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How To Start Planning For College in 9th Grade


Create a four-year high school plan


● Think about what you’d like to accomplish in high school

● Meet with your school counselor to make sure you’re taking the right classes

● Ask your teachers about the types of courses offered by your school.

○ For example: If you’re interested in taking an honors class, are there required classes you have to take first?


Explore Advanced Placement (AP) Courses


● Learn about the AP Program and how it can lead to college credit, advanced placement, or both at most colleges in the U.S. ○ Consider which of the 38 AP courses you want to take during high school


Start thinking about what you’re interested in outside of the classroom


● Think about jobs and careers that interest you

○ Even though your interests may change, it’s good to start thinking about possibilities

● Talk to adults, such as school counselors, teachers, and recent college graduates, about your interests


Meet with your high school counselor


● Schedule an appointment with your school counselor to discuss post-high-school plans


Participate in extracurricular activities


Participate in extracurricular activities such as sports teams, school clubs, drama clubs, or volunteering

● If you’re interested in playing college sports, make sure you research the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as early as your freshman year

○ The NCAA requires completion of certain core classes in high school for eligibility

○ Visit the NCAA Eligibility Center for more information


Save for college


● Start saving money for college. It’s never too late or too early—every little bit helps

● Learn about financial aid, student loans, and scholarship opportunities that will help you pay for college


Explore summer opportunities


● Apply for a job or internship, or volunteer in your community ○ These experiences will help you learn about yourself and even put you on a path to your future career


Get familiar with PSAT-related assessments and the SAT


● Ask your teacher if the PSAT 8/9 is offered at your school and sign up if it is

○ This test will help you build up skills, so you’ll be ready to take the SAT in 11th or 12th grade



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