Getting Ready For College

What's more exciting, demanding, and time intensive than the Junior- Senior Prom?

Preparing for the leap from high school to college!

Taking entrance tests, searching out scholarship and loan opportunities, finding just the right college, making sure you have all the courses you need to qualify for admission—the list can seem overwhelming.

Planning for college early can tame the anxiety beast, and enlisting the help of your high school counselor and your family can help you make a successful transition from high school to college.

The California State PTA has gathered together some resources that will help students and parents begin the journey to college, and continue on through their senior year so that "college-bound" can become a reality.

Making the College Decision

Here are some helpful links to help you think through the decision to go to college, including some issues to think about regarding your future after high school. is being built by the U.S. Department of Education in collaboration with students. This site is intended to be the go-to source for information and resources about planning, preparing and paying for postsecondary education (such as two- or four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational or career schools).

Career Colleges and Technical Schools
This website gives you some questions you'll want to ask before enrolling in a career college or technical school.

Sallie Mae College Answer: Assessing yourself
Assessing your personality, interests, and skills now will help later when it's time to choose a career.

NPR Admissions Tips
NPR provides a series of articles on the college admissions game.

Scouting Out Colleges

Your school counselor can help you pick a list of potential colleges and universities to consider. California has an excellent state college system and a university system that is known throughout the world. Don't forget to consider community colleges as well. Use the links below to explore the options in California and throughout the United States.

College Navigator
California Postsecondary Education Commission
University of California
California State University
CSU Mentor
California Community Colleges
California private colleges and universities
Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities

Testing ... Testing

Different colleges and universities have different requirements for entrance. Check out the links below to find out what tests are required, and check with your school counselor to find out when these tests are offered.

University of California entrance requirements
California State University entrance requirements
ACT test information
SAT test information
National Merit Scholarships PSAT/NMSQT

Note: Community colleges don't require the ACT or SAT, but most require on-campus Math and English placement tests.

Show Me the Money

College can be a pricy proposition, but there are a number of ways that students can obtain financial aid. The links below will help you explore some of the options.

Student Aid on the Web
California Student Aid Commission
California Chafee Grants for Foster Youth
FAFSA: Free application for federal student aid
Sallie Mae College Answer financial aid tools
Fin Aid Guide to financial aid
College Board financial aid tool
The Campaign for College Opportunity
Latino College Dollars
Federal Student Aid Gateway
Resources in Spanish
United Negro College Fund
Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

A Final Word

Your school counselor is an excellent source of good information on all of the above topics. Be sure to use your time with your counselor wisely to gain all the information you need to continue your education. And don’t forget to visit your local public library reference desk, another good source of information.