College. You hear the word and a variety of images may come to mind: happy students, late nights, new friends, higher learning, stress.

Each year of high school is different — obviously — and each presents a unique opportunity to engage in the college application process. There are countless ways to prepare for college, but teachers, school counselors, and admissions counselors agree that the best thing you can do for yourself is this: Start the process early.

This digital resource is broken up into pathways that aim to help you through each year of high school, — outlining specific steps and actions you will need to take and providing tips and advice along the way.

Most importantly, try to enjoy the college preparation and application process. It's a great journey, filled with learning, personal growth, and transformation. Let us help you get started by choosing which pathway below applies to you!




Start Thinking Now

As a freshman in high school, it might seem silly to start thinking about college, but it is not too early. Although it is too early to break out an application, there are several things you can and should do during this time.

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Prioritize Your Grades and Keep Your GPA High

For instance, while adjusting to your new workload and expectations from your teachers, make sure to put your grades at the top of your priority list and keep track of your GPA at all times. GPA is a very crucial element that colleges pay especially close attention to. 

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Choose Your Classes Wisely and Build Relationships

Colleges will often ask you to report your GPA 9-12th grade. It is important to choose your classes wisely, meaning, picking classes that will prepare you for college courses. Another important practice to take advantage of is building relationships with your teachers and school counselors who will help you stay on track.

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Learn About the College Admission Process

This is a great time to become more familiar with the college admission process. This will make it easier next year when you begin considering different schools. Read on to learn about other areas to consider and grow in your freshman year. 

Narrowing Down Your Interests and Passions

With thousands of colleges and universities to choose from, the decision can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Well, we would suggest you begin by identifying your interests and passions; that'll help you pinpoint a subject of interest!

Here are some questions to ask yourself, when determining your interests and passions:

  1. What did I love as a child?
  2. What are my hobbies?
  3. What skills do I have?
  4. Who do I admire most, and what do they do?
  5. If money were not part of the equation, what kind of career would I want to pursue?

And don’t forget to think about your future. Your area of study not only provides a learning opportunity but will be a big factor in your career; it should support your desired lifestyle and long-term aspirations.

Not sure what careers you might want to pursue? Take this career aptitude quiz, which matches your skills and qualities to potential careers.

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Study and Test-Taking Tips

No matter the major you decide to pursue, good study skills are one of the most fundamental habits to develop in high school. It is important to build your study skills early, because they are essential in college and will provide a foundation for lifelong learning.

Tips for productive studying include:

  • Use interactive learning methods
  • Learn to ask for help
  • Study with peers
  • Schedule time to study
  • Organize your responsibilities
  • Make sure you sleep
  • Maintain your overall health
  • Eliminate distractions
  • Stop procrastinating

In addition to building and maintaining good study habits, it is important to develop good test taking skills in high school. Tests can be stressful and overwhelming, but with a few simple techniques, exams become less daunting.

Tips for successful, stress-free test taking include:

  • Make a plan for studying
  • Sleep the night before the test
  • Eat breakfast the morning of the test
  • Manage your time well when taking the test
  • Look through the whole test before beginning
  • Don’t spend too much time on a question
  • Use process of elimination where applicable
  • Save the hard questions for last
  • Answer the questions you are most sure of first
  • Always review your test before submitting it

If taking tests and studying are overwhelming tasks, then consider some resources. Always feel free to go to your teachers/peers and ask for assistance, or if your school has a resource center, ask for help there!


Having good writing skills is a critical characteristic of a successful professional. It is also paramount for your success in college, where you will have to write papers and theses, take notes, and communicate through email with professors.

Here are some tips for sharpening your writing skills:

  1. Don’t start writing assignments the night before they are due
  2. Plan out what you will write using an outline, mind map, or list of points to cover
  3. Save the introduction and conclusion for last
  4. Don’t plagiarize (This is kind of important)
  5. Always revise your work and proofread the final draft

Time management is another valuable skill, that if developed in high school, will prove extremely useful in college and throughout your life.

