College Admissions Process by Year

Senior Year

  • A challenging senior curriculum and strong senior grades are extremely important. It is essential that you not slack off during your senior year. Students whose performance is on an upward track impress college admissions officers who are looking for students who are hitting their scholarly stride just as they enter college. On the other hand, these same officers are dismissive of students whose performance is in decline.
  • Work closely with Mr. Wright on your applications and essays. They must be complete, accurate, and letter-perfect.
  • Consider taking the SAT, ACT, or TOEFL again. Should you decide to do so, register in time to meet your colleges’ application deadlines.
  • Consider taking the SAT Subject tests in the fall. Speak with Mr. Wright for individual guidance on this, and should you decide to do so, register in time to meet your colleges’ application deadlines.
  • If you have not done so already, request your teacher recommendations as soon as possible and enter the names of the teacher(s) who will be writing your recommendations into Naviance.
  • Make sure that you have your SAT, ACT, and TOFEL scores sent directly from the testing agency to each of your colleges. You can have this done either when you register (for free) or at a later date (for a fee).
  • Examine carefully your Upper School transcript. Make sure that it is accurate and complete. Report any additions or corrections to Mr. Wright.
  • If you are applying for “early decision” or “early action,” review your application(s) with Mr. Wright at least two weeks prior to the deadline.
  • Before you apply, review the financial aid pages on the websites of all colleges on your list to make sure you understand how and when to apply for scholarships and merit awards. The deadlines and processes for merit award consideration vary from institution to institution and can be separate from the college admissions application process. Please see the section on Scholarship and Financial Aid Information on the Calverton College Counseling website for more details.
  • If you are planning to participate in NCAA Division I or II athletics, register with the NCAA Eligibility Center. For information about how to do this, please see
  • Keep an eye on your colleges’ application deadlines. Submit your applications to your College Counselor for review well in advance of all deadlines.
  • As soon as possible after October 1, parents should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the Department of Education to establish eligibility for financial aid. The FAFSA can be accessed at
  • Inform your Mr.Wright immediately if any school notifies you that any part of your college application package is missing or incomplete.
  • Inform your College Counselor immediately when you receive admission decision letters and merit awards or scholarships.
  • By April 1 you should have received all of your admission decision letters.
  • Before May 1, decide which school you will attend, notify each of the other schools that have offered you admission that you have to decided to decline their offers of admission, and make deposit to the school of your choice.
  • Keep your grades up. Remember, no offer of admission is final until the college receives and approves your final transcript. Colleges can and do withdraw offers of admission when they see a significant decline in the performance of an applicant over the course of the Senior year.

Junior Year

  • Remember that most college admission officers focus special attention on your performance during your junior year to look for evidence of growth and maturity as you progress through school. They are very interested in the direction your academic work is taking. Ideally, in each of your Upper School years you would pursue greater and greater challenges, and each year your performance would improve. An upward trajectory in your grades over time will improve your chances of admission. Conversely, a downward trajectory is your grades can significantly harm your chances of admission.
  • Pursue opportunities to demonstrate leadership and initiative in and out of school such as participating in student government, starting or leading a club, captaining a team, or by making your mark in scouting, church, or community service activities.
  • Explore your hobbies and interests. Enter competitions related to the activities and organizations that interest you. Look for opportunities to demonstrate your abilities and accomplishments.
  • You will be automatically registered to take the PSAT/NMSQT at Calverton in October. The National Merit Scholarship competition is based on the results of this examination, so be sure to do your best work!
  • You should take the SATs and ACTs at least once during your junior year, usually after you have received your PSAT scores and have had time to review them. After you have taken either the SAT or ACT and have received your score report, meet with your Mr. Wright to review your scores and to discuss test preparation and future testing. You can register online for the SAT at and/or for the ACT at
  • Continue to research colleges via Naviance, the internet, college guides, videos, catalogues, etc., to find those institutions that best match your selection criteria. Meet with college representatives that visit Calverton. Consult with Mr. Wright for help with your research.
  • Add the colleges that most interest you to your "colleges I'm thinking about" list on Naviance. Mr. Wright will also be adding colleges that might interest you to this list.
  • Meet with college admissions representatives visiting The Calverton School, attend college fairs, and schedule a visit or attend an open-house at the schools that interest you. The Association of Independent Maryland Schools College Fair and the IB Mid-Atlantic College Fair, in which both occur in the spring, are excellent opportunities to learn about difference colleges.
  • If you are planning to participate in NCAA sanctioned sports in college, notify Mr. McNealey, and ask your coaches for advice about contacting college coaches and promoting yourself. More advice for student athletes can be found on this website in the Special Considerations section.
  • If you plan to apply to one of the service academies or for ROTC, complete the forms and request nominations. More information on this topic can be found on this website in the Special Considerations section.
  • Consider taking the SAT Subject Tests for colleges that require them. Speak with College Counselor Mr. Wright for individual guidance on this.
  • Whether with a summer job, volunteering, academic course work, internships, sports, or opportunities in the arts, make your summers purposeful and productive.
  • Research scholarships by studying the financial aid pages on college websites and by reading the College Board Scholarship Handbook available in the College Counseling offices. More information about scholarship opportunities can be found on this website in Financial Aid and Scholarship Information.
  • Stay in contact with your Mr. Wright over the summer; he is available to you for help and guidance year-round.

