College Counseling


Timeline: The College Process

Although freshmen, sophomore and junior students are not yet applying to colleges, these years should be used to assess academic interests, explore new subject areas, and begin to take tests (when appropriate) that will accompany college applications. During this time students should work closely with their academic advisors to plan a course of study that is appropriately challenging and diverse. Additionally, extracurricular activities like sports, debate, performing and visual arts, community service, publications, and student government provide other avenues for students to develop specific interests and skills that may eventually influence their college list. For seniors the information below will be of help in managing the process.

Click here for the College Counseling Guidebook.

Class meeting with the college counseling office during the registration period.

September Get your year off to a great start by keeping yourself organized, seeing teachers for extra help as soon as any problems arise, and by realizing that grades earned in the freshman year really do matter to colleges.

Try a new sport, join a new club or activity, look for community service opportunities, or volunteer to serve on a class committee.

October PSAT – Though they are just for practice, the Preliminary SAT is something to be taken seriously. Results can point to both areas of strength and to those that may need some attention.

October 9th Grade College Night for students and parents is designed to help you think about your time at MBA. This is a brief program that previews the “road ahead” in the college search and selection process

November through January applications for Wilson department grants are due during this period. Check the MBA website to learn the process for each department.

February Students meet with their academic advisors to plan courses for next year. Teachers recommend students for honors sections based upon performance to date. Choose rigor whenever possible.

May Begin to study for final examinations early in the month. Review and correct all past tests and quizzes. Organize a “study group” and challenge each other with subject-specific trivia.

Summer Use the summer to hone your artistic, athletic, and leadership skills. Make reading for pleasure a part of your daily routine. Take advantage of Wilson classes on campus.


Class meeting with the college counseling office during the registration period.

September Avoid the “Sophomore Slump” by getting off to a great start. Worry as much about getting good grades throughout the year as you do about getting your driver’s license.

October PSAT – The Preliminary SAT scores give a “snapshot” of a student’s tested ability, and can point to areas in English and mathematics where further review may be helpful.

November through January applications for Wilson department grants are due during this period. Check the MBA website to learn the process for each department.

February small group meetings with the College Counselors.

Students meet with their academic advisors to plan courses for next year. Schedules should include as much challenge as appropriate, and elective courses should be chosen from areas of interest. Speak with a college counselor if you have any questions about what to take.

May Attend the National College Fair at the Nashville Convention Center. This annual event brings many college and university admissions officers to town and provides an initial opportunity for students and families to gather information about a variety of schools. Check the MBA Calendar for the specific day and time.

Begin to study for final examinations early in the month. Go to extra help sessions as often as possible.

June Offered on the first Saturday in June the SAT I (reasoning test) & SAT II (subject tests) are key components of the college application process. Sophomores do not normally take the SAT I at this time, but some SAT II Subject Tests in areas like chemistry or foreign language (following the third year level) may be appropriate.

Work, volunteer, or travel; these experiences can help students to learn about possible career paths, potential areas of study for college majors, or simply more about themselves. Visits to colleges can help to assess preferences for size, type, location, and culture. Take advantage of the free Wilson classes offered at MBA.


January Junior and Parent College Night - Information Meeting for juniors and parents is held. Individual meetings with college counselors begin after this meeting (held the week students return from winter break.

Fill out Junior Year Questionnaire

Students schedule first college counseling session with a counselor. Create testing plan/strategy and develop a broad, realistic, and appropriate list of colleges to investigate further.

After the first meeting with a student, a family meeting may be scheduled.

Registration begins for senior year courses. All juniors are strongly encouraged to review their proposed senior schedules with one of the college counselors. The strength of a senior’s schedule can play a significant role in admissions decisions at competitive colleges and universities.


February ACT

February Presidents’ Day Holiday weekend is a good time to make other exploratory college visits.

Enter a preliminary list of colleges you want to learn about under the “Colleges I’m Thinking About” tab in Naviance

Talk with a counselor about possible college visits during spring break.


Spring Break can be a good time to start visiting some college campuses. If colleges are in session, visit classes in addition to taking tours.


-April ACT
-Attend second college counseling session with a counselor.
-Update your Naviance “Colleges I’m Thinking About” list.
-May SAT and/or Subject Tests
-NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) College Fair
-May optional meeting with Deans from Highly Selective Admissions Offices
-Contact all colleges you are exploring to get on their mailing list.
-End of May Mock Admissions Program


-June SAT or Subject Tests
-June ACT date


-Keep investigating. Read, talk to current students, and visit college campuses (schedule interviews where appropriate). Begin to narrow down your list of appropriate possibilities.
-Read and organize application materials.
-Start Common Application.
-Attend Essay Writing Workshop.
-Submit Essay Draft and Resume to college counseling
-Register for fall standardized testing.


-Attend the college application workshop for senior class during the registration period.
-Attend Senior College Night.
-Complete Senior Year Questionnaire.
-Schedule meeting with your counselor to update them on your process and develop plan of action for the fall. You will review the essay you submitted before school began.
-Start making application plans, early action, or early decision. Be aware of schools with rolling admissions.
-Parents to complete Parent Questionnaire
-September ACT
-Attend Senior College Night sponsored by College Counseling.
-Attend sessions with visiting college admissions officers at MBA throughout the fall.
-Attend evening programs sponsored by colleges at locations throughout the city. Invitations are posted outside College Counseling and are listed in Daily announcements. 
-Work hard in your courses—first semester grades count!
-Begin submitting rolling applications.


Early October: notify your counselor of the schools to which you are applying to through early decision or early action program(s).

SAT or SAT Subject Tests

ACT Test

If your family is applying for financial aid, attend Financial Aid Workshop. Prepare to submit CSS Profile forms and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial aid application deadlines often mirror admissions application deadlines. Plan to submit financial aid applications as soon as possible and before November 1st if student is applying ED or EA.

If you are applying for financial aid, file the CSS PROFILE Registration Form.

Consult with your counselor regarding essay drafts and final list of applications.

Have test scores sent to your schools.

Verify college list in Naviance to ensure transcripts & recommendations can be submitted.


November 1 and 15: Deadlines for Early Action and Early Decision applications.

SAT or SAT Subject Tests

Continue submitting Rolling Applications.

Start working on applications with January deadlines.

Early December: Finalize your regular decision College List in Naviance to ensure transmission of supporting materials.

SAT or SAT Subject Tests

ACT Test

Receive early decision/early action decisions.

Notify and thank teachers who wrote letters for you.

Finish applications with January and February deadlines.


January 1 and 15: Meet appropriate application deadlines.


February 1: Meet appropriate application deadlines.

Update colleges about anything that has happened since you submitted your application.

Colleges begin notification of RD admission decisions. Most highly selective schools will notify near end of the month.

All decisions should be received by mid-April. If you have done all you are supposed to do, you will have choices.

Decision-making time. Consult counselors, friends, current students, and family.

Attend Open Houses for Admitted Students.

If you have been wait-listed and wish to pursue admission to that institution, see your counselor for appropriate guidelines and procedures.
May 1: National Candidates’ Reply Date—Notify all colleges to which you are admitted where you have decided to matriculate.

AP Exams will be administered during two weeks in May. Send your results to the college you will attend.

Request that a final transcript be sent to the college you have chosen by turning in the College Admissions Summary

Continue to work. Colleges do look at your final senior grades—your matriculation is contingent on continued academic performance through the end of the senior year.

Inform and thank teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation.

Graduate. Congratulations and Good Luck!

Montgomery Bell Academy

4001 Harding Road
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 298-5514