College Search Timeline

A Four-Year Overview


  • Welcome to the Upper School.
  • Take challenging courses.
  • Attend Freshman Foundations classes. Learn what it takes to be successful in high school and beyond, and develop an overview for what colleges expect from a student.
  • Participate actively in selected interests outside of class. If students are able to develop a high level of competence and passion in an extracurricular area, they should dedicate themselves to attaining true excellence in that pursuit.
  • Start an activities list with all your extracurricular accomplishments.
  • Pursue an interest over the summer.


  • Continue to take challenging courses.
  • Maintain participation in select extracurricular activities and add to your list.
  • Take the PSAT in October.
  • Register on My College QuickStart and meet with your advisor to discuss and analyze PSAT results.
  • Consider summer volunteer opportunities.
  • Attend the field trip to The College of New Jersey with the college counselor.
  • Consider an informal visit to a college campus.
  • If appropriate, take SAT Subject Tests in June.



  • Continue to take challenge yourself academically.
  • Review your academic plans for Upper School and continue to update the activities list you began as a freshman.


  • Take the PSAT on the national test date. The test will be given at W-H and you will be automatically registered for it.
  • Attend local College Fairs and be sure to visit with at least three of the many college representatives who visit W+H.
  • Begin to establish criteria for the type of college that you would like to attend.


  • Determine a standardized test game plan and register for the SAT in either January or March.


  • College Counseling classes start.
  • PSAT student reports are distributed and interpreted.
  • Parents are encouraged to attend the Financial Aid Night seminar.
  • Register for the February ACT if appropriate.


  • Attend the Alumni College Day for Juniors and Seniors.
  • Attend the Junior College Night with your parents.
  • Plan to meet with the College Counselor and your parents to discuss your college list and have any questions answered.
  • Look ahead to spring/summer break as possible opportunities to visit colleges.


  • Determine with your counselor whether you should take SAT Subject Tests in May or June.
  • Continue your college research.


  • Continue researching colleges.
  • Register for all remaining junior year standardized tests.
  • Utilize your spring break for college visits.
  • Consider which teacher(s) will best prepare college recommendations for you and make your formal request in May.


  • Attend the field trip to a small private college with the college counselor.


  • Take the AP exams given early in May, if appropriate.
  • Attend the National College Fair.

     JUNE – JULY

  • Spend your summer productively.
  • Continue to narrow your college list.
  • Visit colleges you did not see during the school year.
  • Visit or individual college websites to preview applications, essay questions and supplements.
  • Consider essay topics. Compose rough drafts of essays and supplements.



  • Update your final list of college choices.
  • Send college essay to college counselor and Writing Lab teacher.
  • Attend Common Application workshop.


  • Continue to take challenge yourself academically.
  • Request teacher recommendations and meet with teachers.
  • Attend essay writing workshop.
  • Parents attend the Senior Parent Dessert and Coffee.
  • Attend College Counseling classes through the first trimester.
  • Attend local College Fairs and any college admission representative visits to W+H.
  • Make final decisions regarding Early Decision and Early Action options.
  • Retake the ACT, if applicable.


  • Meet with teachers, peers, and college counselor to perfect college essays.
  • Submit transcript requests for Early Decision/Early Action applications and complete these applications for submission.
  • If you plan to seek financial aid and any of your colleges require the CSS Profile, apply now.
  • Complete competitive scholarship applications with deadlines this month.
  • Retake SAT or Subject Tests and/or ACT, if applicable.


  • Finalize the remainder of your applications. All transcript requests should be submitted no later than DECEMBER 1.
  • Retake SAT and/or Subject Tests, if applicable.


  • Complete all remaining applications by DECEMBER 15.
  • Parents are encouraged to attend the Financial Aid Night seminar, if applicable.
  • Call colleges 2-3 weeks after all materials have been submitted to make sure they have arrived.


  • Juniors and Seniors attend the Alumni College Day.
  • Early Decision/Early Action deferrals should see college counselor and submit additional information to the colleges to update their applications and reiterate interest.
  • Complete FAFSA and submit to each college by deadline.
  • Complete all scholarship applications that have not been submitted.


  • Regular deadline colleges notify students of admission decisions from early March through early April. If placed on the waiting list of a school you would like to attend, speak with the college counselor as soon as possible.


  • Attend Career Day.
  • Attend on-campus “Accepted Student” events.
  • Notify the college you will attend no later than May 1.


  • Send your deposit to the college of your choice by May 1.


  • Attend the Senior Farewell Dinner with your parents.

Congratulations on your graduation from Wardlaw-Hartridge

The Wardlaw-Hartridge School
1295 Inman Ave,
Edison, NJ 08820
(908) 754-1882
The Wardlaw + Hartridge School is a top private and college prep school in Edison, New Jersey, which provides an independent, pioneering educational experience at the early childhood, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school levels.
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