Countdown to Graduation

  • Read: The more you read the better prepared you are for the world of work and for college.
  • Write: Improve your writing skills as much as you can. The ability to communicate on the job and in college is vital.
  • Develop good study habits, time management skills, and decision-making skills.
  • Choose your subjects wisely. Continue taking college prep mathematics, science, and foreign language courses.

Use the following timetable to help organize the tasks to be completed as you begin your countdown to graduation

Eleventh Grade


  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT.
  • Attend college programs sponsored by your guidance department.
  • Attend career presentations sponsored by your school, MCPS, and the business community.
  • Acquire part-time volunteer or job experiences related to career plans.
  • Monitor your student service learning hours.

Fall / Spring

  • Meet with your counselor about your progress.
  • Meet with college admissions representatives who visit your school.
  • Get information on apprenticeship programs.
  • Get information on trade and technical schools.
  • Take career interest inventories.

Early Spring

  • Consider career goals as you select classes and complete your four-year planning sheet.
  • Plan next year's program to enhance prospects for employment opportunities and college admissions.
  • Register for ACT and/or SAT I/SAT II.
  • Use the computer search programs to identify appropriate colleges, trade, and technical schools.
  • Consider an internship for the senior year.


  • Attend college fairs and school-sponsored programs.
  • Confer with your counselor about postsecondary plans.
  • Attend career information programs.
  • Spend time in the Career Center exploring materials.
  • Find out about summer enrichment programs.
  • Assemble a file of materials collected from colleges, trade, and technical schools and those distributed by your guidance department.
  • Make interview appointments for the early fall if appropriate.
  • Practice interviewing skills.
  • Become familiar with college and job applications.
  • Develop your resume/personal references.
  • Continue earning student service learning hours if needed.
  • Consider completing this requirement before Grade 12.

Twelfth Grade

Summer / Fall

  • Make an appointment with your counselor for you and your parents to discuss postsecondary plans.
  • Request applications from colleges, trade, and technical schools.
  • Set up a file system or use the charts on the next page.
  • Register for ACT, SAT 1, and/or SAT Il.
  • Stay abreast of all scholarship opportunities.
  • Review high school records including all graduation requirements.
  • Complete any remaining student service learning hours.

Late Summer / Winter

  • Visit college, trade, and/or technical schools.
  • Talk to admission representatives who visit your school.
  • Seek out scholarship information and apply as appropriate.


  • Attend college and career programs sponsored by your guidance department.
  • Familiarize yourself with your school's transcript procedure and follow it.
  • Register for ACT, SAT I, and SAT II tests if needed.
  • Talk with your counselor about your academic progress.

Fall / Winter

  • Fill out applications by December 1 if possible.
  • Abide by both school and college deadlines.
  • Seek letters of recommendation if needed.
  • Give teachers and counselors sufficient notice.
  • Complete a resume.


  • If appropriate, have your parents complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid forms, if required by the college, and file after January 1.


  • Attend job fairs.
  • Contact Maryland Department of Economics and Employment Development for job openings.
  • Maintain good grades and good attendance.
  • Notify your counselor of your application status as you hear from the colleges.
  • Request a final transcript to be sent to the college you will attend in the fall.
  • Notify the collegesyou are not planning to attend.
  • Perfect your job interviewing skills.

Good Luck!