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Below are guidelines that you should follow throughout your freshman year of high school.


  • Start off on the right foot with your grades. Your grades do matter. Colleges look at your overall GPA through all four years of high school
  • Participate in extracurricular activities. They're a great way to meet new people! Many scholarship organizations consider a student's involvement in school and community activities.
  • Stay organized by using your planner.
  • Get to know your teachers, counselors, administrators and take advantage of all the resources that are available in your school.


  • Ask your parents and other adults what they like and dislike about their careers. Find out what type of training or education is required for each job.
  • Many colleges require four years of English, three to four years of math, science, and social studies; two years of electives; and two to four years of foreign language to be considered for admission. Work with your school counselor to stay on track.
  • Get to know the different types of postsecondary institutions. There are colleges and universities that offer four-year degrees and beyond as well as community colleges and technical institutes that offer many different programs that can run 12 months to two years in length.


  • Start developing an activities portfolio to keep track of your participation in extracurriculars. This will be a great resource when it's time to fill out scholarship and college admission applications.
  • Saving money is the best way to prepare for the cost of a college education.
  • Think about what you like to do, what you're good at and what you value most. Talk to your counselor about assessments you can take to help identify a potential career.


  • Compare college costs
  • Talk to your parents about your plans for the future. Discuss your personal and academic strengths and how you plan to reach your career goals.
  • Get in the habit of reading in your free time. This will help you develop a strong vocabulary, which is an important component in college entrance exams.


  • Volunteer in your community. Many scholarships are awarded based on community service.
  • Research colleges online and create a list of what you like most and least about each school.


  • Become familiar with the types of financial aid available for college. Financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work-study and loans. Grants and scholarships don't have to be paid back. Work-study enables students to earn money by working part time on campus. Loans must be repaid.
  • What subjects do you like in school? Choices, the state's designated career-management system, can help you search for careers related to those subjects. Find a link to Choices, go to


  • A majority of the fastest-growing jobs require some type of postsecondary education. Research careers to learn more about your options. Which jobs are in demand? What type of education/training is required?
  • If you're an athlete hoping to play sports in college, it's important to plan ahead. Find out what the academic requirements are in order to participate at
  • Your grades are important but most colleges prefer students who challenge themselves with tougher courses and earn average grades, than students who take easier courses that will boost their GPAs.


  • Meet with your school counselor to select your classes for 10th grade. Choose your courses wisely to stay on track to meet college admission requirements.
  • Continue to research jobs related to your interests.
  • Make the most of your summer.


  • Work hard to keep your grades high. Final exams will be coming up soon. Keep in mind grades do matter in 9th grade for college admission.
  • Do you have friends/family members who are high school seniors? Talk to them about their plans for next year. Ask them how they made their decisions and what was involved in the college selection process.


  • Learn about the world of work through job shadowing, volunteering or interning this summer.
  • Cultivate relationships with teachers, school counselors, coaches and community members. Some could end up being sources for letters of recommendation when it's time to submit scholarship and/or college applications.


  • Start a summer reading list.
  • Talk to your family members, friends, teachers, counselors and coaches about their college experiences.


  • Make a list of colleges you're interested in research them online.
  • This summer, participate in hobbies and activities related to your career interests.
  • Don't be afraid to alter your career goals as you learn more about yourself and the world of work, but remember to keep your goals attainable.

These guidelines were taken from a form given out by the Iowa College Access Network. If you would like a hard copy stop by the guidance counselor's office.