College Search Timeline

The following information is designed to give you a rough overview of the college search process upon which students at Linden Hall embark. Students have access to further information through their Naviance/Family Connection personal accounts; parents will be invited to join and set up Naviance/Family Connection accounts. We hope that this timeline will encourage some basic understanding of the process that students undertake, as well as foster constructive discussion.

Freshman and Sophomore Years

Students should engage in coursework. This lays the foundation for the entire high school experience. Look to take a balanced, challenging, appropriate curriculum.

Engage in extra-curricular activities. Try to balance the type of activity – athletic, community service, job, artistic, publications. Students should look to have three-five meaningful activities outside the classroom experience.

Sophomore Fall

  • Sophomores take the PSAT in October of 10th grade – this is truly a practice experience.
  • Throughout the Fall college representatives visit Linden Hall for small college fairs. Students are encouraged to begin the conversation with these representatives to begin to understand what colleges offer.
  • Holiday Break: Some families may decide to investigate some colleges while together. Parents and students should take a very open and broad approach at this early stage of the process, perhaps picking a geographic center (a metropolitan area?) and visiting a range of schools within that area. It's too early to have a clear sense of the strengths that the student may present to colleges the following year, so any visits during this time should focus on helping the student define the criteria she may value as she begins the search process.


  • Sophomores might take SAT Subject tests at the end of the school year. These further highlight a student’s scholarship in a specific subject area.
  • Sophomores are required to have their curriculum ideas confirmed by the college counseling office.
  • Many students and families may decide to start visiting colleges over the spring break. Colleges often have regularly scheduled information sessions and tours arranged for visitors; rarely do colleges offer interviews to sophomores. While there is little specific direction that students and advisors can determine at this early stage of the process, these spring visits can be very valuable in helping students clarify their own ideas about what is appealing about certain types of schools. Once again, a fairly broad and open view towards visiting schools seems most appropriate at this point in the process.


  • Students are encouraged to visit college campuses to get a feel for the types of college environment in which they are most comfortable.

Junior Fall


  • Classes resume
  • Students confirm schedules
  • Continue extracurricular activities and pursue leadership opportunities.


  • College Visits – Throughout the fall Linden Hall hosts college representatives on our campus to speak to interested students. We welcome college representatives for individual visits and host College Afternoon programs, which allow our students to interact with college representatives in different ways. Students are reminded of these visits through their Family Connection accounts. Students and parents should survey this information carefully and frequently.
  • PSAT's - Offered at Linden Hall on a Wednesday in mid-October. This test serves as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Test results are received and distributed to students in December/January.


  • December sitting of the SAT – at Linden Hall. We recommend that students begin establishing their standardized testing profile required by most colleges by taking the SAT at this point in time. Linden Hall offers the SAT on our campus for the October, December and May test dates. Traditionally, juniors take the December test and prepare for the October test at the beginning of their senior year.
  • ACT Test date. The ACT is standardized college admissions test that serves as an alternative to the SAT’s. The test is more curriculum-based and consists of four subsections, including science reasoning. At many colleges and universities, the ACT can substitute for both the SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Tests. Linden Hall students should be certain to register for the optional writing segment of this test; only the ACT with writing can substitute for SAT and Subject Test scores at many highly competitive colleges and universities. Studies have shown that some students do better on this kind of examination, so students should consider with their counselor and family if the ACT could be a better standardized test for them.
  • Holiday Break: Some families may decide to investigate some colleges while together. Parents and students should begin to narrow down parameters and have a solid conversation about interests, distance from home, learning communities, etc. Visits during this time should focus on helping the student define the criteria she may value as she begins the search process.

Junior Winter

January/ February

  • Students who require the TOEFL – must register for the spring and fall test dates (dates offered through the College Counseling Office) to secure Linden Hall transportation to the TOEFL. Students who register for different test dates must secure their own transportation. Students should plan TOEFL testing for weekend days.
  • Students should continue to schedule individual appointments with their college counselor. Students should plan to meet with their college counselor at least three to four times throughout the spring semester. (A good rule to follow is for the student to schedule a meeting once a month.)


  • Many students and families should visit colleges over the spring break. Colleges often have regularly scheduled information sessions and tours arranged for visitors, and some may even offer interviews to eleventh graders at this early stage. These spring visits can be very valuable in helping students clarify their own ideas about what is appealing about certain types of schools. If an interview is offered, take advantage of this opportunity.

Junior Spring


  • ACT Test date.
  • Early April – Registration deadline for May SAT and SAT Subject Tests administration at Linden Hall. Linden Hall is a test center.

April - May

  • Individual meetings with counselors continue. (Remember, we suggest an approach of at least one per month, as needs and questions require.)
  • Focus programs sponsored by the College Office will be offered regarding special topics related to the college search.


