Plan for College

Learn how to prepare for the education and training that will get you your dream job.

Pick Classes that Will Get You Into College

Challenge yourself, sharpen your skills, explore

Use middle school and high school as a testing ground — a place for trying out what you might like to do in college and even for a career. You may have required classes to take, but you also have electives, which can give you a flavor of many different subjects, from academic to vocational. If you have a career in mind, you could select classes with that goal in mind. If you want to learn more before choosing a career, that's fine too. Just explore your interests and sharpen your academic and organizational skills.

Add variety to your classes. Every school requires specific courses for graduation. Fulfill these requirements but add some variety. Why? You won't succeed in college by doing the bare minimum in high school. Learn different topics, for example, a new language, an instrument, or accounting.

Set a stretch goal. Don't choose just easy classes. You won't do well unless you're interested. Select courses that match your abilities, but also require some effort. Your parents, teachers, and school counselors can offer advice on making the right choices given your aptitudes. Just remember: The more you're challenged now, the better prepared you'll be in college.

  • Complete a four-year academic plan. To help you chart a strong academic path through high school, draft up a four-year academic plan. You might share your plan with your counselor and parents, since they may have suggestions on what to consider for electives or alternate classes.
  • Keep in mind admission requirements. In addition to school graduation requirements, you also need to consider the courses you need for admission into college. For example, some four-year colleges and universities require knowledge of a foreign language for admission. Many colleges also require math classes like Algebra and geometry. If you have a college in mind, find out its admissions requirements for courses.
  • Consider dual credit courses. Your high school might partner with a local junior college or community college to offer dual credit classes for high school students. If you take and pass these classes, you may earn credit toward your high school diploma and a college degree at the same time.
  • Talk to a professional. Your high school counselor will have ideas on what to take for classes given your ultimate career goal. You could also talk with someone already working in a field you're interested in. You could interview that person on what skills and abilities got them where they are and use that information to select your high school classes.


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