• 9th Grade: College Planning

    Fall: Think about extracurricular activities and your list of classes

    Meet your guidance counselor.
    Your counselor is ready and willing to help you make sense of your college and career options. As soon as you can, set up a meeting to talk about your plans for high school and the future.

    Get involved. 
    Extracurricular activities (both school- and non-school-sponsored) are an important part of high school. Make the effort to get involved with groups, clubs, or teams that interest you. These activities are fun and make you a well-rounded student.

    Pick the right mix of classes.
    Make sure you’re enrolled in the appropriate college-prep or tech-prep classes and that you’re taking key core requirements, such as English, math, science, history, and a foreign language.

    Winter: Consider a college savings plan

    Make the grade.
    Get off to a good start with your grades because they will impact your GPA and class rank. Although college seems like a long way off right now, grades really do count toward college admission and scholarships.

    Explore your interests and possible careers.
    Discuss your skills and interests with your guidance counselor and take advantage of Career Day opportunities at your school.

    Consider a college savings plan.
    Talk to your parents about planning for college expenses. If your family already has a savings plan, continue to add to it. If not, now is a great time to start saving for college. Your parents can use our financial planning calculator to help them assess their current savings situation and plan for the future. 

    Spring/Summer: Learn about college and make summer count


    Build your credentials.
    Keep track of academic and extracurricular awards, community service achievements, and anything else you participate in, so it’ll be easier to remember later. It’ll come in handy when you want to highlight your accomplishments—such as when you’re filling out college applications or creating a resume.

    Start learning about college.
    Look at the college information available in your counselor’s office and school and public libraries. Use the Internet to check out college Web sites. Use our college search and view college profiles. You may even want to start a list of colleges that might interest you.

    Begin to get a feel for college life.
    Visiting relatives or friends who live on or near a college campus is a great way to get a sense of what college is like. Check out the dorms, go to the library and student center, and walk around the campus. Don’t worry yet about where you want to go—just get a feel for college in general.

    Make summer count
    There are plenty of ways to have fun and build your credentials during the summer, such as volunteering, getting a job, or signing up for an enrichment program.



    10th Grade: College Planning Timeline

    For this year, you’ll want to stay on track with your high school classes and activities and begin to narrow down the plan for your future.

    Fall: Take the PSAT and explore careers

    Take a practice PSAT.
    Taking the PSAT as a sophomore will help prepare you for the real thing next year. It also allows you to release your name to colleges so you can start receiving brochures from them.

    Start getting ready for the ACT.
    Ask your guidance counselor about the PLAN assessment program offered by American College Testing. This program helps determine your study habits and academic progress and interests; it will also prepare you for the ACT.

    Stay on track with your courses.
    Work with your guidance counselor to make sure you’re enrolled in the courses you need to prepare you for college or a career. Move on to the next level of classes in the core subjects (English, math, science, history, and a foreign language).

    Begin learning about the college admissions process.
    Get familiar with general college entrance requirements. The guidance counselor’s office, the library, college Web sites, and advice articles are all good sources of information.

    Continue exploring potential careers.
    Explore your career options in more detail—research possible careers to learn about the tasks, education, and training necessary for each occupation.

    Winter: Read and Write

    Take on new roles.
    Stay involved with your extracurricular activities and work toward leadership positions in the activities you like best. Become involved in community service and other volunteer activities.

    Read, read, read.
    Developing your reading skills will help prepare you for tests and make you a well-rounded individual. Read as many books as you can and read the newspaper to learn about current affairs.

    Practice your writing.
    You’ll need good writing skills no matter what path you pursue, so work on those skills now to get prepared. Find a teacher or another adult who can advise and encourage you to write well.

    Get advice from your counselor.
    Meet with your guidance counselor to make sure you’re staying on track. You can also discuss your PSAT scores and ask about postsecondary enrollment options and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

    Spring/Summer: Keep your grades up and reach out to colleges

    Keep your grades up.
    There’s probably a lot competing for your attention, but it’s important to remain focused on doing well in your classes. Remember that your grades affect your GPA and class rank—two factors that colleges consider in the admissions process.

    Start your college search.
    Use our college search tools to decide what factors are important to you and see a list of colleges that matches your criteria. Attend college fairs and read the material you get from all types of schools—you may see something you like.

    Contact colleges that interest you.
    Write to schools and ask for more information about their academic requirements and any programs or activities that you’re interested in. It’s especially important to start this process now if you think you want to attend a military academy.

    Consider taking SAT Subject Tests.
    It’s often best to take these types of tests while the material is still fresh in your mind. In May or June, you may want to take SAT Subject Tests in the courses you took this year.

    Get a summer job.
    Finding steady summer work will look good to prospective colleges and employers. Putting the money you earn away for college will also help you get a head start on a personal savings plan.


     

     

Last Modified on March 10, 2013