Here are some tips for learning to manage your time well:

  1. Discover where you are wasting time and eliminate it
  2. Get organized by using a calendar, day planner, and checklists
  3. Focus on one task at a time, after completing it move on to the next
  4. Prioritize your goals and daily tasks, complete the most essential first
  5. Learn to delegate and outsource what you can
  6. Establish routines and try to stick to them

The most important tip for staying on top of your assignments and deadlines is to find what works for you and stick to it. Maybe checklists don’t motivate you, try using a rewards system instead. Maybe you keep loosing a paper planner, consider an online calendar! At the beginning of each quarter/semester, take all of the major deadlines (tests, projects, large assignments) and enter them into your monthly calendar. Then, use your daily calendar to record the smaller homework and assignments you receive throughout the week.


Extracurricular Advice and Opportunities

Not all learning has to happen in the classroom — cue extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities are things that you commit to outside of your academic curriculum. This can include sports, band, chorus, debate, drama, service projects, and more.

There are many benefits to getting involved in activities outside of school work. These activities can strengthen your mind and make you more successful and focused in the classroom. They can help you build professional skills, and skills that cannot be learned in an academic environment. They can help expand your social circle and also allow you to pursue your interests. Additionally, juggling school and extracurriculars encourages and builds good time management skills. Finally, having a resume with diverse activities shows future colleges that you are a well-rounded individual who will thrive in their classrooms and contribute positively to the college overall.

So, how do you balance extracurriculars and schoolwork?

To begin, start with just one extracurricular activity. Once you have figured out how to manage your time and balance your schedule, only then consider adding in additional activities. Only participate in the things that bring you joy and fuel your passion. Your time is precious, so you shouldn’t spend it on things that don’t truly excite you.

Most importantly, your freshman year in high school is a time for self-exploration, learning, and personal growth. Next year you will begin considering what kind of college you want to attend and will take some preliminary steps to get there — get ready!



During your sophomore year, you will begin considering specific schools based on your academic and social interests. You will also study for and take the PSAT — a preliminary test, which will determine if you are qualified for a National Merit Scholarship and familiarize you with the SAT/ACT standardized test format.

Continue to focus on your grades and extracurricular activities, and read on to learn about other tasks to tackle your sophomore year.

PSAT Prep: It’s time!

This year, you will probably hear the term PSAT alot. Don’t let it intimidate you. The PSAT is the Preliminary SAT, also known as the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). It is a preparatory version of the SAT exam. You are only allowed to take the PSAT once per year, and the majority of students take the test in both 10th and 11th grade.

The PSAT is administered by your high school, and you should contact your school counselor to find out which day the test will be administered. Your high school will purchase the necessary testing materials, and typically will not charge you to take the test. This test is used to determine your qualifications for a National Merit Scholarship. Each year $180 million dollars in merit scholarships are awarded to students.

There are two main benefits to taking the PSAT. The first is that you could qualify for merit scholarships, potentially greatly reducing the cost of college. The second is that the PSAT gives you experience with the kinds of questions you will see on the SAT. Having multiple exposures to these type of questions can help you become more comfortable and better prepared to take the SAT.

Here are 4 study tips for the PSAT:

  1. Study the PSAT test format
  2. Set a PSAT goal score
  3. Take PSAT (or SAT) practice tests and learn from the questions you get wrong
  4. Practice managing your time on the test

By the way, CollegeBoard is an excellent resource for PSAT prep.

Choosing the Right Kind of College

Sophomore year is a good time to begin thinking about the type of college you would like to attend. There are several factors to consider at the beginning of your college search. Your college search will be heavily influenced by the degree you decide to pursue, as this will filter out universities and colleges that have good programs for that degree.

Once you decide on your area of interest, you can look at factors such as size, atmosphere, tuition costs, study abroad opportunities, the surrounding city/town, the weather, the proximity to home, and the academic or sports ranking of the school.

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When looking at colleges, you want to make sure they fit your academic and personal goals. Some examples of these goals include: supporting you in the major of your choice, providing the specific resources you need to thrive in your classes, preparing you for a successful career, and encouraging holistic growth.


Here are some tips for finding these type of colleges:

  1. Identify your academic and personal needs
  2. Set corresponding goals and rank them according to importance
  3. Make a wish-list and include the resources and amenities you would want in a college
  4. Begin your search with the most important things on your lists
  5. Consult with your school counselor and ask them to help you in your search

The best way to get a feel for a college is to visit. Looking online and through guides can only tell you limited information about the school. When you visit, you have the opportunity to walk around the campus and surrounding town, sit in on classes, speak with students and professors, eat in the dining hall, tour the dorms, and check out the library and resource centers.