Additional To-Do List for International Students in the Junior Year

  • If English is not your native language, please take the TOEFL near the end of your junior year and meet with Mr. Wright as soon as you receive your scores.
  • Please carefully review the web link for international students on the websites of the colleges and universities that you are considering. Pay attention to the specific instructions and directions. Most colleges and universities have an Admissions Officer specifically assigned to assist you with any questions you may have.
  • If you have attended any schools other than Calverton in the ninth grade or afterward, give a copy of your official transcript, translated into English, to Mr. Wright to be scanned and submitted along with your college applications.
  • Please be prepared to provide financial statements from a bank or other financial institution that demonstrates that your family has sufficient funds for your college expenses. Some colleges have specific forms that the bank must complete. Give these to Mr. Wright in August when you return for your senior year.

Sophomore Year

  • Take the PSAT 10 in March, at Calverton. (You will be automatically registered.)
  • Be very aware that most college admissions officers focus special attention on your 10th and 11th grade years. Your academic performance during this period is crucial, so do your best work!
  • Stay involved with your extra-curricular activities, and choose at least one to become your “mission.” Colleges respect the student who makes a deep commitment to one or two activities more highly than those who make superficial commitments to many.
  • Begin to think seriously about whether you will want to play NCAA sanctioned sports in college. If you decide to do so, talk to your coach and Mrs. Rector about how to prepare yourself and how to approach college coaches.
  • After you receive your PSAT 10 score report in the Spring, meet with your College Counselor to analyze your scores and plan for the SAT.
  • During the winter you will begin to receive college brochures in the mail. Read these and keep those that interest you.
  • Also during the winter, consult with your teachers and your College Counselor to plan your Junior year course work.
  • Again, put your summer to good use. Read, work, volunteer, or enroll in an academic enrichment program or a PSAT/SAT prep class.

Freshman Year

  • Begin the year in the knowledge that, so far as college admission is concerned, the game starts now. College admission decisions are based on your performance from this point on; few if any of your past accomplishments will be considered, but most of those that follow will. Therefore, starting with day one of Upper School strive to be at your best academically, athletically, artistically, and socially every day. Remember: your freshman year grades count!
  • Get involved with extra-curricular activities. Student government, athletics, community service, performing arts, clubs, etc., offer fantastic ways to exercise and enjoy your talents. Your freshman year is just the time to sample different activities and decide upon the ones to which you will want to make a commitment (and potentially develop into a “hook”).
  • Keep your ears open about colleges. You may be surprised to find that you are surrounded by college information emanating from all kinds of sources. Friends, family, neighbors, Calverton teachers and alumni; books, newspapers, magazines; radio, television, and the internet are all great sources of college information. But maintain a healthy skepticism; there are a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding college admissions, so be discerning.
  • Get to know your College Counselor. Mr. Wright is here for you; you are always welcome to drop by and chat about any aspect of college and the admission process.
  • Put your summer to good use. Read, work, volunteer for community service, or perhaps enroll in an academic enrichment program or PSAT/SAT prep class.
  • Take the PSAT 8/9 at Calverton. (You will be automatically registered.)


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