Mentoring Checklist 2020-2021

Keep track of what you should be doing with your mentee each month with this list

postit scrabble to do todo
Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

September 2020

Important dates

  • September 22: Late phone and online registration deadline for October SAT (Register here)
    • Note: It is important especially now to encourage your mentees to be on top of SAT registration deadlines because of SAT testing site closures. They should try and register the moment it opens because their September SAT was likely cancelled. If they can’t register for the October one, make sure they register for the November one.

To do:

  1. Prepare for FAFSA
    • Get parents’ tax information
    • Pay attention to deadlines – they may be different for federal, state, and college 
  2. Start your college list. Make a copy of the College Tracker template to help you stay organized
    • Use this Yleana blog entry to help you build your college list
    • Here is a list of schools that are making the SATs optional just for this academic year. While your mentee should still take the SAT, if they are panicked, their testing sites keep getting cancelled, or their scores aren’t what they had hoped for, many schools are now test optional to accommodate COVID-19 disruptions. Make sure to check out this list. It is not comprehensive, so make sure to check all schools for SAT requirements.
  3. Think about applying to fly-in programs (optional)
    • Some schools are still doing fly-in programs right now but they are virtual. While this may not seem as interesting to some students, it can still be a good way to meet current students at the mentee’s school of interest and get to know the school better. 
  4. Make sure your mentee makes a Common App account if they are going to apply to schools through the Common App
    • Yleana’s guide to the Common App
    • The Common App has added a question allowing applicants to describe hardships, limitations, and disruptions in education they’ve experienced due to COVID-19. Encourage your students to thoughtfully complete this question if it applies to them.
  5. Begin work on the college essay
  6. Begin thinking about who your mentee wants to ask for recommendation letters
    • Should have 3 individuals in mind
    • IDEALLY they will ask them by the end of September so that the recommender has as much time as possible to write the letter
    • at least 1-2 should be a teacher in the subject they wish to major in

October 2020

Important dates

  • October 1: FAFSA is released (submit ASAP for better chance at getting $$)
  • October 1: CSS Profile is released (some schools require you to complete this in addition to the FAFSA for financial aid)
  • October 7: Deadline to register for November SAT
    • Note: As stated in September, make sure your mentee is vigilant about registering for the SAT. Testing sites are being cancelled quite regularly and sometimes very last minute, so the mentee should make sure they stay on top of changes and register for a new testing date if necessary.
  • October 3: SAT
  • October 27: Deadline for late registration for November SAT

To do:

  1. Make a college list and start applications
  2. Continue applying to fly-in programs (optional)
  3. Continue working on or finishing college essay for the Common App
  4. By early October, your student should have asked 3 people to write letters for them
    • Check the recommendation requirements for the colleges your student is thinking of applying to
    • At least 1-2 should be a teacher in the subject they wish to major in
    • Usually 1 can be a non-teacher, someone who knows them well and can speak to their abilities and personal qualities

Yleana has tons of resources to help you in your college search. Here are a few to get you started:

list of colleges with programs for historically underrepresented students

colleges for high flyers to look into (if you’re getting 500+ on both Verbal and Math and 3.5+ GPA)

list of HBCUs

list of women’s colleges

You can find even more resources here


November 2020

Important dates

  • November 1: common deadline for early action/early decision
    • Note: There are many schools that have removed early action (EA) and early decision (ED) deadlines just for this year due to COVID-19. If your mentee is considering EA/ED anywhere, please make sure that they double check the school is still accepting applications EA/ED this year. Check out this website for a rundown of what EA and ED are.
  • November 5: Deadline to register for December SAT
    • Note: Testing sites are being cancelled quite regularly and sometimes very last minute, so the mentee should make sure they stay on top of changes and register for a new testing date if necessary.
  • November 7: SAT
  • November 24: Deadline for late registration for December SAT

To do:

  1. Finish FAFSA/CSS Profile if they aren’t done yet
  2. Continue filling out college apps
    • Avoid undermatching: applying to schools that are less selective than what the student is capable of
    • Apply to schools that meet need
    • Look into test optional schools
  3. Start writing supplemental essays for colleges
  4. FINISH the college essay for the Common App
  5. Check in with recommenders on the status of recommendation letters
    • make sure your student has provided their recommenders with information on how to submit their letters
  6. Send your test scores to your colleges
    • make sure your mentee follows up with their school counselor and gets their test scores and transcript sent
  7. Optional: talk to a current student at schools you’re interested in (talk to us for details)

December 2020

Important dates

  • December 5: SAT (last time!)
  • December 31/January 1: common deadline for regular decision
    • Note: Make sure your mentee is not finishing things last minute! They should be finished their essays; have all their test scores, recommendation letters, and transcripts in; and completed their financial aid forms by mid-December.

To do:

  1. Turn in college app materials including:
    • Common App essay
    • supplemental essays
    • SAT scores
    • FAFSA
    • CSS profile (if required by school)
    • recommendation letters
  2. Start looking for scholarships
    • Keep EFC gap in mind

January 2021

Important dates

  • December 31/January 1: common deadline for regular decision

To do:

  1. All college app materials should be turned in
  2. Continue looking for scholarships
  3. Complete the FAFSA and CSS profile if you have not already

Yleana has tons of scholarship lists available. You can find the full list and other resources here. Some of these include:


February – May 2021

Important dates

  • March – April: admission decisions often come out

To do:

  1. Continue applying for scholarships
  2. MAKE SURE FAFSA is complete and that students do not need to provide additional paperwork
    • Our students can have complicated tax information and don’t always get notices that paperwork is missing
    • If the student has not received a financial aid package from a school that admitted them by April, make sure to call that school to see if anything is missing
  3. When decisions come out, compare financial aid packages to help decide
  4. Visit schools, if possible
  5. Talk to current students at schools you’re interested in
  6. Make a decision!

Leave a Reply