March, May, and June; ACT dates in April and June
    • If necessary, SAT Subject Tests in May or June
  • Engage with the College Counseling Office
    • Meet in small groups during College Seminar (once every cycle during Mods 3 & 4)
    • January: Attend College Night for Juniors and Families 
    • Complete junior questionnaires and parent questionnaires on Naviance
    • January/February: Arrange an individual meeting with your primary counselor 
    • Late winter/early spring: Arrange a Family Meeting with your primary counselor (late winter/early spring)
    • After College Night, students and parents complete separate questionnaires to share interests and experiences and to help prepare for the family meeting
    • Discuss list of 20 to 30 recommended colleges for research
    • Address issues of SATs, SAT Subject Tests and ACTs
    • Review planned senior year schedule
  • Refine Your College List
    • Use guidebooks and college websites to learn about previously unfamiliar schools
    • Begin to visit college campuses--ideally over Spring Break, with more visits planned for the summer
    • (Late April) Attend the Manhattan Independent School College Fair 

Senior Year 

  • Welcome Back to the College Counseling Office!
    • Attend College Kick-Off before classes begin
    • Resume College Seminar during Mods 1 & 2
    • Meet one-on-one with your primary counselor to strategize regarding your personal timeline for the application process
  • Select Challenging, Interesting Classes and Do Your Best in Them
    • Your Calhoun curriculum in senior year tells a story about your intellectual interests, as does your performance in your chosen courses: Mods 1 & 2 are the last chance for students to show what they can do!
  • Meet with College Admissions Officers When they Come to Calhoun
    • 85+ college representatives come to Calhoun each fall - make personal connections whenever possible!
  • Complete Your College Applications
    • Revise the draft of the Common Application you started during College Seminar
    • Retake the SAT or ACT, or Take SAT Subject Tests (if necessary)
    • Ask two teachers to write letters of recommendation
    • Write and edit college essays; get feedback at Appy Hour on Tuesday afternoons!
    • Submit applications & celebrate with a #submitselfie
  • Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships  (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, online application is available on October 1st)
  • Wait for Decision Letters to Come from Colleges (Early Action and Early Decision applicants hear back in December; Regular Decision applicants in March)
  • Celebrate after Receiving Offers of Admission!
  • Submit a Deposit to One College by May 1st (National Candidate Reply Date)
  • Finish Strong in Mods 3 & 4 – Don’t Let Grades Drop!
  • Preview the Transition to College at the Senior Send-Off in early June



Main Building 3rd - 12th Grades 433 West End Avenue New York, NY 10024 212.497.6500

Robert L. Beir Lower School Building 2.8 Years - 2nd Grade 160 West 74th Street New York, NY 10023 212.497.6550

Connect With Us
powered by finalsite