How To Start Planning For College in 11th Grade


College planning tasks you can do before winter break (September–December):


● Make a list of what you’re interested in studying and explore career ideas

Learn about colleges and save schools you’re interested in to your College Board account ● Make an appointment with your counselor to ask about upcoming college fairs and which college representatives are visiting your high school

○ Browse the college brochures and catalogs in your counselor’s office—you might find a college you haven’t thought of

● Ask your counselor or a teacher about taking the PSAT/NMSQT scheduled in October

○ You may be eligible for scholarship opportunities after taking the PSAT/NMSQT

○ If you plan to ask for testing accommodations because of a disability, make sure you learn about the request process and start early

● Manage your college search, test scores, and application statuses by saving information in your College Board account

○ If you’re looking at visual and performing arts majors, some colleges require a portfolio or audition, so look into the Major and Career Search tool and find out how you need to prepare

● Estimate how much college might cost and how much financial aid you may need with our free Tools & Calculators

● Register to take the SAT and/or the SAT Subject Tests™ and practice on Khan Academy® for free

Register for AP Exams for the courses you’re enrolled in this school year. Check with your AP teacher or coordinator about your school’s registration deadline.

○ A score of 3 or higher can get you college credit at more colleges than ever before. Check out the credit policies at the schools you’re interested in.

● Complete college planning steps on Big Future for a chance to win Big Future Scholarships for $500 or $40,000


College planning tasks you can do before the school year ends (January–May):


● If you’re considering military academies or ROTC scholarships, you should begin the application process the summer before your senior year

● Continue to build your college list and explore schools by type, housing options, majors, sports, student organizations, cost, and more

● Take the SAT or consider retaking the SAT

○ Double-check if you’re eligible for a fee waiver—if you are, make sure you review all the benefits

○ Remember—67% of students improve their score the second time around

● Learn 3 different ways of getting financial aid and get a copy of your family’s tax returns

● If you’re considering playing sports in college as a student-athlete, make sure the NCAA® gets your SAT score and ask your counselor to upload your official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center

○ Check out our College Planning Checklist for Student-Athletes for more information

● Take the AP Exams you registered for to show colleges that you’re committed and motivated to succeed

○ Review the exam schedule and make a plan get ready for exam day

○ Login to AP Classroom to use free resources, including AP Daily videos, to review content and get prepared

○ Consider which of the 38 AP courses you want to take next school year


College planning tasks you can do in the summer and before beginning your senior year (June–August):


● Find a full-time job, part-time job, or internship to gain work experience

● If you can, visit college campuses, attend an information session or a campus tour, and make sure you talk to current students or professors while you’re there

Create a résumé so you have a record of your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and work experience

○ Brag about your achievements!


Find out more information about college admissions, our programs, or on our student-exclusive scholarship program by visiting our website:

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