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Senior Year Planning Guide

Senior Year Checklist/Important Dates

In September/October seniors should finalize the narrowing down of their college list and start applying to those schools. By the end of November you should have your college applications and required paperwork submitted to the schools you are interested in attending. Most priority deadlines for college applications are around mid-December.  When applying, try to do a few "Good-Match" schools (admission requirements around your GPA), a few "Reach" schools (admission requirements above your current GPA), and at least 1 "Safety" school (requirements below your GPA).

Many students seem to automatically decide that they will attend a 4-year college or will go to a community college to do their "Generals";  and then transfer to a 4-year school. I encourage students to continue to look at the 1- and 2-year programs that are available at Technical and Community colleges. We have many "hands-on" kids that are a really good fit to go to a Trade/Technical College. There are a lot of good high-paying job openings in various Trades. 

Website that provides information on many of the colleges in MN:

Website that provides information on the University of MN colleges:

Website that provides information on the private colleges in MN:

Website that provides information on colleges outside of MN:

Website that provides you information on how your AP/College classes taken at ZHS will transfer to various colleges:

Transcripts to send to colleges must be requested online through See your counselor if you are having difficulty.

43 credits are required for graduation. At the start of your senior year you are on track if you have about 34-36 credits. If you are missing any credits and you are not attending night school, or if you are concerned about your number of credits, see your counselor.

Online ZHS Local Scholarship application is located on the ZHS website under the "Counseling" tab.

Senior speakers for graduation will be determined in April.

Students qualifying for a white or gold tassel must earn the following GPA:

  • Seniors with a GPA of 3.0-3.50 – White tassel - $8.00
  • Seniors with a GPA of 3.51 and above – Gold tassel - $8.00
  • Seniors with a GPA of 4.0 and above  -  Columbia blue honors cord  - $8.00

Senior Year Guide

September • Explore and begin to narrow your post high school options and which colleges you are interested in. The following website is a valuable resource:  Here is another resource:  • Schedule to meet with your counselor to discuss future plans. • Retake the ACT to try for a higher score.  • Attend the National College Fair at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  You can also tour the colleges that you are most interested in. • Start working on college applications.  • Determine if your high school courses meet college/career/NCAA requirements.   • There are numerous Minnesota Education Fairs throughout the state during September and October. Consult your counselor for dates, times and locations.

October • Visit campuses during Teachers’ State Conference (MEA)  • Research private sources for scholarships. You can look at scholarships available at colleges you are interested in. You can also look at the ZHS Local Scholarships located on our school website under the "Counseling" tab.    

November • Finalize college choices and finish submitting college applications. • Check with the college to see if there are any entrance exams that they want you to take. • Schedule admissions interviews (if necessary).  • Keep a copy of all the college applications you submit.

December • Start looking at information about Financial Aid (FAFSA). On our school website under the "Counseling" tab there is some great information about Financial Aid.  • Talk with your parents about the information needed to complete the financial aid application (FAFSA). 

January • Attend a Financial Aid workshop. There are many great workshops available throughout the state. See your counselor for more information.  • Complete the FAFSA form online. You can start filling this out on January 1st. Your goal should be to finish applying for financial aid by the end of February to make sure you meet deadlines and to receive the maximum amount of financial aid available.  Obtain any additional forms directly from the college of your choice.

February • Review your status on all applications.  • Check deadlines for financial aid applications and housing applications at all colleges you are considering. • If you have not submitted your financial aid application, do so. Some financial aid is given on a first come, first serve basis.

March • If possible, visit all colleges to which you have applied if you have not already done so. • If you have not applied for admission to a college, it may not be too late.  DO SO NOW! • Review your financial Student Aid Report (SAR) for accuracy.   

April • Review college acceptance notices. Complete necessary forms. Finalize your choices. • Review scholarship, acceptance notices and rejection information. Complete necessary forms. • Apply for summer jobs – many financial awards assume student contribution. • Keep up academic work. Colleges will review your final grades. • UNDECIDED? Remember there are numerous Minnesota Education Fairs throughout the state during April. See the junior/sophomore calendar for information.