Steps to College Planning

  • Ask yourself why you want to go to college.
    Is it career preparation? Learning opportunities? A personal goal? For the extracurricular activities? Because family and friends encourage you to?
  • Take a good look at yourself.
    What are your strengths and weaknesses? Likes and dislikes? What do you hope to be doing 5 years from now?

Is it the type of school? The academic programs and degrees offered? The location and size? Costs and financial assistance? The academic reputation? Sports?

  • Talk to parents, counselors, teachers, friends, and alumni.
  • Obtain information from the internet, libraries, college reps and websites, college fairs.
  • Search college websites.
  • Write to the admissions office requesting information.
  • Make a campus visit! » Learn More
  • Use a comparison worksheet to organize your information. » Learn More
  • Compare pros and cons.
  • Compare cost in relation to financial assistance packages.
  • Obtain an admission packet or apply online. Check admission requirements.
  • Pay special attention to dates and deadlines.
  • Read all directions carefully before doing anything.
  • Make a copy of the application in pencil first for practice. Final applications can be typed or hand-written, but they should be neat and legible.
  • Do not hesitate to ask questions or seek help from your counselor. Many applications have sections that must be completed by the counselor anyway.
  • If an essay is required, be certain it is written neatly and correctly. Ask anEnglish teacher to review it. Essays should be typed unless you are specifically instructed to hand-write them.
  • If there are separate parts of the application for counselors or teachers to complete, give those parts to the appropriate people as soon as possible to allow them time to do a good job for you.
  • If letters of recommendation are required, be sure to give your the person at least two weeks notice to write the letter. This allows time for a well thought out essay. Your request should be in writing, with the name of the school for which you need the recommendation. Also include a résumé and instructions on what the they should do with the completed letter. Include a stamped and addressed envelope if he/she is to mail the letter separately. If it is to be included in the application packet, give the them a blank envelope and ask for it to be returned to you in the sealed envelope.
  • Request transcripts! You may either send your application separately from your transcript or return all completed materials to your counselor who will include the transcript and a copy of your senior year schedule and mail it together.
  • Communicate with your counselor. Keep your counselor informed of what you are doing so she can best help you.
  • Know the financial aid and scholarship policies for each college to which you are applying.
  • Note carefully all dates and deadlines. These are often different than housing deadlines.
  • Investigate scholarships from sources other than the colleges. Use the internet and check the Guidance Office for other available scholarships.
  • File your FAFSA on or as soon after January 1st as possible. You are strongly encouraged to obtain your PIN prior to January 1st. Parents and students need separate PINs.
  • Make a final visit to your top two choices.
  • Discuss it with your parents and counselor.
  • Select a school that best meets your needs and preferences.
  • Admissions
  • Financial Aid
  • Housing
  • Other required fees


Keep a copy of all completed forms and worksheets.

Apply for private sources of financial aid.

You must reapply for financial aid each year you are in school.

Talk to the financial aid office about federal, state, institutional, and private assistance programs; about changes in personal and family income; financial assistance delivery and tuition payments.

Maintain eligibility for financial assistance by enrolling at least half time and making satisfactory academic progress.