College Access Power Plan - High School - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN

College Access Power Plan - High School

The ICAN College Access Power Plan®, is a step-by-step guide of programs and resources to help you get ready for your future. Whether you're a freshman or a senior, or somewhere in between, there are steps you can be taking to secure a more successful future.

Without adding any extra pressure or stress, it is important for you to know that high school is the foundation for everything else. The ugly truth about high school is that every day counts, from the first day or your freshman year to the last day of your senior year. No matter what you want to do in life, it starts here.

Freshmen: Your freshman year is the beginning of everything, so it's a good idea to get started early and take high school seriously. You may not know what you want to do with your life, but you certainly don't want to limit yourself by not getting off to a good start.

Start Early

A successful transition to high school is the first step to success in College and in Life. Understanding the connection between success in high school and success after high school is important. Whether you're heading for a career or college, both take planning. Check out the section on succeeding in high school for more helpful information.

Freshmen: Consider attending an ICAN Freshman Transition presentation in the fall of your freshman year. You should also visit with your school counselor and discuss your course plan for high school. ICAN advisors are also available in the ICAN offices to help map out a success plan.

Study. Study. Study.
Grades matter all FOUR years! That's right, freshman through senior year.

Take your four-year planning sessions seriously. Your counselor can help you plan out the classes you need to be successful both in the employment field and through college admissions. Make sure you're taking the right courses and keeping your grades up. Whether it's an application for a job or admission to college, the decision-makers are looking for very similar qualities; good grades, tough classes, organizational skills, time management skills and the ability to work as a team and show initiative.

Sophomores: Consider attending an ICAN Career and College Planning presentation. An ICAN Student Success Advisor will go over all the things to think about when considering college, along with the college search and admission process and college expectations. Talk to your counselor or check our calendar to see when a presentation will be held at your school.

Ask Questions.
Talk to people and learn all you can about the future. Counselors, colleges AND your parents.

What do you want to do after high school? It's ok if you don't know, that's what school and different classes and activities will help you figure out. Consider researching careers, and exploring different colleges to find the right fit for you.

Save. Save. Save.
There's a lot of little things you need to learn in order to truly be money savvy. Start saving now for college and create good habits for the future. Understanding budgeting, credit reports and credit scores AND how student loans work is important before you go out on your own.

Juniors: Consider attending an ICAN Financial Aid presentation in the spring. An ICAN Student Success Advisor will explain the entire financial aid process and go over the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), answering any questions you have about financing a college education. Talk to your counselor or check our calendar to see when a presentation will be held at your school.

Seniors: Make plans to file your FAFSA after October 1. If you need assistance connect with an ICAN advisor by making an appointment at or by attending a FAFSA Ready Iowa event. Click here for a list of free FAFSA assistance events.

Be Responsible.
Being an adult means showing respect, planning ahead and taking responsibility for your future.

All the planning in the world won't help you be successful when you reach college unless you truly dedicate yourself to being successful. Self-discipline, time management, budgeting and common sense are just a few of the traits that you need to be successful on a college campus. In addition to taking the right classes, keeping your grades up and staying active in extra-curriculars, make sure you take some time to prepare yourself for life on campus.

Seniors: Consider attending an ICAN How to Succeed in College presentation at school. Talk to your counselor or check our calendar to see when a presentation will be held at your school. You can also download the How To Succeed Flier.

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