College Checklist: 10th Grade

What you need to do to prepare for college.

Eighth and ninth grades are behind you, and you've got a good idea of what you need to do to go to college. Here are the next steps for planning your university career. 

Get Ready to Apply

Keep a file with all the materials you might need for future college applications:

  • School transcripts.
  • A list of school & community activities. 
  • Awards and honors.
  • Paid & volunteer work experience. 
  • A list of adults who know you well and will write recommendation letters.

Meet Your Counselor

Have you met your high school counselor? If not, stop by your the guidance office and set up a time to meet. You can review your classes and make sure you'll meet all the college requirements. 

Stay Involved 

Hobbies, sports and service clubs are all important, but start focusing on your passions. It's better to pursue things you really care about than to stuff your schedule just to appear well rounded.

Test Yourself

Start getting ready for the SAT or ACT during your sophomore year by taking the ACT PLAN or PSAT. (You can take the PSAT test twice, now and in your junior year.) In the spring, while the material is still fresh in your memory, consider taking the SAT Subject Tests and AP exams for courses you took in your sophomore year.

Start the College Search

There are a lot of choices out there! Do you want a big school or small? Will you want to travel abroad? Read as much as you can about different schools. Use online college finders, search top college lists and check your library for college guidebooks. Make two lists — one of schools that interest you and the other with attributes that are most important to you in a college or university — and discuss them with your parents and school counselor.

Use the Summer

Get a job and earn some cash, volunteer time to a cause you care about, perform in a theater production or take an interesting class. If you do some traveling, try to visit colleges and universities, even ones you don't think you would attend. Every bit of information helps with your decision.

Look for Scholarships

Your PSAT scores could qualify you a scholarship, so consider taking a test prep course. Your guidance counselor can suggest other scholarships that might fit your needs, and free online search sites can help find even more financial aid for college. It pays to start looking and applying early!

Finished with your sophomore year? Find out what you need to do to prepare for college in 11th grade

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