Aquinas Academy of Pittsburgh

Southwestern PA’s only Preschool through Grade 12 Private Catholic School

A Preschool - Grade 12 Private Catholic School

College Guidance

College Week

  • Three days of guidance for Aquinas seniors in preparation for the college application process.
  • Note that on the last day professional attire will be expected as it will be “interview day”.
  • August 20–22
  • 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
  • Media room in Mross McGonigle Hall

College Planning Calendar


  1. Set up a list of courses you want to take as preparation for college: core courses – English, math, science, history, language – AP, honors, and courses of personal interest. All your grades count from now on.
  2. Set up a list of extracurricular activities, including sports, for the school year as well as the summer.
  3. Consider a study skills course.
  4. Summer reading list.
  5. Investigate summer programs or jobs.


  1. Update list of course and extracurricular activities for rest of high school.
  2. Check on possibilities of taking AP and honors courses.
  3. Take PSAT
  4. Take SAT Preparatory Course during the summer if possible.



  1. Buy desk calendar to note important dates and set your own targets for action.
  2. Set aside desk drawer or file for college application materials: catalogues, papers, copies of documents, receipts and notes of phone calls.
  3. Attend College Night at Aquinas Academy.


  1. Take PSAT
  2. Make sure you know your social security number.


  1. Make up a preliminary list of colleges you would like to attend. Have some colleges in each of the categories: reach, probable, likely.
  2. Request information from all colleges in your preliminary list. Politely ask for and write down the name of the person you talked to in the admissions office. It makes for easier follow up. Keep a record of any “action” on a piece of paper. Keep a piece of paper for each college on your preliminary list. Keep a folder for each one of these colleges in your desk drawer or file folder.
  3. Start looking for a good summer job. Christmas break is a good time to do this.


  1. Through school guidance counselor and college Financial Aid offices, begin educating yourself about financial aid possibilities.
  2. Look into ROTC programs if you are interested.

March – April

  1. Take SAT 1 exam.
  2. Try to visit as many colleges in your preliminary list as possible.
  3. Identify teachers, counselors and employers for possible letters of recommendation.
  4. Try to attend at least one college fair.


  1. Take AP examinations.
  2. Read local newspapers to find out what local, civic, and cultural organizations give financial aid to graduating seniors.


  1. Work on essays by looking at the college's application from the previous year or this year's.
  2. Visit more colleges.
  3. Prepare personal resume to give to teachers when asking for recommendations.



  1. Ask for and review all applications forms. Some applications have two parts where you need to send in Part I and get Part II.
  2. SAT: The deadline for the October SAT is in early September.
  3. SAT II’s: Check with colleges you are applying to regarding which tests they require.
  4. Work hard in school. Colleges will look at your most recent grades first.


  1. Ask teachers for recommendations.
  2. Check for financial aid opportunities: school counselor, library, private groups, state, federal, and local programs.


  1. Fill out applications for Early Decision.
  2. Give secondary school report forms to Mr. Burchill's office.


  1. Fill out FAFSA and other financial aid forms – check deadlines.
  2. Complete essays.
  3. Start looking for a good summer job.


  1. Traditional deadline for applications to most competitive colleges. Photocopy applications before typing or printing in computer for practice. Always type the application even if they give you a choice. Keep a copy of everything you send to the colleges.


  1. Prepare for the AP examinations in all your courses.


  1. Carefully review financial aid notices from colleges. Look at how much of your need is covered, not how much they offer.
  2. Ask for advice if you have to put down a non-refundable deposit before you hear from all colleges.
  3. Accept financial aid awards.
Member of Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Member of Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Member of Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools Ranked No.1 Catholic High School in Pennsylvania by 2015 & 2016 Ranked No.1 Catholic High School in Pittsburgh Area by 2015-2019