A college visit is also a great time to check out the academic support services offered by the school. These can include everything from testing and tutoring centers, to support for those with learning disabilities (LDs). If you have been diagnosed with an LD, it is important that you locate and make an appointment with the school’s office of disability services. They will assist you in setting up the services and assistance, to which you are entitled.

The most common services offered in college to students with LDs include tutoring and coaching, additional time for coursework, tests and assignments, note takers, quiet spaces for test taking, audio books, and assistive technologies such as equipment, software, learning materials, screen readers, and voice-recognition programs.


Make Time for Extracurriculars

Especially as your responsibilities increase your sophomore year in high school, it is important to still make time for extracurricular activities! Having multiple creative outlets helps your brain to focus when it is time to read or study. Extracurricular activities can include sports, band, chorus, debate, drama, service projects, and anything else done outside of the classroom.

There are several benefits to engaging in a healthy amount of extracurricular activities. These activities can provide opportunities to meet new people and make friends, and they can lead to a better overall high school experience by providing a positive and enjoyable creative outlet.


Start Speaking With Your School Counselor About College

It is important to begin building a relationship with your school counselor, so they can best assist you throughout your time in high school and help to keep you on track to accomplish your goals before graduation. The better your counselor gets to know you, the more willing and able they will be to assist you later in your high school career, like when you need a letter of recommendation or transcripts sent. So, stop into their office, introduce yourself, set up a meeting to discuss your college goals, and figure out who you can go to throughout the year when you have questions or concerns.


Here are some important questions you should discuss with your school counselor about college:

  1. Am I taking the kind of classes that colleges want to see?
  2. Can you walk me through the college application process?
  3. Based on my personal and academic goals, what colleges would you recommend I apply to?
  4. What financial aid resources should I look into?
  5. Do you have any tests or resources that can help me identify my strengths and potential career interests?

One of the tips that every counselor will offer is to begin your college prep and discernment process early. By spreading the work over the four years of high school, you will be able to alleviate the stress of deadlines and avoid overwhelming work pile-ups. Visit your counselor and ask them to help you create a timeline that includes when to begin applications, resumes, and essays.



Junior year is when the real work begins and is almost always the busiest year of the college application process, but don’t let that stress you out!

By managing your time wisely and creating a calendar of what needs to get done (and when), you can easily stay on task throughout the year and reduce the potential for stress and anxiety. Read on to learn about the critical, exciting big steps to take in your college process this year.

Preparing for the SAT/ACT

The SAT and ACT are standardized tests that measure a student’s aptitude for success in college. The test questions measure skills and knowledge that research has shown are important for college. There are three sections in the SAT test: Evidence-Based Reading, Writing, Math, and an optional essay portion. You are given a combined score for the Reading, Writing, and Math sections, and the essay is scored separately.

You will need to register to take the SAT and ACT. This can be done online on the College Board website, on, or over the phone. You will be asked to select a testing center close to your home, and you'll need to provide information such as your name, address, school, and a photo of yourself. The fee to take the SAT and/or the ACT can range between $45 and $60 depending on which test you take. If you are unable to pay the fee to take the test, you can apply for a fee waiver that will allow you to take the tests and send your scores to up to four colleges.


Most schools take either the SAT or ACT, but check to make sure because some schools are test optional! You can either check with the college’s admissions counselor or your high school counselor.

There are several techniques students can use to do well on these tests. Some of those tips include:

  1. Read each question carefully and consider the options
  2. Answer easy questions first
  3. Use process of elimination to take out answers you know are wrong
  4. If you don’t know the answer, make an educated guess
  5. Use your test booklet as scrap paper (unless you’re taking the computerized version)
  6. Keep track of time and manage it well
  7. Keep moving through the test, don’t get hung up on a question
  8. Check your answer sheet to make sure you are in the right place
  9. Relax and breathe — you can always retake the test if you are unhappy with your score

If you don’t do as well as you had hoped on the SAT/ACT the first time, don’t worry! A lot of students end up taking the test more than once in order to improve their score.

Here are a few tips for improving your score the second (or third) time around:

  1. Begin studying for the second SAT/ACT as soon as you are done with the first
  2. Utilize your score report and focus on the areas where you scored poorly
  3. Set a target for improvement (how many points do you want to improve on your next test)
  4. Join a study group
  5. Utilize free practice materials

Begin Your Vision! It’s Time to Start Visiting Colleges!

