College applications include your grades and activities beginning with ninth grade.  Here are some things you can do now to prepare for your education after high school. Download a PDF version of this checklist.

___Ask for help. Talk to your school counselors, teachers, family members, or mentors about your plans for college and ask about their experience. Ask where they went to college and what they studied.

___Create a Student Success Plan through CareerCruising. Use the Career Matchmaker, My Skills, and Learning Styles inventories to explore your interests and learn more about possible majors.

___Plan your high school class schedule.  Challenge yourself with the classes you choose! Some high school classes count as college credits.

___Explore summer opportunities. Look for a job, internship, or volunteer position to learn more about a particular field of interest and gain work experience.

___Prepare for applications. Getting into college is GREAT! Application materials vary, but the standard list includes Grades, Recommendations, Essay, Activities, and Test scores.

___Explore colleges and programs.  Use these online tools to explore majors that match your interests:

___Think about where you would thrive. Would you prefer to attend a large or small, rural or city school? Do you want to play sports or participate
in student government?

___Visit a college campus. Official college tours and virtual tours are great ways to experience campus life. Visit the admissions section of college websites for more details.

___Start thinking about cost. Have a discussion with your parents about what they think they can afford. Look the Pay for College section on this website to view financial resources.

___Don’t know where to start? Visit these sites:  or

Need information about how to pay for college? See the Financial aid 101 page.