College Checklist

Next Steps

Set yourself up for success by planning ahead for your future.

9th Grade College Checklist

Find a Mentor/Support Group

  • Meet with your high school guidance counselor to talk about your goals
  • Ask if there are any college prep programs at your campus such as TRIO/AVID
  • Check out this list of College prep Programs
  • Reach out to family members and friends who have attended college for advice

Challenge Yourself Academically

  • Sign up for college preparatory courses available at your high school
  • Check out this list of ways to get college credit in high school
  • Practice good study habits to raise your GPA/Rank and increase your college admissions and financial aid opportunities
  • Ask a teacher for help and/or go to tutoring if you are struggling with a subject
Tips from Raise.Me
  • Have a homework planner
  • Limit study time to short intervals
  • Only study two subjects every 2 hours
  • Never cram for test

Get involved in your school and community

  • Join cultural, fine art, and/or sports student organizations that interest you
  • Take on leadership roles and complete community service hours to be a more competitive candidate for college/ career
  • Create a list of all extracurricular activities and accomplishments for future resume
  • Check out list of college preparatory summer programs

Learn About College

  • Read college information available in your school’s counseling office and library
  • Research the pros and cons of obtaining a college degree online
  • Start a list of careers/majors/colleges that you’re interested in by visiting sites like Collegeboard, Princeton Review, or Prep Scholar
  • Visit colleges to get a feel of what college campuses are like

Practice for Standardized Testing

  • Read regularly in addition to homework and studying
  • See if there is a PSAT available to take your 9th grade year
  • Sign up for Khan or ACT Academy for free/personalized test practice tools

Prepare Financially

  • Create a college savings plan by using Collegeboard's calculator
  • See if there is a PSAT available to take your 9th grade year
  • Sign up for Khan or ACT Academy for free/personalized test practice tools
  • Apply for scholarships available for 9th grade students
  • Look into financial aid for documented and undocumented students
  • Start your financial literacy education

10th Grade College Checklist

Find a Mentor/Support Group

  • Meet with your high school guidance counselor to talk about your goals
  • Ask if there are any college prep programs at your campus such as TRIO/AVID
  • Check out this list of College Prep Programs
  • Reach out to family members and friends who have attended college for advice

Challenge Yourself Academically

  • Sign up for college preparatory courses available at your high school
  • Check out this list of ways to get college credit in high school
  • Practice good study habits to raise your GPA/Rank and increase your college admissions and financial aid opportunities
  • Ask a teacher for help and/or go to tutoring if you are struggling with a subject
  • Develop good study habits by using a daily homework planner

Get involved in your school and community

  • Join cultural, fine art, and/or sports student organizations to discover your interests
  • Take on leadership roles and volunteer for community service to be a more competitive candidate for college/career
  • Create/update list of extracurricular activities and accomplishments for future resume
  • Check out list of college preparatory summer programs

Learn About College

  • Read college information available in your school’s counseling office and library
  • Start a list of careers/majors/colleges that you’re interested in by visiting sites like Collegeboard, Princeton Review, or Prep Scholar
  • Visit colleges to get a feel of what college campuses are like
Tips from inspirED
  • Find out if you want colleges or technical schools
  • Take into considering your interest and locations of the school you want to attend
  • Visit the Admissions page to learn more.

Interested in attending a U.S military academy?

  • Request a pre candidate questionnaire and complete it
  • School counselor should be able to help step by step

Practice for Standardized Testing

  • Read every day in addition to homework and studying
  • Sign up for the PSAT in October to practice for the SAT test
  • Utilize Khan or ACT Academy’s free/personalized test practice tools
  • Check out test prep and practice books from your school or local public library

Prepare Financially

11th Grade College Checklist

Find a Mentor/Support Group

  • Meet with your high school guidance counselor to talk about your goals
  • Ask if there are any college prep programs at your campus such as TRIO/AVID
  • Check out this list of College Prep Programs
  • Reach out to family members and friends who have attended college for advice

Challenge Yourself Academically

  • Sign up for college preparatory courses available at your high school
  • Check out this list of ways to get college credit in high school
  • Practice good study habits to raise your GPA/Rank and increase your college admissions and financial aid opportunities
  • Ask a teacher for help and/or go to tutoring if you are struggling with a subject
  • Pick up the PSAT/NMSGT Student Guide which should be available in the guidance office and take the practice test

Get involved in your school and community

  • Join cultural, fine art, and/or sports student organizations to discover your interests
  • Take on leadership roles and do community service to be a more well rounded student
  • Find out if your school has a college night
  • Create a resume through inspirED website
  • Check out list of college preparatory summer programs
  • If you are planning to major in the arts (drama, music, fine arts), ask your teachers about requirements for a portfolio or audition