College visits are an exciting experience, you are finally able to envision yourself on the campus, eating the food, learning in the classrooms, and sleeping in the residence halls. Again, it is important to start your college visits early. This will allow you to spread your visits over your junior and senior year and will help prevent the visits from conflicting with extracurricular events or project deadlines.

When you go on a college visit, there are a few essential things to include in your stay. Make sure you sign up for a tour of the college. Although this might seem obvious, a tour is a great way to see the campus and often learn from a student who is attending the school.

Be sure to sit in on a class and maybe even schedule a visit with a professor or the head of the department you are considering for your degree. This is a great opportunity to ask them questions about the program you are considering and to get a feel for the student body. In fact, some colleges will customize your visit scheduled based on your personal interests!

Start Researching Scholarships and Financial Aid Options

Financing your college education can be a daunting task, but there are several places to look and apply for help. The key to getting financial assistance for college is to start early and apply to as many grants, scholarships, and other merit-based aid opportunities as possible.

There are two types of financial aid — need based and merit.

Need based aid is awarded according to financial need and is determined by the FAFSA. Merit based aid is distributed according to a student's academic or extracurricular accomplishments. There are several options for financial aid, the most common being free federal aid (FAFSA), federal and state grants, and scholarships.

Another financial aid option is to apply for grants.

Grants can come from colleges, private organizations, and the state or federal government, with the federal government having the greatest ability to distribute aid. A grant is a gift of money for college expenses that will not need to be repaid. Federal and state grants are primarily need based, although some merit options exist. The most popular federal grants are the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). A FAFSA is required to apply for grants.

Other sources of aid include federal work-study programs.

Federal Work Study (FWS) programs provide part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. This program requires a FAFSA application. If you're interested in getting a Federal Work-Study job while you're enrolled in college make sure you apply for aid early. Funds are limited.

P.S. The best scholarship websites include Fastweb, Scholarship, and Chegg!

Again, Make Time for Extracurriculars

Especially as the number of responsibilities and amount of stress increase your junior year in high school, it is important to make time for extracurricular activities. Striking a healthy balance between in-and-out-of-school activities will make you a more well-rounded individual and help you to succeed in the classroom.

By participating in a diverse number of extracurricular activities, you can build your college resume, demonstrating to future college admissions counselors that you are a productive, engaged, and well-rounded student — an ideal addition to their college.

Service is an especially important part of your extracurricular engagements. It is important for colleges to see service or volunteer projects on your resume, because it lets them know that you are able to give back to your community and will give back to the college’s community as well.


Here are a list of places you can contact to see if they have service or volunteer opportunities:

  1. Churches or places of worship
  2. Recreation centers or youth organizations
  3. Homeless shelters or soup kitchens
  4. Animal shelters or rescue centers
  5. Community gardens or farms
  6. Local elementary schools

Keep Building Your College Resume

Almost every college application you complete will ask you to include a resume. This is a summary of your activities and accomplishments. It includes academic accomplishments, awards and honors, extracurricular activities, service and volunteer engagements, and work experience. It is a place for you to highlight the best parts of yourself and to promote the character qualities you want colleges to notice.

Take the time to start thinking about which teachers you would want to write letters of recommendation for you. Ask yourself questions like: Who do I have a good relationship with? Who will be able to speak to my strengths and give concrete examples? It is also polite to ask the teachers you are considering, if they would be willing to do this for you. Be sure to give them a heads up that you might ask them for a recommendation letter. If you do decide to ask them, give them the guidelines or prompt with plenty of time to compose a thoughtful piece. And choose someone who knows you well! You want the letters of recommendation to be specific and personal to your strengths and talents.


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Congratulations! You have made it most of the way through your college application process and the stress of your junior year is behind you. It can be very tempting to settle in for the “senior slump” or catch a bad case of “senioritis” at this point, but your work is not yet over! Colleges are still looking at your grades, and believe it or not, it is important to maintain a high GPA throughout your senior year, even after being accepted to a college.

The pace does slow down a bit for senior year, but it should not come to a grinding halt. Read on to learn about the things you need to complete during senior year.

Schedule Your SAT/ACT

You scheduled your SAT/ACT and have been studying for months. You are well rested and ready to ace the test. The night before the test, make sure to get a good nights sleep but also to pack your bag for the following day.

