HS Freshmen: College Timeline for High School


• Meet with your school counselor to discuss your college plans and the courses you want to take during the four years of high school.

• Enroll in challenging courses to prepare for college. You will need classes in English, social studies, mathematics, science, and a language other than English. For a list of New York State’s most recent requirements for a high school diploma, go to www.nysed.gov.

• Start a calendar on which to list important dates and deadlines.

• Decide on your extracurricular activities, but don’t sign up for too many; keep quality rather than quantity in mind.

• Begin keeping a portfolio of your academic and extracurricular accomplishments.

• Learn more about colleges you might want to attend. Surf the web to get information about colleges and universities. On this web site, visit the Campus Profiles of more than 100 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities in New York State. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Navigator is also a good resource.

• Find out about NCAA-approved courses if you are interested in college athletics.

• Continue, or start, saving money for college. The more you save the less you may need to borrow.


• Read! Reading a wide variety of books and other materials is one of the best ways to increase your vocabulary and prepare for college.

• Study hard and be prepared for mid-term tests. Grades do matter in college admission.

• Find out about college life first-hand from older siblings, relatives, or friends during the holidays. Ask them what surprised them most about college life and what they might have done differently to prepare.


• Learn about college costs and financial aid. Visit the Pay for College tab on this site.

• Attend college fairs being held at your school or near your home. NYS HESC maintains a College Fair Calendar that lists college fairs in New York.

• Visit local colleges while they are still in session. Go to the college’s web site to find out about arrangements and schedules for campus tours and open houses. A list of college open houses and events at several private not-for-profit colleges and universities can be found on cIcu's Events Page.

• Learn about college prep programs being offered by your school or community and sign up for them.

• Look for a summer opportunity – a job, internship, volunteer position, or enrichment activity.


• Explore your interests and possible careers. Look into volunteering for a company or organization to get experience and information about careers that interest you.

• Visit college campuses near you.