Notre Dame College Prep

College Planning Guide for Seniors


  • Add colleges to Naviance account/review and begin narrowing down schools
  • Visit colleges and talk with admissions
  • August 1st Common App is live: get ideas for college essays
  • Begin looking at scholarships


  • Meet with counselor to discuss plans & review test scores, GPA, interests
  • Review colleges you are interested in: Reach, Match, Safety
  • Visit colleges, attend college fairs, talk with college reps that visit
  • Work on common app, essays, recommendations, and be aware of deadlines
  • Review deadlines (some November 1st!)
  • Take advantage of college reps that visit your school!
  • Ask for letters of recommendation (2)
  • Continue to work on applications
  • Submit early applications and review deadlines!
  • Work on applications: Ask for help!
  • If you are stressed seek help from counselors/family/ teachers
  • Search for scholarships
  • Finish up applications
  • Look for scholarships
  • Follow up on applications
  • Look for scholarships
  • Keep grades up!



Most Selective Universities: Top 10-20% of class, ACT 29, Accept 33% or fewer

Midwest Schools: Northwestern University (IL), Oberlin College (OH), University of Chicago (IL), Washington University in St. Louis

Highly Selective Universities: Top 20-35% of class, 27-28 ACT, Accept 50% or fewer

Midwest Schools: Grinnell College (IA), Kalamazoo College (MI), University of Illinois, Urbana (IL), University of Wisconsin, Madison (WI)

Very Competitive Universities: Top 35-50% of class, 24-26 ACT, Accept 66% or fewer

Midwest Schools: Cornell College (IA), DePaul University (IL), Indiana University, Bloomington (IN), Lake Forest College (IL)

Competitive Universities: 21-23 ACT, Accept 85% or fewer

Midwest: Illinois State University (IL), Northern Illinois University (IL), Ripon College (WI)


Transcripts, Academic Rigor, Test Scores, Essays, Recommendations, & Extracurriculars


Early Decision (ED): A binding agreement between one student and one college. If admitted, the student must attend unless there are serious issues with the financial aid package. Students should always discuss with parents and counselor before choosing this option. Why apply Early Decision? In most cases, it gives the student a slight edge because colleges know they can count on the student to attend, which increases their yield.

Early Action (EA): Student can apply EA to more than one college. No obligation to attend any. Why apply Early Action? In some cases, it may provide the student a slight edge though not as significant as with ED. Additionally, the student knows the decision in December, allowing for less stress during senior year.

Restrictive Early Action (REA): A non-binding application where student can apply to any college that offers EA, but not to any college that offers ED. Examples: Boston College and Georgetown.

Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA): Non-binding application to one college, but cannot apply EA or ED to any other college. Examples: Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Tulane and Yale.

Priority: Deadline period offered earlier than Regular deadline. Example: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a Nov. 1 Priority deadline ahead of its Regular deadline of Jan. 1. We strongly encourage students to apply during the Priority deadline.

Upcoming ACT

Saturday, Sep. 13th, 8am

7655 W Dempster St

Niles, IL

  • Deadline to sign up is August 8th
  • ACT No Writing $38/Plus Writing $54.50
  • Visit