Here is a list of things you don’t want to forget:

  1. Your admission ticket
  2. Your photo ID
  3. Four #2 pencils with good erasers
  4. An acceptable calculator
  5. Extra batteries for your calculator
  6. A small snack and bottle of water
  7. A watch

Equally important are the things you should absolutely not bring to the test including: a cell phone, laptop, other technology, and notes/cheat sheets.

Stay In Touch With Your School Counselor

After you apply to or are accepted to colleges, you might be tempted to stop visiting your school counselor, but you shouldn’t! School counselors are there to help you stay organized and to help you succeed. Continue to meet with them throughout your senior year. Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise.

FAFSA and Final Financial Aid Inquiries

By now, you should have begun applying for financial aid. The first step is to fill out the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for the Free Application For Federal Student Aid. It is a program run by the U.S. Department of Education and is the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation. The federal government annually provides $120 billion dollars in federal student aid. Aid is distributed based on financial need, as determined by the application. This is a free gift of money and will not need to be repaid.

Anyone can complete the FAFSA, and everyone is encouraged to — regardless of household income. It is important to complete the FAFSA, as it is often used by colleges and universities to determine the amount of aid given to students. The FAFSA should also be completed during each year of college attendance, in order to be considered for aid.


To complete the FAFSA, you will need the following items:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Alien Registration Number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable)
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • An FSA ID to sign electronically

The 2018–19 FAFSA form became available on October 1, 2017. The 2017–18 FAFSA form has been available since October 1, 2016. Each state and college sets its own deadline for the FAFSA. For Federal Student Aid for the 2018–19 year, you can apply between October 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019. It is best to complete this as early as possible, because some funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Be sure to read through and check your FAFSA for mistakes, as errors can lead to the application being rejected. Here are six common mistakes to avoid when filling out the FAFSA:

  1. Not reporting all sources of income
  2. Not signing the completed FAFSA
  3. In cases of divorce, not reporting both incomes
  4. Not including yourself in your household size
  5. Not filing on time
  6. Not checking in with your counselor or your college of interest

Understanding Other Financial Aid Options

There are two types of financial aid — need based and merit.

Need based aid is awarded according to financial need and is determined by the FAFSA. Merit based aid is distributed according to a student's academic or extracurricular accomplishments. There are several options for financial aid, the most common being free federal aid (FAFSA), federal and state grants, and scholarships.

Another financial aid option is to apply for grants.

Grants can come from colleges, private organizations, and the state or federal government, with the federal government having the greatest ability to distribute aid. A grant is a gift of money for college expenses that will not need to be repaid. Federal and state grants are primarily need based, although some merit options exist. The most popular federal grants are the Pell Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)A FAFSA is required to apply for grants.

Other sources of aid include federal work-study programs.

Federal Work Study (FWS) programs provide part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. This program requires a FAFSA application. If you're interested in getting a Federal Work-Study job while you're enrolled in college make sure you apply for aid early. Funds are limited.

P.S. The best scholarship websites include Fastweb, Scholarship, and Chegg!


Make Time for Extracurriculars

Now, more than ever, in your senior year of high school, it is important to make time for extracurricular activities. By participating in a diverse number of extracurricular activities, you can build your college resume, demonstrating to future college admissions counselors that you are a productive, engaged, and well-rounded student — an ideal addition to their college.

With the stress of college applications, college decisions, and your senior year workload, it is important to have an outlet for that stress. With everything going on, be sure to take time for yourself  get enough sleep and take care of your mind and body. If you are well rested and healthy, you will be able to operate at peak performance and accomplish all the tasks on your plate.

Visit College Campuses (Even if You've Already Been Accepted!)

In your senior year, you know what you want in a college, and chances are you have already envisioned yourself walking through the campus and hanging out with friends in the library. Even if you have already been accepted to the school, it is still very important to visit the college. A visit will help you to envision your everyday life on the campus, give you a realistic understanding of the college in question, and could even be the deciding factor between two very good colleges you’re still deciding between.

When you go on a college visit, in addition to a tour and sitting in on a class, be sure to schedule time to meet with faculty, financial aid counselors, and admissions counselors. Some colleges even offer the opportunity to stay overnight with a student ambassador and shadow them throughout their day. This is an excellent opportunity and one you should take full advantage of, because it will show you what your life would be like if you attended the college. It could help you see nuances about the school that you might not have noticed on the tour or through your research.

