Student Checklists

We know that, as a student, you have a million things on your mind. That's why we created these handy checklists. Be sure to download our printable checklists. There’s one for each grade, and you can pin them up to help stay on track.

  • Pre-HS

    • What majors/careers sound exciting? Start thinking about which kinds of classes you will need to take in high school in order to be prepared for the major/career path of your choice in college.

    • Read daily. Becoming a critical and engaged reader will prepare you like nothing else for the PSAT/SAT and the many academic challenges ahead.

    • Develop strong study habits. Make sure to incorporate study into your schedule as a daily activity.

    • Ask questions! About college, careers - anything related to the process that you might not understand. Ask your teachers, your parents, your guidance counselor, and any other working adults you might know about their careers and what prepared them for college. The more you talk to other people, the more you will learn and the more you will clarify your own thoughts, dreams, and visions for yourself.

    • Become involved in school and/or community-based extracurricular activities. Play sports, learn a musical instrument, volunteer locally. Don’t stretch your time too thin, but make sure you stretch yourself by learning new things and having new experiences!

  • 9th Grade

    • Become aware of the college resources and college counselors available at your school.

    • Continue to talk to adults in a variety of professions to determine what they like and dislike about their jobs and what kind of education is needed for each kind of job.

    • Take classes in the core academic subjects. Most colleges require 4 years of English, at least 3 years of social studies (history, civics, geography, economics, etc.), 3 years of mathematics, and 3 years of science, and many require 2 years of a foreign language. Round out your course load with classes in computer science and the arts.

    • Become involved in school- or community-based extracurricular activities that enable you to explore career interests.

    • Continue to clarify your vision for yourself concerning college. What careers/subjects excites you? What kind of school would you see yourself going to?

  • 10th Grade

    • Continue to maintain a rigorous and balanced academic course load.

    • Continue to be involved in school- or community-based extracurricular activities that enable you to explore career interests.

    • Meet with your career counselor or guidance counselor to discuss colleges and their requirements.

    • Consider taking a practice Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) or the PLAN exam.

    • In the spring, begin preliminary college visits and talk to students while there.

    • Continue to learn about different types of colleges - which of them might be the best fit for you and your overall vision?

  • 11th Grade

    • Decide which colleges most interest you. Contact them to request information and an application for admission. Ask about special admissions requirements, financial aid and deadlines.

    • Talk to college representatives at college fairs.

    • Visit more colleges and talk to students.

    • Consider people to ask for letters of recommendations, such as teachers, counselors and employers.

    • Investigate the availability of financial aid from federal, state, local and private sources. Talk to your guidance counselor for more information.

    • Investigate the availability of scholarships provided by organizations such as corporations, labor unions, professional associations and religious groups.

    • Register for and take the PSAT/NMSQT (if you haven’t already), SAT I, the ACT, SAT II Subject Tests or any other exams required for admission to the colleges you might want to attend.

  • 12th Grade

    • Meet with your counselor early in the year to discuss your college plans.

    • Complete all necessary financial aid forms, especially the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Apply online at

    • Contact colleges to request information and applications for admission. Ask about financial aid, admissions requirements and deadlines.

    • Register for and take the SAT I, ACT, SAT II Subject Tests or any other exams required for admission to the colleges to which you are applying.

    • Prepare your application carefully. Follow the instructions and pay close attention to deadlines.

    • Be sure to ask your counselor and teachers at least two weeks before your application deadlines to submit the necessary documents to colleges (your transcript, letters of recommendation, etc.)