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College Planning Calendar: May 2024

Another academic year is wrapping up soon! Help students get ready for test dates, graduation, summer, and more with our May College Planning Calendar.

Can you believe it’s already almost May? It seems like 2024 just started, but if you’re like us and facing the reality of the year flying by at an overwhelming speed, you could probably use some planning resources to help you and your students finish up the school year strong and prepare for whatever the summer has in store. Here’s your monthly College Planning Calendar covering just about every event, holiday, and general college planning situation coming up in May.

General college prep and planning

  • 9th grade: As they finish up their first year of high school, freshmen should look ahead and plan their class schedules with college in mind, finding ways to challenge themselves academically.
  • 10th grade: The end of the school year is a great time for sophomores to start building important skills to boost their résumés and future college applications, which could also include looking for a summer job or internship opportunity.
  • 11th grade: Juniors don’t have to wait until fall to really get into the thick of the college application process. Here are some small ways they can get ahead of the admission process now for a smoother start to senior year.
  • 12th grade: Unfortunately, this year’s college admission process has been a lot more stressful for students with the integration of FAFSA “simplification” updates. Make sure seniors keep up-to-date on financial aid information and stay in touch with the schools they've applied to!

Month-long observances and events

  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Celebrate and learn about AAPI causes and culture this month and beyond. Check out our AAPI Heritage Month content to kick things off!
  • Jewish American Heritage Month: This month also celebrates the achievements and contributions Jewish Americans have made in communities around the US!
  • Mental Health Awareness Month: The mental health of students and discussions surrounding it are extremely important. Encourage honest conversations about student health and how to find help when they need it by sharing our mental health content.
  • Homeschooling Awareness Month: Homeschool students are just like any other students—they need guidance too. Parents who are also acting as counselors can read up on college prep for homeschooled students on CollegeXpress.
  • Military Appreciation Month: Pursuing military service is a valid path for students also looking to attend college. Help them learn how they can do both with our article on College Options for Students Interested in the Military.
  • National Photography Month: This is a great opportunity to encourage students interested in photography to think about what kind of future they could build in the field. Be sure to share these Colleges With Fine Photography Programs.

Wednesday, May 1

CollegeXpress easy monthly scholarship opens

A new month means a new easy scholarship contest from CX! This time, we’re asking students whether they prefer pancakes or waffles with our $1,500 Breakfast Battle Scholarship. Starting May 1, students can register on CollegeXpress (or log back in) to let us know their answer (in just one word—no long essays required!) for a chance to win big.

CollegeXpress $10,000 scholarship deadline

Today is also the last day for entries into our annual $10,000 scholarship contest! Who will be this year’s winner? Follow us on social media @CollegeXpress for an announcement this summer!

National Decision Day

Happy National College Decision Day! While not all students will be making an enrollment deposit today, it’s still a great time to celebrate the accomplishment of completing the college admission process and getting accepted.

Reese Witherspoon in TV show saying You got in! to daughter
@hulu via GIPHY

Thursday, May 2

Free college essay workshop

Kaplan is offering free help with every step of the college admission process this month! Kicking it off with the How to Write an Outstanding College Essay workshop, students can learn compelling admission essay strategies on Thursday the 2nd from 7:30–8:30 pm ET.

Friday, May 3

ACT regular registration deadline

Today is the regular registration deadline for the June 8 ACT test date.

World Press Freedom Day

World Press Freedom Day acts as a reminder to governments and the general public of the importance of freedom of the press and professional ethics. This year’s theme is “Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis.”

National Space Day

Today celebrates all the extraordinary achievements and opportunities of space exploration! Honor it by learning about influential astronaut Peggy Whitson.

Saturday, May 4

Digital SAT test date

Today is a digital SAT test date for students across the country.

Free ACT prep class

Kaplan is offering their usual monthly ACT Live Online Trial Classes to help students prepare for the standardized test. The first free session of the month takes place on Saturday the 4th from 1:00–3:00 pm ET.

Star Wars Day

May the Fourth be with you to all you Star Wars fans out there!

Gif of the Death Start blowing up with May the 4th Be With You
@starwars via GIPHY

Sunday, May 5

Cinco de Mayo

Today marks the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Free SAT prep class

Kaplan is now offering free monthly prep classes geared toward helping students prepare for the new digital SAT format. Students can prep for the June 1 test date with their Digital SAT Live Online Trial Class on Sunday the 5th from 6:30–8:30 pm ET.

Monday, May 6

Start of National Nurses Week

Nurses Week kicks off with National Nurses Day on Monday the 6th and includes Student Nurse Day on Wednesday the 8th and School Nurse Day on Friday the 10th. Thank you to all the incredible nurses out there!