Preparing for College Interviews

Some colleges might require an interview as part of the application and acceptance process. This is so they can get to know you in person, as opposed to on paper, and discover if you are the type of student they desire at their school.


The first step is to look at potential interview questions, such as:

  1. Why do you want to attend this college?
  2. What can you contribute to the school?
  3. What are three adjectives to describe yourself?
  4. What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?
  5. What activities do you find most rewarding?
  6. What do you want to do after college?
  7. If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?

Make sure you are confident in answering these potential questions, but do not memorize your answers. It is important to interview confidently but to not sound rehearsed. You should focus on being yourself and highlighting the best parts of yourself. Also, try to relax and engage in a conversation. The interviewer wants to get to know you. And don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself!

If you’re wondering what you should wear to a college interview, check out this article on 10 tips for dressing right for your college admissions interview.

Also, if you don’t have the resources or ability to travel to a campus for an interview, ask the admissions office if they can conduct an interview online over Skype, Google Hangout, or whatever the college’s preferred online meeting venue is!

Review Your College Resume

Throughout your high school years, you have been building your college resume through your academic, extracurricular, and social accomplishments. Now is the time to review it, polish it, and make sure it is ready to send off to colleges.

This is also the time to ask your teachers or your school counselor for letters of recommendation. Choose teachers with whom you have a good relationship and are able to speak to your qualifications and strengths. Be sure to ask your teachers if they will write the letter well in advance of the deadline. It is important to give them ample time to consider the prompt and to craft a thoughtful letter that highlights why you would be an excellent candidate for the college. When you ask your teacher or counselor to write the letter, give them the guidelines, a copy of your resume, and all the materials necessary for crafting the letter. Don’t forget to include an envelope with postage if a mailed hard copy of the letter is required.

It might be beneficial to create a master list of the schools you are applying to and their corresponding deadlines. Under the school heading, list out each item that is part of the application package and create a deadline goal, then transfer your deadline goals to a calendar and hang it somewhere you will easily see it. Each school will have its own requirements: Some may require letters of recommendation, application essays, a resume, an interview, a short answer response, or a combination of these and others. Make sure you double check that you have all the necessary materials and are certain of the application deadline, as submitting a late or incomplete application can often disqualify you.

After all your applications have been submitted, step back and congratulate yourself. The hard part is over, all that remains is to wait on responses from the schools. Sometimes this can be just as anxiety inducing as completing the application, but try to remain calm and hopeful. Remember that no amount of stressing and worrying will increase your chances of getting into a school, so enjoy the time you have left in high school with family and friends.

Deciding and Depositing

When the responses come from the colleges, you will need to make a decision about which college you will attend! Once you've chosen, be sure to follow the instructions noted in your acceptance letter. Many schools will have you fill out a form online or mail in a hard copy to secure your place in the incoming freshman class and residence hall. You should also let other colleges to which you were accepted know that you will not be accepting their offer of admissions.

If you have any questions about enrolling or finalizing the acceptance process, contact the college’s admissions office.

Starting a College Checklist (What to Take)

To move away from home and live on your own will require lots of planning and packing. Depending on your unique situation, your list could look slightly different, but consider these categories of necessities for your freshman year in college. Before packing your things, be sure to check with your school for lists of suggested items, prohibited items, and items that will be provided for you:

Room needs

rug, lamp, fan, trash can, etc.

Storage solutions

hangers, under the bed storage, cubbies

Linens/laundry supplies

sheets, towels, blankets, pillows, laundry basket, detergent, etc.

Office/desk supplies

pens, pencils, notebooks, folders, scissors, etc.


laptop, extension cords, surge protector, alarm clock, ethernet cord, etc.

Small appliances

discuss with your roommate who will bring the mini fridge, microwave, coffee pot, ect.


medicine, vitamins, shower caddy, flip-flops for the shower, etc.


if possible, consider bringing one season of clothes at a time

Household and kitchen Items

dishes, trash bags, lightbulbs, water bottle, tupperware, etc.

Books and school supplies

check with the college to see what materials are required for your classes

Time to Celebrate!

Finally, the last step in this process is to get excited and spend some time celebrating yourself and your achievements!

Being accepted to a college of your choice is a big deal and has required a great amount of hard work. In all the excitement and anticipation of moving on to this next stage of your life, take a moment to pause and congratulate yourself for your accomplishments, and thank the people who helped you get there.

They are proud of you, and you should be too!




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