  • Students are required to turn in an electronic copy of the Common Application. Students must also have written a Common Application personal statement. This personal statement will be considered a ‘work in progress,’ but students need to have a strong draft prior to the end of their junior year.
  • Students should be requesting recommendations at this time.
  • Early May - SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Test date. (We strongly recommend that students take SAT Subject Tests at this time.)
  • Early MayRegistration date for June SAT and ACT administration (NOT offered at Linden Hall). (Students will be at home by this date; the test should be taken at a test site that is convenient for them. Be sure to look up appropriate test center number for this location when registering, but also be certain to record the Linden Hall school code number – 392-295 -when registering.)
  • Advanced Placement Examinations


  • First Saturday in June - SAT Reasoning and SAT Subject Test date.
  • Second Saturday in June – ACT test administration.
  • Prospective athletic recruits should register with the NCAA Initial Eligibility Center by completing the registration forms available on the NCAA IEC website. (This applies to students who are interested in competing at the NCAA Division I and Division II levels only)

Summer Between Junior and Senior Year

  • By the end of the junior year, students should develop a list of approximately ten to fifteen prospective schools, which will direct their summer research. This list, while tentative, should reflect a necessary balance of selectivity issues within the chosen group of colleges.
  • Students and parents should visit colleges. Often, the summer provides the best time to interview at colleges; as soon as the college list becomes fairly focused, attempts should be made to schedule interviews. (Remember, some schools do not provide interviews, so call to find out what a specific college's policy is regarding interviews.)
  • By the end of the summer, after campus visits, interviews, and further research, students should return to Linden Hall with a fairly well-defined idea of their application strategy and a list of prospective schools. Ideally, this list should be some six to nine colleges in size and provide a certain level of security in terms of the selectivity of the colleges represented.
  • July/August – Look for registration deadline for any testing. Based on the college list, determine if SAT Subject tests are needed in the application process. If so, determine how many and on which SAT dates to test.

Senior Fall


  • Students should have a Testing Calendar in place that will guide them throughout the fall as they finalize their standardized testing.
  • SAT administration at Linden Hall - Last Saturday in August
  • August/September - Registration deadline for October SAT Reasoning and Subject Test administration


  • August – Registration for October ACT administration.
  • Individual appointments with college advisors continue.
  • For students interested in financial aid, access the CSS PROFILE financial aid application on College Board’s website. Submit registration information directly to PROFILE electronically.
  • Late-September or Early-October- Registration deadline for November SAT Reasoning and Subject Test administration.
  • Any Rolling Decision/Priority applications should be submitted by September 20. Submit a Transcript Release Form for each application submitted.


  • Early October (usually the first weekend) - SAT Reasoning and Subject Test administration.
  • Late October – ACT administration – not at Linden Hall
  • Fall “College Afternoons” and individual college visits – calendar for these visits will be developed during the summer; please check Family Connection for specific information
  • October 15 - deadline for submitting Transcript Release Form to College Office for Early Decision/Early Action applications. Students should also arrange for teacher recommendations related to any early applications as early in the fall as possible.
  • October 15 is also the recommended deadline for any Rolling Decision or Priority applications.


  • Early November - Registration deadline for December SAT Reasoning and Subject Test administration.
  • Students applying for financial aid need to strictly adhere to requirements and deadlines set by colleges.
  • November 1 – Application deadline for Early Decision/Early Action process at selected colleges and universities.
  • November 15 – Application deadline for Early Decision process at selected colleges and universities.
  • BEFORE THANKSGIVING – deadline for requesting teacher recommendations from selected instructors for regular decision applications. (This may be done well before this date; students should seek college advisor’s input in making these selections.)


  • Early December – Deadline for submitting ALL Secondary School Report forms to the College Office.
  • December 1, December 15Application deadlines for some universities and colleges. (Pay attention to special scholarship deadlines!)
  • December SAT Administration at Linden Hall
  • Late December - Application deadlines for some colleges and universities.

Senior Winter/Spring


  • The most common Regular Decision Application deadlines for most colleges and universities are January 1 and January 15. Students should carefully check the specific application deadlines for their prospective schools.
  • If applying for financial aid, October 1 is the earliest date to begin the FAFSA paperwork. See for more information.


  • Most colleges and universities have either a February 1 or February 15 deadline for the submission of financial documents, either directly to the school or through the College Board's IDOC system. Please check carefully for each school's respective requirements.


  • Decisions reached by colleges; colleges begin to communicate these decisions to students.



  • By early April, students should have all application decisions from the colleges they applied to.
  • Students may choose to re-visit colleges to determine their final choice for matriculation.
  • Students placed on wait lists should communicate with colleges.


  • May 1 is the universal reply date for a student's final college choice. Most schools require a matriculation deposit to reserve a space. Some schools do not require a monetary deposit; instead, they request a simple pledge to attend. We view this pledge as the same level of commitment as a monetary deposit.

Summer After Graduation

  • Waitlist students stay in contact with colleges and universities regarding their candidacy. (Colleges will try to select all students from the waitlist as early as their procedures allow; these schools will inform students about their status throughout the summer.)
  • College Office sends final transcript to individual student’s final choice school. Official end of the College Search Process! (For each student, we will send only one final transcript. The only exception to this policy is for a student who is admitted off of a waitlist in late summer and decides to attend that school after the final transcript has been sent.)