Here is a general checklist that can be used to give you an idea of what needs to be taken care of while you are still in high school before you can go to college. Make sure to also check the website for the college you are applying for in case they have their own college readiness checklist (for example, click here to view the checklist for UH Hilo).

  • Make sure that you have taken all the required classes to graduate on time.
  • Take the SAT/ACT (you can apply for a fee waiver through your high school or the SAT/ACT websites).
  • Take college placement exams if needed. For example, at Leeward Community College, you must take a placement  exam for Math or English if you do not have the appropriate placement measures (such as an SAT/ACT score, 12th grade English grade, etc.). For in-person exams, you can take the Accuplacer. For online exams, you can take the test through EdReady.
  • Research different colleges to see what is right for you. Visit different college campuses for tours and to speak with the admissions officers about why the college might be a good fit for you.
  • Meet with your guidance/college counselor to talk about what college is right for you and possible majors.
  • Complete your FAFSA as soon as possible. This annual application opens October 1st, but you must research the priority deadline for the specific college you are applying for.
  • Research scholarships and apply for as many as you can.
  • Send your high school transcripts to the colleges you are applying to.
  • Start asking people to write you letters of recommendation for both college admissions applications and scholarship applications. Make sure to give them enough time to write a good letter (one month is a good amount of time).
  • Draft your college essays and have someone review them.
  • Finalize your college applications and make sure to submit before the deadline. You should try to have all your applications submitted by the fall semester of your senior year of high school.

Did you know? A university can have different admission application deadlines. For example, Hawaii Pacific University has an Early Action Deadline on November 15th and if you submit by then, you will receive a decision by December 15th. They also have a priority deadline on January 15th and if you submit by then, you will have a decision by February 15th.

Once you apply and are accepted, make sure to follow up with your application by checking the email that you used to apply. If you are accepted, the college will most likely tell you with an email or letter. Once you are accepted, you will need to complete certain tasks before you can start college. Many colleges have a new-student or freshman checklist to guide you.

New-Student Checklists by Campus: