College Preparation

Pre-High School

  • Take challenging classes in English, mathematics, science, history, geography, the arts, and a foreign language.
  • Develop strong study skills.
  • Start thinking about which high school classes will best prepare you for college.
  • If you have an opportunity to choose among high schools, or among different programs within one high school, investigate the options and determine which ones will help you -
    – Further your academic and career interests
    – Open doors to many future options
  • Start saving for college if you haven’t already. Investigate different ways to save:
    – Buy a U.S. Savings Bond
    – Open a savings account in a bank
    – Invest in mutual funds

High School: 9th Grade

  • Take challenging classes in English, mathematics, science, history, geography, a foreign language, government, civics, economics, and the arts.
  • Get to know your career counselor or guidance counselor as well as other college resources available in your school.
  • Talk to adults in a variety of professions to determine what they like and dislike about their jobs and what kind of education is needed for each kind of job.
  • Continue to save for college.

High School: 10th Grade

  • Take challenging classes in English, mathematics, science, history, geography, a foreign language, government, civics, economics, and the arts.
  • Talk to adults in a variety of professions to determine what they like and dislike about their jobs and what kind of education is needed for each kind of job.
  • Become involved in school- or community-based extracurricular (before or after school) activities that interest you and/or enable you to explore career interests.
  • Meet with your career counselor or guidance counselor to discuss colleges and their requirements.
  • Take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). You must register early. If you have difficulty paying the registration fee, see your guidance counselor about getting a fee waiver.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to visit colleges and talk to students.
  • Continue to save for college.

High School: 11th Grade

  • Take challenging classes in English, mathematics, science, history, geography, a foreign language, government, civics, economics and the arts.
  • Meet with your career or guidance counselor to discuss colleges and their requirements.
  • Continue involvement in school- or community-based extracurricular activities.
  • Decide which colleges most interest you. Contact them to request information and an application for admission. Ask about special admissions requirements, financial aid and deadlines.
  • Talk to college representatives at college fairs.
  • Visit colleges and talk to students.
  • Consider people to ask for recommendations – teachers, counselors, employers, etc.
  • Investigate the availability of financial aid from federal, state, local, and private sources. Talk to your guidance counselor for more information.
  • Investigate the availability of scholarships provided by organizations such as corporations, labor unions, professional associations, religious organizations, and credit unions.
  • If applicable, go to the library and look for directories of scholarships for women, minorities, and disabled students.
  • Register for and take the SAT I, the ACT, SAT II Subject Tests or any other exams required for admission to the colleges you might want to attend. If you have difficulty paying the registration fee, see your guidance counselor about getting a fee waiver.
  • Continue to save for college.

High School: 12th Grade

  • Take challenging classes in English, mathematics, science, history, geography, a foreign language, government, civics, economics, the arts, and advanced technologies.
  • Meet with your counselor early in the year to discuss your plans.
  • Complete all necessary financial aid forms, especially the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
  • Write colleges to request information and applications for admission. Ask about financial aid, admissions requirements, and deadlines.
  • If possible, visit the colleges that most interest you.
  • Register for and take the SAT I, ACT Assessment, SAT II Subject Tests or any other exams required for admission to the colleges to which you are applying. If you have difficulty paying the registration fee, see your guidance counselor about getting a fee waiver.
  • Prepare your application carefully. Follow the instructions, and PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DEADLINES! Be sure to ask your counselor and teachers at least two weeks before your application deadlines to submit the necessary documents to colleges (your transcript, letters of recommendation, etc.)