Parent Checklists

As a parent, you have a million things on your mind. Thats why we created these handy checklists. Be sure to download our printable checklists. There’s one for each grade, and you can pin them up to help your child stay on track.

  • Pre-HS

    • Start saving for your child’s college education. Learn about the tax advantages of state college savings plans and prepaid tuition plans at Use FAFSA4caster at to find out how much federal student aid your child might receive.

    • Encourage good study habits, such as having all the materials you need and planning ahead with daily tasks for larger projects.

    • Talk to your child about their interests and explore how to best fit those interests with a college major/career.

    • Foster a lifelong love of reading by reading to your child when they are younger and having regular reading time each day when they can read on their own.

    • Check in on your child’s academic progress periodically. Review report cards, assignments, and special projects.

    • Be supportive. Words of encouragement and snacks on study breaks go a long way to helping build your child’s sense of confidence to get to the next level.

  • 9th Grade

    • Continue saving for college and add to your child’s savings account regularly.

    • Monitor your child’s study habits and stay involved with their academic/extracurricular lives.

    • Help your child “keep their eye on the prize” by continuing to talk to them about college plans as if they will definitely go to college.

    • Encourage your child to take Advanced Placement and other challenging classes.

    • Keep track of their time and help your child manage their time so that they don’t get overcommitted and exhausted. This is a marathon, not a sprint! Occasionally there will be sprinting involved, but in general for every mile of progress there should be a mile of rest.

  • 10th Grade

    • Continue saving for college and add to your child’s savings account regularly.

    • Begin investigating financial aid options available, starting with the US Education Department’s website.

    • Find out whether your child’s school has college nights. Attend them!

    • Investigate the availability of scholarships provided by organizations such as corporations, labor unions, professional associations and religious groups.

    • Schedule preliminary visits to nearby campuses.

    • Help your child make summer plans. Summer is a great time to explore interests and learn new skills, and colleges look for students who pursue meaningful summer activities.

  • 11th Grade

    • Schedule college visits with your child. Go together and ask questions of the tour guides, admissions offices, and financial aid staff together. Think of possible questions before arriving on campus.

    • Make a college wish list together. Talk with your child about qualities he or she may want in a college in terms of location, size, majors offered and so on.

    • Help your child prepare for the standardized tests they will take this year - the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT and SAT Subject Tests, and/or the PLAN exam and the ACT. Visit and for more information.

    • Make sure your child meets with the school counselor this year to begin preparing for the application process.

    • Attend college fairs and financial aid events. These events allow you to meet with college representatives and get answers to questions. Your child can ask the school counselor how to find events in your area.

  • 12th Grade

    • Make sure your child knows when their applications are due! These deadlines are non-negotiable and late applications may prevent them from going to the college of their choice!

    • Help your child decide about applying early. If your senior is set on going to a certain college, they should think about whether applying early is a good option. Early applications are usually due in November. Read about the pros and cons of applying early.

    • Encourage and assist your child if necessary to set up college interviews. An interview is a great way for your child to learn more about a college and for a college to learn more about your child.

    • Work together to apply for financial aid. Have your child contact the financial aid offices at the colleges he or she is interested in to find out what forms students must submit to apply for aid. Make sure he or she applies for aid by or before any stated deadlines. Funds are limited, so the earlier you apply, the better.

    • Help your child process college responses. Once your child starts hearing back from colleges about admission and financial aid, he or she will need your support to decide what to do.