Roadmap for College

The Most Exciting, Challenging and Rewarding Four Years (Until College, That Is)

Football games, school dances, hanging out with friends. High school is a lot of fun. But you also want to keep your eyes on the ultimate goal: getting into a great college and gaining the tools you’ll need for a successful career. Whatever direction you choose, it’s important to plan ahead. To help you along the way, here are some important things to consider each school year.

Freshman Year
Welcome to the big time! As you’re navigating the halls of your new school, be sure to track down the guidance counselor’s office. They’re a great college prep resource to tap into. Chat them up about what classes you’re taking. They can tell you if you’ve got the right balance of college-friendly subjects on your plate and can help you find scholarships in a couple of years. You’ll also want to check out—it’s a really helpful website for all things college prep.

Sophomore Year
Ah, sophomore year. Traditionally known as ‘The year I can finally drive places.’ After you’ve motored over to the mall or your friend’s house, why not check out some colleges? Students often wait until senior year, but it’s never too early to visit. And you can even visit schools from your living room these days with cool virtual college fairs like CollegeWeekLive. So what are you waiting for?

Junior Year
Get ready, because as far as what colleges look at, junior year is ‘The Big Kahuna.’ Study hard to keep those good grades coming. But don’t become such a bookworm that you ignore extracurriculars. Colleges love well-rounded students. Sports, yearbook staff, marching band, all that good stuff looks great on college applications. Also, now is a good time to take an accounting course (not that we’re biased or anything).

Senior Year
Congrats, you made it! But before you start daydreaming about donning that cap and gown, you’ve got some important stuff to do:

  • Take the SAT or ACT
  • Whittle your list of colleges down to your top picks
  • Turn in your FAFSA form promptly
  • Learn more about choosing the right college in Start Here Magazine

That’s high school in a nutshell, but there’s tons more to learn. You’ll find more helpful info on sites like To dive in to the details of paying for college – 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy is also a great resource.

So good luck, work hard and have fun. High school is a wonderful experience that prepares you for the even cooler experience of college—and beyond.