Top 10 college planning tips from ACT’s student writers

Top 10 college planning tips from ACT’s student writers


IOWA CITY—If you’re in high school and would like a little advice about planning for college and a career, 10 high school and college student writers for ACT provide the following top 10 tips:

1. Work hard the entire four years of high school so you will be more appealing to colleges and have a better chance at earning scholarships.

2. Pursue college regardless of what your peers or even your parents say. Don’t let anyone talk you out of achieving your goals.

3. Treat your college entrance exam like a regular test, without all the pressure of thinking it will determine your college future. Colleges also consider your GPA and other factors.

4. If your parents didn’t go to college, check out early outreach and summer programs at nearby colleges to expose yourself to college life and career areas of interest.

5. When you make a college visit, set up a counseling session with a student or graduate. You can ask questions you are too scared to ask in a group.

6. Keep your options open, and apply to more than one or two colleges, both public and private schools.

7. When you choose your college major or career, begin by asking what really interests you. Many teens overlook this.

8. Talk to people working in careers that reflect your interests, and find out from them what the “real world” is like. What do they like and dislike about their jobs?

9. Make sure you like the people you’ll be going to school with—and that’s the whole institution, including students, alumni, parents, professors, officials—because they’re the ones who are going to be influencing and shaping you for the next four years.

10. Once in college, stay connected to the key elements of your identity—family, friends, interests—yet open yourself to new ideas, activities and social situations.

ACT features 10 high school and college student writers on its Web site to help other students plan their futures. The students write about staying motivated, searching for college, taking admissions tests, planning a career direction and being the first in your family to attend college. To read more, visit the student section at

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