"Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps make elusive dreams come true."

—Geoffrey Fisher

The road to college begins far earlier than many people think...


College admissions evaluate applications more and more critically each year. Your college acceptances may depend on coursework from as early as your middle school years—in classes that count toward graduation requirements—and definitely by your 9th grade year.

Below are important guidelines for middle school and each year of high school to maximize your chance of acceptance and success at the colleges/universities you are interested in.


• Aim for good grades, especially in English and Math courses.
• Learn a language other than English starting in the 7th grade.
• Explore summer programs that develop your interests and reinforce skills.
• Check into options for saving/paying for college.
• Develop time management and organizational skills.
• Get a head start on community service and extra-curricular activities.
• Attend school workshops on planning for college.
• Meet with your Counselor to plan your high school schedule. 

California State University 6th-10th Grade Recommendations

California State University 11th-12th Grade Recommendations


• Develop strong study skills
• Become aware of your school’s course offerings

• Take advantage of free PSAT practice tests
• Take challenging courses offered by your school or look at community college classes
• Meet with your counselor to discuss your course selections
• Attend college fairs and open houses; continue through senior year
• Explore summer programs that develop your interest and reinforce skills
• Prepare for upcoming PSAT over the summer
• Search for colleges that match your interests and preferences and attend college fairs and college visits to your school


Junior Year Timeline - PDF Step-by-Step Guide with clickable links to resources


Senior Year Timeline - Step-by-Step Guide with clickable links to resources

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