homeschool student on college tour

7 Steps to Prepare Your Homeschooler for College: The Summer Before Senior Year

The Summer Before Senior Year: A To-Do List

While senior year is the end of a student’s high school journey, the most intensive preparation for post-high school life is generally the summer before senior year, at least for college-bound students. This article reviews the top seven priorities your rising senior should tackle this summer.

1. Prepare Transcripts

The summer before senior year is a good time to ensure your student’s transcript is in order. Obviously, you will still have to fill in their senior coursework, but you can still gather your information, format it, and polish it so the transcript is ready to send on short notice. A standard part of any college application process is submitting a transcript, and you don’t want to be dallying around trying to cobble one together at the last minute. Take time to work on the transcript in the summer before senior year so that when high school ends, you only need to pop in your child’s final grades, and it’s ready to go!

Homeschool Connections offers free transcript help: Free Homeschool Forms and How to Complete a Homeschool Transcript (video).

2. Find References

The college application process typically requires the submission of academic references. These are letters of commendation from teachers, coaches, mentors, or anyone who can attest to your student’s character and academic capabilities. The summer before senior year is ideal for your child to start thinking about this step. Make a list of potential references, contact them, ask them to write a recommendation, and ensure recommendations get submitted properly. Note that some institutions require using a third-party submission website such as Common App.

3. College Applications

The summer before senior year is ideal for filling out college applications. You may wonder if this is a good idea since your student has not even completed senior year. Won’t colleges want to see the grades from the final year of high school? Don’t worry. Many colleges these days will base their judgment on a student’s 9th-11th grade academic record. They will likely require the information from the 12th grade to be submitted when it becomes available. However, generally, this does not preclude a student from beginning the application process.

4. Summer Visits

Many schools host summer visits. You should go to these if possible, especially if hosted by a school your child is strongly considering. Even if your child isn’t set on a particular school, attending a few is good to help them understand what college is like and get a “feel” for campus life. Take admissions tours, learn about what questions to ask, and sort out what is important on campus. Your student will likely make more serious visits during senior year, but doing some junior year helps your child learn what to expect from a visit.

5. Get Your Financial Information in Order

A huge part of preparing for college is getting financial information in order. You do not want to procrastinate on this long and tedious process. Therefore, the summer before senior year is a great time to start. You can gather the financial information you’ll need for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and create a CSS profile, an online application created and maintained by the College Board. The CSS profile allows college students to apply for non-federal financial aid. You may also need financial information for individual college departments. Most of this information will be based on the prior fiscal year, although note that a few schools may ask for prognostication of what you think you will spend on educational expenses for other children, which may qualify you for certain discounts based on circumstances.

6. Apply for Private Scholarships

The summer before senior year is not too early to apply for private scholarships. Many private scholarships have fall deadlines and mirror the collegiate practice of basing decisions on records for grades 9-11. This means your student can still qualify for private scholarships even when he or she still has a full year of high school ahead,

7. Make a List

All of these details can be overwhelming. It’s a good idea to list all your potential schools with their various applications, registration, visitations, and private scholarship deadlines. Deadlines can be all over the map; you don’t want to miss any unintentionally. Making a list is definitely a necessity!


There is no reason these things must be done the summer before senior year, but you will save yourself a lot of work and stress if you get on them earlier rather than later. In fact, a few of these steps can even be done in your child’s junior year. College application processes can be confusing and typically have many moving parts. Navigating it all last minute can be a nightmare. So take this advice and get a crack on these things early so the transition to college can be as seamless as possible.

If you’d like to continue this discussion, I invite you to join us at our Catholic homeschool community. Another good resource is the College 4 Catholic Homeschoolers email discussion list.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Resources to help you in your Catholic homeschool…

Catholic Homeschool Classes Online

Homeschooling Saints Podcast

Good Counsel Careers

The Catholic Homeschool Conference

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get updated every month on all the latest Homeschooling Saints podcast episodes and new blog posts

Ready to Get Started?

Homeschooling can seem daunting at first, but take it from us: The joy and freedom you gain from homeschooling far outweighs the challenges.

With flexible online classes, passionate instructors, and a supportive community at your back and cheering you on, there’s no limits to where your homeschooling journey can take your family! 

Sign up today!

Pin It on Pinterest