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2018 Hawai‘i College Guide

(Sponsored) Application to Acceptance: How to find the right college, the money to pay for it, and sushi rice on the Mainland. Plus, tips from local students on everything from campus visits to going Greek.


(page 12 of 17)

Timeline to Success

College guide timeline

Finding and getting accepted to the right college or university is actually a four-year process. That may sound daunting, but take each step one at a time and stay organized, and you’ll be fine. Here’s how to manage the road to college admission:


9th Grade

  • Enroll in challenging classes.

  • Keep grades up.

  • Get involved in extracurricular activities.

  • Explore potential career paths.

  • Set up a college savings plan.

  • Develop good time-management skills.


College guide

Photo: Thinkstock


10th Grade

  • Try some AP classes.

  • Take a practice Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in October (this year, it’s Oct. 11, 14 and 25). Juniors qualify to compete for the National Merit Scholarship Program, but younger students can take it for practice. collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt

  • Consider volunteering during the summer.

  • Visit campuses while traveling, just to get a sense of what type of college appeals to you. Small? Big? Public? Private?



Photo: Courtesy of Chaminade University


11th Grade

  • In October or early November, take the PSAT/NMSQT.

  • Sign up to take the ACT or SAT. Colleges usually accept either one, but check with where you’re interested. Many students will take the test once as a junior and again as a senior. Is it worth taking it twice? According to ACT, 57 percent of students increased their Composite score on the retest.

  • Visit campuses if possible.

  • Attend college fairs and network with the college representatives.


Test sheet

Photo: Bigstock


12th Grade

  •  In the fall, repeat the ACT/SAT tests. Sign up for the SAT Subject Tests, if appropriate. Send in scores.

  • Gather teacher and other personal recommendations. Send thank yous afterward!

  • Narrow down the list, but have at least four to eight schools to apply to.

  • Draft your essay. Leave enough time for at least two people to read it and comment.

  • Check all due dates at the colleges you want to attend; they vary by institution and you don’t want to miss anything.


  • November: Hawai‘i Community Foundation opens its scholarship application process. Check hawaiicommunityfoundation.org for updated deadlines.

  • Early January: FAFSA forms become available. The online FAFSA application must be submitted by June 30, 2018. However, many colleges will require this earlier. Complete the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to find more scholarship options.

  • February/March: The deadline for financial aid applications at most colleges.

  • March: Many colleges send out acceptance letters during this month.

  • May 1: Many colleges require that you reply with your intent to enroll by this date.


Procrastinators, beware!

If you need to turn something in by midnight of a deadline day, make sure it’s in by midnight of that time zone, not HST.


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