Getting Started: The ECHS College Application Checklist

East Community High School College Application Process

This is an exciting time for you! Over the next year, you will be very busy planning and applying to college and the College Success Center has prepared this information booklet to help you through the college search, application, and financial aid process. Review this booklet carefully as many of your questions can be answered in the following pages.

Remember: It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that deadlines are met for all applications, standardized testing (SAT and ACT) and scholarships. Your School Counselor and the College Success Center is here to help you, so do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

Checklist for Seniors

All Year:

□ Visit college campuses every chance you get. In person or virtually.

□ Search for scholarships. There’s lots of free money available if you just put in a little effort.


□ Explore careers and start to narrow down a major

□ College requirements: Make a list of the application, testing, and financial aid requirements for each college

□ Begin looking at college essay questions, and then start writing!


□ Register for, and take a standardized test. By taking the SAT test a second time (our seniors took the SAT this past May for the first time), colleges can use your highest score for each category of the test – reading/writing and math – to create a new, higher composite score. If you test better in individual subject areas, you may benefit by taking the ACT Test also.

2020-2021 SAT and ACT Dates and Deadlines

School CEEB Code: 330012

Fee waivers, if you are eligible, are available in the College Success Center for the SAT exam.

SAT dates 1-866-630-9305

ACT dates 1-319-337-1270

□ Sign up to meet individually with your School Counselor. We will discuss your current plans/ideas for college; evaluate those plans relative to your grades and SAT/ACT scores.

□ Letters of recommendation: Decide who to ask and reach out to them early so they have time to write good letters. If you have a resume or list of accomplishments, (ex: clubs, sports, leadership roles, honors, awards, volunteer work, work experience) be sure to send it to them.

o Complete and turn in your Recommendation Information Form to your counselor. The more your teachers know about you, the stronger the recommendation can be. Recommendations are confidential and are processed directly to the institution. Give teachers at least 2 – 4 weeks before deadlines to complete recommendations, making sure to give them specific delivery information up with a thank you note to those who wrote a recommendation on your behalf.

□ Finalize your Activity Resume.

□ Complete and have your college essay checked and edited by a trusted teacher, counselor or other school professional. Save your essay in several places (computer hard drive, school student drive, an external flash drive, google drive)


□ Search for colleges that are consistent with your goals.

· Visit: to explore the 21 colleges and universities in the Western New York area; – ‘Big Future’ for an interactive college planning experience (nearly 4000 colleges represented); – information on all SUNY (State University of New York) colleges. Visit to see the most current list of Say Yes partner colleges. Attend college open houses. (Columbus Day weekend is a great time to visit a college!)

· Narrow your list of colleges to 5-8 schools. Include 2 – 3 that you are close to fitting the acceptance profile for, one reach school, and one safety school.

□ Visit to review the essay choices and determine which colleges accept the Common Application (over 700!). If you cannot find a school on the Common Application list, contact that particular school or school’s website for an application.

□ Finalize your college choices and keep track of all deadlines. Note: Some colleges have specific deadline dates for certain programs of study.

□ Complete Early Decision/Early Action and all SUNY applications – keep track of deadlines.

□ Check with the Guidance Office to make sure your Recommendation letters from teachers have been received.

□ Begin FAFSA after October 1: Start your Financial Aid Process. Both you and your parents need to obtain an FSA ID at so you can fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online at There will be help with this process offered in the College Success Center or an online platform. Families can use tax data from two years prior to complete the FAFSA. For the 2020-21 FAFSA, students will use their families' 2018 income and tax information.

□ Complete and submit a Say Yes Student Certification Form beginning October 1st of your senior year of high school. Say Yes will use this form to determine each student’s Say Yes Scholarship and ensure that the student is processed in time for the fall semester.


□ Pay attention to early admission – check deadlines!)

o For ALL applications, allow 2 weeks before the deadline for processing.

o Note that applications are processed in the order they are received.

□ Send your SAT and AP scores: This ensures that colleges have the most complete set of information to review for admissions as well as scholarship awards, course placement, or selection to a specific program or major.

□ When applying on the Common App, paper application, SUNYAPP, and/or directly online through the college’s website, you MUST turn in a transcript release form for each college/application you apply to. Counselors will not know you applied if you do not turn in a transcript release form, which could delay your application being processed at the college.


□ Double check with your colleges that all applications have been processed. (The College Success Center will not be open during the winter break to process late applications!)

□ Continue applying for scholarships.


□ Confirm that all college admissions application materials have been received by the colleges you applied to.

□ Check the Buffalo Schools website and conduct searches for private scholarships and grants. Ask your parents about the possibility of scholarships through affiliations with work, church and clubs.


□ Review and hand in copies of ALL acceptance and scholarship letters to the College Success Center, so we can keep track of acceptances. Review all financial aid award letters.

□ Evaluate your college choices and notify colleges whether you are going to accept or decline offers of admissions. The universal acceptance deadline for ALL colleges is May 1st! Be sure to send in your deposit to the college you will be attending prior to this deadline to guarantee your place. This deposit is not covered by Say Yes. However, if needed, sometimes colleges are able to waive the deposit.

□ Complete your Senior Exit Survey informing your counselor of your final decision to ensure your final transcript is sent to the appropriate college.

□ Provide your Guidance Counselor with a stamped envelope addressed to your college so that your final transcripts can be mailed in July.

□ Make sure you notify Buffalo Say Yes of your final college decision also, either by phone or email. (716-247-5310 or