Getting ready for college is more than just making good grades, taking the ACT, and enrolling. You have to lay the groundwork first by identifying what careers interest you, what the educational requirements are, which schools offer the best program for that field, how you will pay for school, where you will live, and the list goes on. At ECU’s Educational Talent Search program, our staff wants to help you make the right choices and simplify the process. Take advantage of the counselors’ skills and knowledge----ask questions and request information from them.
Below are some steps to follow that will be helpful in your college preparation.
College Prep Checklist
- Challenging coursework: Take classes in English, math, science, history, geography, a foreign language, government, economics, and the arts.
- Career exploration: Talk with adults in a variety of professions to learn what their jobs entail and what kind of education is required for each job.
- College fund: If you haven’t already begun to save, start now. College is expensive.
- Guidance Counselor and ETS Counselor: Utilize the knowledge of your counselors. They are great resources for information about colleges, careers, and financial aid.
- Oklahoma’s Promise: If you have not already signed up for Oklahoma’s Promise, do it now. It can greatly diminish the cost of going to college.
- PLAN test: Ask your school counselor when it is scheduled.
- PLAN results: Review the results of your PLAN with your counselor and parents.
- Careers and job opportunities: Utilize the internet to explore careers and job availability. Some fields are very limited or require residence in a particular region or area.
- ACT test: Consider taking the test now. You can take it as many times as necessary to achieve an ACT score that will allow you to be admitted to the college of your choice.
- Challenging coursework: Continue taking college prep courses.
- College information: Begin collecting information about different colleges and identify what you want from college.
- College Fund: Continue adding to your savings.
- College fairs: Go to college fairs to pick up brochures, catalogs, and meet with college representatives.
- College visits: Schedule visits to campuses that interest you. Schedule a tour and make a list of questions to ask. Request information about campus life, tuition and fees, and housing. Pick up an application packet.
- College selection: Decide which colleges interest you. Contact them to request application material, financial aid, and deadlines.
- Scholarships: Begin investigating scholarship opportunities.
- ACT test: Take the ACT test now if you haven’t already taken it or if you want to improve your score.
- Challenging coursework: Continue taking college prep courses and solid electives.
- College fund: Continue to save for college.
- College visits: Continue campus visits.
- College essay: If your selected college requires an essay, begin working on it now. It will be much easier and you’ll feel less pressured if you complete tasks along the way instead of trying to do it all at once.
- Deadlines: Keep an ongoing list of deadlines --- ACT dates, application dates, admissions dates, enrollment dates, FAFSA dates, etc.
- Admission: As soon as you’ve narrowed your choices, apply to your top two or three schools.
- Financial aid: Begin the financial aid application process. If you need help completing the FAFSA, your ETS counselor will help you.
- Student Aid Report (SAR): Your SAR should arrive approximately four weeks after the FAFSA is filed.
- Scholarships: Continue your scholarship research. Look online, talk with your school guidance counselor and your ETS counselor, and contact the university’s financial aid office for suggestions.
- CLEP/AP tests: If applicable, take CLEP/AP tests in the spring.
- Housing: Ask about housing options (on-campus, off-campus, GREEK) at your chosen college.
- ACT test: Take the ACT test as early as possible if you haven’t already taken it or if you want to improve your score.
- College awareness: Attend a summer orientation program and/or make a couple of trips to the campus prior to the beginning of school
- Enroll: Get your paperwork submitted as early as possible.
- Campus checklist: Make a list of what you’ll need to take to college: Microwave? Refrigerator? Stereo? Computer?
- Campus tour: Make sure to tour your classes before school starts so you won’t get lost or be late on your first day of college.
Click here to download the College Prep Checklist (pdf)
Next, visit Academic Terms Used In College.