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Below is a list of guidelines for you to follow your sophomore year that will help you prepare for the future.


  • Beware of scholarship search and financial aid service organizations that charge a fee. Check with your counselor or search for free at
  • Get involved! Find an activity at your school or in your community that you enjoy.
  • Stay organized by using a planner or electronic organizer.


  • Attend college fairs in your area and meet with college representatives who visit your high school.
  • Keep your grades up. Colleges look at the grades


  • Talk with your parents about your college and career goals and what it will take to attain them.
  • Find a mentor who can assist you through high school as well as the college search process, such as a counselor, teacher, parent, family member or family friend.


  • Visit for information on tuition and other fees at colleges and universities in Iowa.
  • Talk to family members, friends, teachers, counselors and coaches about their college experiences.
  • Keep a record of your extracurricular involvement in an activities portfolio-a concise summary of your achievements, talents and interests.


  • College can be affordable! Through financial aid, most colleges help ensure your out-of-pocket costs are manageable.
  • Talk to your school counselor about college admission requirements so you're taking the right classes.
  • Education after high school doesn't have to include a four-year degree. There are certificate programs, two-year degrees and other programs.


  • 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


  • Begin thinking about college majors. Are there majors that match your skills and interests?
  • Saving money is the best way to prepare for the cost of a college education.
  • 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


  • Do you know someone who works in a job related to your career interest? Interview them to find out about the educational requirements and what they like most about their work.
  • Are you getting a summer job? If so, plan to save some of what you earn for college.
  • If your family is planning a summer vacation, try to visit a few college campuses along the way.


  • Meet with your school counselor to make sure you're scheduling classes for your junior year that meet the college admission requirements.
  • Get a taste of a future career through job shadowing, volunteer work or a summer internship.
  • Participate in hobbies and activities that enable you to explore your career interests.


  • Check with your school counselor to see if there are AP classes that will fit into your schedule. Challenging courses in high school can better prepare you for college.
  • Look for a summer job that's related to your interests. Be sure to save some of your summer earnings for college.


  • Compare several careers. Consider the required education or training, tasks that have to be performed and starting salary, and the characteristics that appeal to you most.
  • Start a summer reading list. Try reading books that will increase your vocabulary.
  • Have a great summer!


  • If you're working this summer, set aside your earnings for college.
  • Stay in touch with teachers, counselors, coaches and community members. You may need to ask them to write a letter of recommendation for your scholarship and/or college admission applications.

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 guiadance counselor's office.