Prepare yourself

If you’re thinking about education beyond high school, there are things you can do to get ready.

OliviaEducation beyond high school can give you knowledge and skills that might make a huge difference in your job options and earning power.

MichelleIf you want to go after higher education, it’s up to you to make a plan and follow-through. So on the next few screens, we’ll show you the steps to take.

OliviaIf you’re still in high school, here are steps you can start taking now.

Take these steps

Challenge yourself in high school
Take challenging courses in high school. Work hard to learn as much as you can and get good grades. Begin thinking about future career possibilities. Participate in a variety of extracurricular and volunteer activities. In addition to benefiting you, your high school, and community, these can improve your chances of being admitted to post-secondary schools and earning scholarships.

Talk to your family
Your parents or guardians may be able to help you in a number of ways, including evaluating schools, studying for placement tests, and visiting schools with you. Click on Library for tips on talking to your family about money.

Meet with high school counselors
Your high school counselor can advise you about school admissions applications, give you details about registering for placement tests, write recommendations for you, and provide encouragement.

Get ready for tests
Prepare for any tests that may be required. Note the registration deadlines carefully. Generally, you should register at least six weeks ahead of the test so you have time to study and avoid late registration fees.

Consider what you want
By your junior year of high school, start to consider what you want in a post-secondary school. Consider what schools are strong in the subjects, skills, extracurricular activities, and possible careers that interest you. Is it a trade or technical school, junior or community college, or university? Where do you want to live while going to school: at home or on campus? In a city or small town? What size school you want to attend in terms of class and campus size?

Narrow your list
Review the Web sites and brochures of schools that seem to have what you’re looking for. Narrow your list to three to six prospective schools. Visit the schools that interest you. If possible, visit during the school year when classes are in session. Contact admissions counselors at the schools. Like high school counselors, they can provide you with information about admissions, scholarships, and school-specific details, such as the tests they require to apply.

Keep track of your search
Stay organized in your school search process. Create a file folder of information on each prospective school and keep track of all important dates on a single calendar.

Remember: everyone’s situation and goals in life are a little different. A four-year college degree may not be right for everyone. Consider all of your higher education options.

Click the Next button for a suggested action plan and timeline.