Preparing for College: Eleventh Grade Checklist

School Year

Take the most rigorous classes available to you that you feel you can manage. Remember: these will be the most recent grades available to colleges.

Meet with your counselor and mentor(s) to discuss your progress and future plans.

Apply to the QuestBridge College Prep Scholars Program in the winter, and if selected, take full advantage of the resources offered to you.

Get to know your teachers in core subjects. They will likely be writing college recommendation letters for you.

Take the SAT or ACT as early as you are prepared to take it. Depending on your level of preparedness, and if you want to apply early to college in the fall of your senior year, leave time to retake the SAT/ACT. We suggest taking the ACT or SAT no later than April or May.

  • Register early so you can use fee waivers. IMPORTANT NOTE: Some colleges grant application fee waivers on the basis that you used fee waivers for your SAT/ACT. Take SAT Subject Tests. If you took the SAT, many colleges also require 2 Subject Tests.
  • Check to see if the colleges you are interested in have specific requirements or recommendations. We suggest taking the Subject Tests in June (or May, if you are taking the SAT in June) in your strongest academic subjects.

Continue to participate in meaningful extracurricular activities. Take on leadership roles if time allows.

Research colleges and prepare for the application process. See resources for Applying to College.

Attend any local college fairs.

Put yourself on college mailing lists.


Prepare for the SAT/ACT if you have not yet taken it or would like to improve your score.

Take summer school/community college/online courses.

Read as much as you can.

Participate in summer enrichment programs offered by organizations and colleges. Look for programs that offer financial assistance.

If you are able, get on the road and visit colleges. They don’t have to be QuestBridge partners -- visiting any campus will give you insight into what to look for!

Begin drafting college application essays, such as your personal statement.