Getting Ready for College

It is never too early to start getting ready for college or vocational school. If you are in middle or high school here are things you should be doing now.

Set a goal.

The first and most important step is yours — make a post-secondary degree a goal for you!

Do your homework.

  • Use the resources on this website as a starting point. Look into college access programs at school or in the community. Talk to friends who have already made the move to postsecondary school. Use the St. Louis Graduates glossary to help make sense of the terms used.
  • Identify your interests for postsecondary study. Work with your counselor and teachers to make sure you are taking the courses that will help you prepare academically.
  • Start to research the kinds of schools that meet your needs. If resources permit, visit them in person.
  • Get prepared. Completing financial aid forms can be daunting. Start early to assemble the information you will need and put it in one place.

Make a plan.

Meet regularly with your school guidance counselor to create a plan for you. This should include your academic history, your financial and legal status, and your career interests.

These sites have useful information for navigating the process of planning for post-secondary education:

Know How 2 Go
walk through steps to take every year from middle through high school
U.S. Department of Education’s site by and for students

These sites have additional information:

The College Board
action plans for juniors and seniors

Missouri Department of Higher Education
planning tools and answers to frequently asked questions on financial aid

Illinois Student Assistance Commission
planning tools for use before applying to college