Financial Aid Planning Timeline

10th Grade
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Keep those grades up!
You might have a lot going on this year, but it's important to stay focused on your schoolwork.
Sign up for a college savings account or continue to add money to an existing account.
Talk to your parents about financial aid options. It's a good idea to start talking about how you're going to pay for college.
Continue your conversations with your guidance counselors, teachers, family members or trusted adults about your plans for college or other paths towards a career.
Find out about AP and other honors-level courses for junior year.
Update your college planning file — or start one, if you haven't already.
Continue extracurricular activities.
Remember, many admissions officers look for well-rounded students who participate in the world around them.
If you have room in your schedule, consider a part-time job or volunteer position.
Look into participating in academic enrichment programs, summer workshops and camps with specialty focuses such as music, arts and sciences.
Take the PLAN test if you plan to take the ACT.
This is a valuable test to help you prepare for the ACT, which you can take next year. Ask your school counselor for more information about the PLAN test.
If you plan to take the SAT, take the PSAT in October.
The scores will not count for National Merit Scholar consideration this year, but it is good practice for taking the PSAT in your junior year (when the scores will count).
It's not too early to start studying for standardized tests like the ACT and SAT.
A great place to start is with the Test Prep section.
Investigate your options for participating in concurrent enrollment next year.
This allows juniors and seniors to enroll in college courses if they meet certain requirements.
Make a list of reasons why you like different colleges and universities — programs, location, cost and so on.
Visit college campuses and "tour" colleges in the Explore Schools section.
Start thinking about what factors are important to you in choosing a college:
size, location, availability of extracurricular activities, for example.
Keep reading!
Expanding your vocabulary and learning new things will help with many things over the next few years.