College Planning Timeline

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  • Junior Year

    By the end of junior year, all students will have the tools necessary to begin college applications over the summer. 

    • College Representative visits in the fall: Juniors are encouraged to visit with least three college representatives.
    • The PSAT is administered at Riverdale in October.
    • October Parent Night: The college application process is outlined during this evening gathering for parents. And there are cookies.
    • November Financial Aid Information Night: Get a head start understanding the financial dimension.
    • Junior Day Out during second trimester: This is a full day, off campus, comprehensive program that informs students about every aspect of their college search and application process.
    • College 101: A series of classes during winter trimester that gives students experience with college search engines and other resources, outlines the college application process, introduces effective essay writing and provides testing information. Two drafts of a college essay are written and each student receives coaching about their work. Juniors emerge from these sessions with a binder that addresses every aspect of the college search and application process. Parents should look at this binder as well.
    • Field Study: College Exploration. Students who select this Field Studies option will visit colleges during the last week in March. During the weeks leading up to their college trips, they will work with Kathleen Reid to explore college options and plan for their visits.
    • The ACT: Given in April at Riverdale.
    • Individual meetings with each junior occur during third trimester.
    • Junior Parent Night in May. Details about the college application process, presented once again.
    • Distribution of the School Report Preparation Questions for students to answer over the summer.
    • Coaching provided to students about relevant and powerful summer opportunities


    Summer Between Junior and Senior Years

    During the summer between junior and senior years, students should:

    • Visit colleges
    • Write essays. The new Common Application essay questions will be released.
    • Provide information for Riverdale’s School Report, which will be sent to colleges along with teacher recommendations and the student’s transcript.
    • Explore colleges, on-line and in-person.


    Senior Year 

    We help seniors with all facets of the post-graduate process. While most Riverdale students attend a four-year college or university, we recognize that this isn’t the path for every student. Thus, we also help transition students into community colleges, gap years, military careers and jobs as well. 

    • The College Counselor meets with every senior and parents during the first weeks of school. Coaching is provided to seniors about college selection, asking teachers for recommendations, using Naviance, Early Action and Early Decision options and essay writing.
    • Essay and application review by college counselor and faculty, upon request.
    • School Report Preparation: The school report is written by Kathleen Reid, and usually accompanies the transcript and teacher recommendations (State colleges do not require this part of the application). Every faculty member is interviewed during preparations for writing the school report. Students provide extensive information, and parents are welcome to contribute information as well. Only college representatives are allowed to read the School Report.
    • College Representative Visits in the fall: Seniors are encouraged to meet with all of the colleges to which they will be applying. More than 70 college representatives visit Riverdale each year. These visitors are usually the admissions personnel who first read our student’s applications. Thus, we take these encounters between student and college representatives very seriously. Colleges will often take “demonstrated interest” into account when considering applicants, and there is no better way to show interest than during a face-to-face meeting.
    • October Parent Night: The college application process is outlined once again, with lots of time for questions.
    • November Financial Aid Information Night: This evening provides specific information about all dimensions of financial aid, and filling out the FAFSA. Last year’s seniors received nearly 5 million dollars in financial aid. A database of private scholarships is maintained and made available to all students through Naviance.
    • Early application deadlines are met in November. Students hear back from colleges by mid-December.
    • Most regular decision deadlines, Dec. 15–Jan. 15. Students will hear back from most colleges by April 1.
    • Work intensively with wait-listed students.
    • Decision day! May 1! Students notify all colleges that they’ve been accepted to about their decision, and make a deposit at one college.