Thinking about college? Follow these steps.


    • Talk with your counselor about the year ahead. Confirm that your courses will put you on the right track for college admission.
    • Ask about test dates for the PSAT, ACT, and SAT. You’ll need to register up to six weeks ahead of time.
    • Start developing a résumé—a record of your accomplishments, activities, and work experience. This will be an important part of your college application.
    • If you haven’t participated in many activities outside of class, now is the time to sign up. Consider clubs at school, team sports, leadership roles, or involvement in a religious or civic community group.
    • Take the PSAT. Taking the test as a junior will qualify you for some scholarship consideration and identify you to colleges as a potential applicant.
    • Begin to prepare for the ACT or SAT. Plan to take at least one of these tests in the spring. Ask your counselor if you qualify for a fee waiver.


    • Work with your counselor to set your senior schedule. Enroll in the most challenging courses.
    • Register for a spring SAT and/or ACT. Ask your counselor whether you should also take an SAT Subject Test.
    • Explore summer opportunities on college campuses—a great way to find out what college life is all about.


    • Start researching colleges and universities. Go to college fairs and open houses. Learn as much as you can about colleges online.
    • Begin planning college visits. Try to visit colleges near you over spring break. Include a large, medium size, and small campus.
    • Develop a preliminary list of colleges that interest you. Go online to request additional information.
    • Take a look at some college applications. Make note of all the pieces of information you will need to compile. Make a list of teachers, counselors, employers, and other adults who could write letters of recommendation.
    • Consider lining up a summer job or internship.


    • Continue​ investigating colleges.
    • Schedule campus visits at the schools that you interest you.
    • Begin thinking about your applications. Generally, colleges will have their applications online by the beginning of August.
    • Start brainstorming your college essay.