The National Catholic College Admissions Association
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Resources for preparing for college

Begin preparing for college as early as your freshman year of high school when you meet with your guidance counselor to determine your high school course schedule. Remember these tips as you conduct your college search process.

  • Meet with your guidance counselor regularly throughout all four years of high school, beginning your freshman year, to ensure you take the right combination of courses for the types of schools in which you are interested. Consider early on if Advanced Placement (AP) or other advanced high school courses are important for admission to these schools.

  • Participate in extracurricular activities through your high school or in your community. Take time to commit to and meaningfully engage in a few key activities that speak to your interests and goals.

  • Prepare for the College Board Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT I) and/or the American College Test (ACT), as well as the preliminary tests for both, the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) and the PLAN (formerly P-ACT+), as early as your sophomore year. Plan to take these tests during your second semester junior year, at the latest. Consider retaking these tests early in your senior year to achieve higher scores, which could directly impact admission and scholarship opportunities.

  • Begin researching schools in your sophomore year so that you have a list of schools to visit in your junior year. Visit college websites, utilize the college counseling office at your high school, attend college fairs and meet with admission representatives when they visit your high school. Search for a Catholic college or university on the National CCAA website.

  • Know the application deadlines and other important deadlines for scholarships and financial aid for the schools in which you are interested. Many admission applications should be submitted early in your senior year.  

  • Take the time to understand the scholarship and financial aid process. Get a summer job and begin saving for tuition, fees, and other essentials, like books and travel. Learn about financial aid and scholarships >>

Helpful websites

Admissions and financial aid

FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid

National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC)

Catholic higher education
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU)

National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) 



The College Board


College Preparation and Leadership Opportunities
National Hispanic Institute