Learn About College

  • Read college information available in your school’s counseling office and library
  • Start a list of careers/majors/colleges that you’re interested in by visiting sites like Collegeboard, Princeton Review, or Prep Scholar
  • Visit colleges to get a feel of what college campuses are like
  • Attend a college fair
  • Visit colleges to get a feel of what college campuses are like
  • Start a preliminary list of college that might interest you

Military Option

  • If you are considering military academies or ROTC, ask about a possible recruiter in the branch of your choice
Tips from inspirED
  • Research which military branch you want to be in.
  • You can start your military career early by being in ROTC in high school

Complete Standardized Testing

  • Sign up for the PSAT offered in the Fall to be considered for the National Merit Scholar Program as you are only eligible your junior year of high school
  • Check out our college admissions test guide for test dates, fee waiver info, and study tips
  • Learn about the SAT by going to the SAT website or speaking to your counselor or GO Center mentor
  • Sign up to take the SAT in the spring semester

Prepare Financially

  • Create/Update a college savings plan by using Collegeboard's calculator
  • Make sure you and your parents file taxes, if applicable, to ensure you are eligible to apply for federal or state financial aid (FAFSA or TASFA) your senior year
  • Look into financial aid for documented and undocumented students
  • Start your financial literacy education

Get ahead of the Admissions Process

  • Ask at least two teachers/counselors for a recommendation letter and provide them with your resume to help them be as detailed and descriptive as possible
  • Write at least two of the generic ApplyTexas admission essay prompts
  • Apply to colleges before summer to get an admissions decision at the beginning of your senior year: Check out our admissions checklist for a step by step guide

12th Grade College Checklist

College Admissions Testing

  • The SAT or ACT is required to be accepted into college/university. Go the the Testing page to find out more about about each test.
  • Sign up for admissions test(s) by going to the SAT or ACT website. Mke sure to ask your high school counselor if you are eligible for a test fee waiver.
  • Study! There are many websites that have study guides and practice guide like Khan Academy, CollegeBoard, and ACT.
  • Check to see if you need to take the TSI Assessment.

Admissions

  • Figure out your educational and professional goals by choosing a major
  • Research what colleges/universities have a program for your career/major of choice
  • Research admissions requirements for the schools you’re interested in
  • Select at least 3 top Schools to apply for
  • Submit admissions applications online. You can apply for out-of-state school on CommonApp or for Texas schools on ApplyTexas
  • Submit Additional Admissions Application Materials (Requirements vary by school)
  • Create a student portal for each school you applied for to receive admision application updates

Financial Aid

  • Apply to Scholarships
  • Determine which financial aid application to fill out: FAFSA or TASFA?
  • Fill out teh financial aid application that corresponds with our personal situation
  • Complete CSS Profile, if applicable
  • View financial aid award letter from each college and compare your financial aid packages. You can use Collegeboard's tool to compare muiltiple financial aid award letters.
  • Accept financial aid package
  • Apply for Incoming Freshman Scholarships
  • Complete loan counseling forms and requirements, if applicable
  • Sign up for payment plans, if applicable
Tips from inspirED
  • Register for financial aid every year
  • Registration for FAFSA starts in October
  • You may qualify for work-study based on your financial status

Transitioning from High School to College

  • Set up Student Email, usually ends with .edu and register for student orientation (usually mandatory before enrolling for classes)
  • Submit Housing Application and Housing Deposit, if applicable
  • Sign up for a meal plan, if applicable
  • Get Meningitis Shot
  • Submit Final High School Transcript
  • Submit documentation of completed high school courses that are eligible for college credit
  • Sign up for CLEP Exams to receive college credit without taking college courses
  • Enroll for classes
  • Buy parking permit, if applicable
  • Buy Dorm essentials and school supplies
  • Contact Financial Aid Office for On-Campus and Off Campus work study job listings
  • Attend Student Activities Fair to become familiar with student organizations on campus
  • Buy required textbooks
  • Find your support group on campus

College Checklist Tips

#1

TSI testing is usually available for free or at low cost if you take TSI test at your local community college before your college student orientation

#2

Many admission/scholarship essays have common prompts. Use previous essays and alter them to fit current prompt.

#3

Research whether there is a deadline to accept the financial aid package for each school you applied for.

#4

Sometimes you can postpone any student orientation fees until the beginning of your freshman year of college when your financial aid funds are disbursable.

#5

CLEP Exams are offered at your local community college at a lower cost.

#6

Use RateMyProfessors for student reviews of the professor teaching a course.

#7

Joining student organizations helps you become familiar with your college campus and is a great way to develop academic and personal interests.

#8

Used, rental, and online textbooks are many times cheaper options. Find more options by searching a textbooks ISBN #.

#9

Reach out to student academic services to discover what homework and tutoring resources are available to students for free.