What to expect when you’re applying for college: A Peddie College Counseling timeline

At Peddie, we have a plan for your college search. Find out how our College Counseling office guides each student through the process.

Junior year


Focus on: Reflection and self-assessment. Ask yourself, "What do I want from my college?"

  • Small group and individual meetings with college counselors. 
  • Speak with counselors and take time for individual reflection to get at the vital college search questions:  "What matters to me and why?"
  • Develop testing plans and college lists.


Focus on: Application of research skills (developed in academic disciplines) to discover and understand the differences between college curricula and possible pathways.

  • Visit a variety of college campuses during spring break (or whenever the opportunity arises) to assess the “feel” factor.
  • Counselors teach students to research colleges using a range of rigorous, thoughtful and tested methods combined with a pure understanding of you, your financial reality and an increasing grasp of the selectivity landscape. 


Focus on: Cutting the clutter -- paying attention to the role of sources and outside voices in the college search.

  • Work with parents and counselors to form a working list of schools ranging from appropriately aspirational to places very likely to admit.
  • Finalize your senior year academic schedule with counselor.
  • Ask teachers to write recommendations, submit responses to teacher reflection questions and inform teachers of their first deadlines.
  • Sharpen and specify research at Peddie college fairs -- we bring colleges to you!


Focus on: Learning how to dedicate real and substantial time to your search over the next several months.

  • In late June, counselors assess each student's working college list and make additional suggestions to help achieve variety and balance.
  • Parents and students receive application information and summer updates from the College Counseling Office.


Focus on: Sorting and sifting through options, feelings and realities; considering self-presentation; compiling writing and working through application platforms.

  • Continue college visits, interviews and research to narrow list to 8-10 schools with 2-3 schools in each selectivity category (reach, target, likely).
  • With your family, counselors evaluate and discuss a financial plan for college and whether aid will play a role in the search.
  • Draft application essays and short responses.
  • Draft resume.
  • Student-athletes and artists have additional responsibilities, including talking to coaches and preparing portfolios.

Senior year


Focus on: Producing powerful early applications (if appropriate) while maintaining a clear and open mind about regular action options if needed; learning to resist the urge to “fall in love” with a singular pathway.

  • Finalize early application plans and work towards establishing final lists.
  • Counselors use extensive college admission experience to give essay feedback on how essays will read within each unique application setting.
  • Individual meetings continue regarding application details, fine points of self-presentation and planning for regular decision applications.
  • Meet with visiting college representatives for information sessions and interviews when available.


Focus on: Learning early news in a productive and positive way. Whether the news is encouraging or disappointing, there is important work ahead. No one is “done.”

  • Counselors check in with colleges and advocate for students with early applications as much as is possible.
  • As needed, attend to all application submissions before January deadlines.


Focus on: Living Peddie fully and join with peers in managing the long wait for decisions. Enjoy friends and community.

  • Maintain positivity, balance and patience during the waiting period between submission of applications and receipt of decisions from institutions.
  • Manage regular action interviews and be sure all applications are complete.
  • Discuss any possible loose ends (missing credentials, demonstrating interest, interview plans, etc.) with your counselor in advance of March notifications.


Focus on: Showing kindness and gratitude for all you have seen and known at Peddie. It will stay with you forever.

  • Students and counselors discuss outcomes, options, financial aid packages and develop waitlist strategies as appropriate.
  • Counselors check in with colleges and advocate for students as much as possible.
  • The Peddie community focuses on celebrating seniors!