Making the overwhelming easier!

College Planning Tools

The best way to reduce the stress of the college application and admission process is to be organized and complete tasks on time. We’ve developed a series of tips, forms, and checklists to help make the college planning process easier for you to maintain.

  • Admissions Checklist
  • College Evaluation Checklist
  • College Planning Resources
  • College Planning Timeline
  • Essay Writing Tips
  • Outstanding Achievements Forms
  • Tips and Advice on the College Process
Contemporary college student with headphones writing down plan of seminar
See how College Planning 101 can help your family.

College Admission Checklist

College Planning 101 has developed an easy-to-complete college admission checklist for students to track the steps involved in the college admissions process. We recommend downloading and printing the PDF form and hanging it on your fridge as you move through the admissions process.

Download Admission Checklist

College Evaluation Checklist

College Planning 101 has developed a checklist for students to take with them when visiting prospective colleges. The College Evaluation Checklist will help students remember what they liked and didn’t like about each university so that they can easily compare one college to another.

Download Evaluation Checklist

College Planning Timeline

College Planning 101 recommends that students follow a strategic timeline to maximize their success in the college planning process. The College Planning Timeline offers specific tasks students should be completing each month in their Junior and Senior High School years.

Download College Planning Timeline

College Essay Writing Tips

Write a list of ideas without trying to create full sentences.

Organize the best of the ideas into a logical order.

Expand the ideas into complete sentences.

Keep it brief — most essays should be around 400-500 words.

Student writing essay

Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Write in your own personal style.


Be controversial without being offensive or using inappropriate slang, text-speak or age-based humor.

Write the first draft without worrying about vocabulary.

For many students, the college application essay is a dreaded experience. While it is important to write a good college essay, don’t let the idea that it’s a college application cripple the skills students have developed.

Need help? Contact us today for a college essay review session.

SAT vs ACT Report

Most colleges do not have a preference on whether college-bound students submit scores from the SAT or ACT test. Students may do significantly better on one test versus the other. College Planning 101 has developed an SAT vs ACT Report that highlights the key differences between each test so that families and students can make the appropriate test decision.

Download SAT vs ACT Report

Outstanding Achievements Form

College Planning 101 has developed an easy-to-complete form for students to record their outstanding achievements. This reference form makes completing college applications a breeze.

Download Outstanding Achievements Form

Helpful College Planning Links & Resources


PLAN, ACT exams, college search, and financial aid information.

Common App

Single application accepted by over 800 schools in the United States.

College Board

SAT I, SAT II, and AP Exams

FairTest | The National Center for Fair and Open Testing

Among other things, FairTest lists colleges and universities that do not require standardized tests for admissions.

Financial Aid Myths

Answers to your most frequently asked financial aid questions.

The Community Foundations of The Hudson Valley

The Community Foundations administers scholarship funds established by individuals, families, corporations, and organizations.