Gif of stethoscope in shape of heart with words celebrate nurses inside
@wambicares via GIPHY

Tuesday, May 7

National Teacher Day

Happy National Teacher Day! Celebrate incredible educators today and every day for everything they give their students.

Wednesday, May 8

World Red Cross Day

To honor the birthday of Red Cross co-founder and first-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Dunant, World Red Cross Day also encourages people to donate both time and money to those in need.

Free ACT prep class

Students who miss the first session from Kaplan can sign up for another ACT Live Online Trial Class just a few days later. This one will be taking place a little later from 7:30–9:30 pm ET on Wednesday the 8th.

Thursday, May 9

Free early admission webinar

Students and parents considering the value of applying to college early should sign up for Kaplan’s Getting Ahead–Early Decision and Early Application webinar to see if it’s the right choice for them. This event takes place on Tuesday the 13th from 7:30–8:30 pm ET.

Animated gif of pug pointing at important date on calendar
@PugliePug via GIPHY

Sunday, May 12

Mother’s Day

Give your mom or maternal figures in your life a big hug today and make sure they know how special they are. Happy Mother’s Day!

Free ACT prep class

The next ACT Live Online Trial Class with Kaplan will be taking place on Sunday the 12th from 6:00–8:30 pm ET.

Tuesday, May 14

Free ACT prep class

There is no shortage of ACT Live Online Trial Class opportunities this month. The next one will be on Tuesday the 14th from 8:30–10:30 pm ET for students who want to stay up a little later.

Thursday, May 16

SAT regular registration deadline

Today is the regular registration deadline for the June 1 SAT test date.

Free college financial planning webinar

One of the hardest parts of college planning is the finances! Help students equip themselves with knowledge by encouraging them to sign up for Kaplan’s free Financial Planning for College–A Comprehensive Guide webinar on Thursday the 16th from 7:30–8:30 pm ET.


Full House via GIPHY

Saturday, May 18

Armed Forces Day

Today honors current active military members and their service to our country.

Sunday, May 19

ACT late registration deadline

Today is the late registration deadline for the June 8 ACT test date.

Free SAT/ACT scores webinar for parents

Prep Expert’s Dr. Shaan Patel is offering a revamped free parents webinar on strategies to help their teens win college scholarships and ace the new digital SAT. The event will take place on May 19 at 5:00 pm ET so be sure to share this opportunity to help parents and students familiarize themselves with the new test format!

Tuesday, May 21

SAT late registration deadline

Today is the late registration deadline as well as the deadline for changes and cancellations for the June 1 SAT test date.

Rising Researchers course

This intensive spring research course from Moon Prep allows students to participate in online research guided by a STEM mentor for four weeks. Participants should expect to commit to sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 75–90 minutes every week through June 20. If students don’t land a spot in this session, they will have another chance to join the program later this summer. (Please note that this is not a free opportunity.)

Wednesday, May 22

Free ACT prep class

The last chance for students to get guided ACT prep from Kaplan this month before the June 8 test date will be on Wednesday the 22nd from 7:00–9:00 pm ET.

National Maritime Day

National Maritime Day commemorates the first transoceanic voyage powered by steamship in 1819. This year’s theme is “Navigating the Future! Safety First." Honor the service the world’s shipping industry provides us by teaching students about the value of maritime colleges!

Monday, May 27

Memorial Day

Today is more than just a Monday off from work and school. Remember to take a moment to honor our fallen soldiers and the sacrifices they made for our country.

Gif of American flag heart with words thankful on Memorial Day
Hallmark via GIPHY

Tuesday, May 28

Amnesty International Day

Sponsored by Amnesty International, this day promotes the work for human rights and raises awareness of the ways those rights are violated. Now, more than ever, it’s important to add your voice to the fight for injustice everywhere.

  • Colleges for the Person Who Cares About the World: Are your students the next big world changers? They may be interested in these colleges that offer coursework in areas such as peace studies, conflict resolution, poverty studies, global studies, and human rights. 

Friday, May 31

CollegeXpress easy monthly scholarship deadline

Today is the last day to enter our $1,500 Breakfast Battle Scholarship! Remind your students to complete their registration in order to be eligible. They should also check out our big list of scholarships with May deadlines for even more opportunities!

Gif of animated stack of pancakes with syrup, blueberries, and raspberriesGif of animated waffle popping out of poster, getting covered in toppings, stolen by cat paw
@ollejerki via GIPHY @picnic-studio via GIPHY

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