College Planning For Students

If you’re lucky, your parents are going to have you help pay for your college education.

Students generally take college more seriously and have a better educational experience when they have some skin in the game. But what does that mean? After all, you’re probably not in a position to make a significant financial contribution, right? There are still plenty of things you can do to make sure your family has the help it deserves to pay for your education.

And that help starts early. Decisions you make as early as 8th grade have a huge effect on your college career. They affect how soon you’ll go to college, what type of college you’ll attend, and even whether you’ll go to college at all.

As a Student, Are You Ready?
Here are Some Helpful Tips to Put You on the Right Track.

Get Involved

Getting ready for college isn’t all hard work. Find something you really like doing, then dive into it. Maybe you’re drawn to sports, student council, music, art, etc. You’ll develop skills that show colleges your ability to make a commitment and stick with it.

Take Challenging Courses

Colleges do look at your grades, but they also pay attention to how difficult your courses are. They want to see that you’ve challenged yourself. Plus, if you pursue advanced courses, such as AP®, you may be able to get college credit.

Get Help

Having trouble in a class? Many schools have peer tutors, students in upper grades who’ll help you – usually for free. Talk to teachers or counselors – let them know you want extra help.


Read at least 30 minutes every day, beyond study and homework. People who read more know more. And when you take PSAT/NMSQT®, SAT®, and ACT® tests, the time you put into reading will really pay off.

Don't Delay

You’ll take the PSAT/NMSQT as a junior – possibly even as a sophomore. Most students take the SAT/ACT in their junior or senior year. Be sure you’re taking the solid math and other courses that get you ready. Talk to your counselor to make sure you’re on track.

Get the College-Bound Facts

How can you find out about college admissions, work and campus life? Ask someone who’s done it, such as college students who went to your high school. Get to know your counselors. Ask a career planner at a local college, or a teacher. Do Web research.

Strategies for high school seniors