Preparing for College


  • Meet with your school counselor regularly throughout all four years of high school to ensure you take the right combination of courses for the schools you're interested in. Early on consider 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 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. 

    *Please note that some schools do not require ACT or SAT scores in order to be considered for admission. These schools are referred to as test optional colleges and universities. Each test-optional school is different; as with all schools, be certain you understand the school's specific application process.

  • Begin researching schools in your sophomore year so that you have a list of schools to visit during your junior year. Visit college websites, utilize your high school's college counseling office, attend college fairs, and meet with admission representatives when they visit your high school. 

  • 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.