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Junior Tips

August Tips

  • Learn about college fairs and events in your area.  Visit and 
  • Keep your grades up.  Colleges look at your overall GPA through all four years of high school. 
  • Review your college savings plan; start saving money if you haven’t already done so. 
  • Learn about careers that interest you with an assessment at
  • Talk to your parents and your school counselor about careers and colleges that interest you. 
  • Prepare for college and career with the ICAN Tip of the Week; sign up at

September Tips

  • Attend the Golden Circle College & Career Fair — Iowa’s largest — at the Center for Higher Education in Des Moines the last Sunday in September.  Talk with Iowa employers, colleges & universities from across the country, and attend breakout sessions. Visit for details.
  • Register for the PSAT/NMSQT,® a two-part exam similar to the SAT. ®  Scores are used to determine National Merit Scholars. 
  • Determine what factors are important to you in a college. Go to for information on choosing a college. 
  • If you’re planning to play college sports, learn about the eligibility requirements here.

October Tips

  • Schedule a planning session at your local ICAN Student Success Center. Visit or call (877) 272-4692 to set up an appointment for career, college, or financial aid advising. 
  • Attend a college fair and talk with college representatives to start researching potential colleges.  Visit
  • Find information about Iowa colleges at Request information from colleges that interest you.
  • Visit with your school counselor to discuss ways to increase your chances of being admitted to the college of your dreams. 
  • If interested, research military education benefits.

November Tips

  • Review brochures and catalogs from colleges that interest you.  Make a list of 10 to 15 colleges that fit your requirements, including careers.
  • Download the College Checklist to stay organized.
  • Start planning to take the SAT ® or ACT® exams, if required.  Familiarize yourself with registration deadlines and test dates.  Check colleges’ entrance requirements to see which test(s) you need to take.  Take advantage of online test preparation resources such as practice exams and study guides.

December Tips

  • Research scholarships.  Keep an ongoing file of scholarship and financial aid information (such as criteria, amounts, contact persons and deadlines). Check out for free scholarship searches. Avoid scholarship searches that charge fees. 
  • Meet with college representatives at your school and keep looking at colleges online.
  • Register now if you’re planning to take the January SAT® or February ACT®.  
  • Visit for test prep tools and resources. Begin to research scholarships. Learn about selection criteria and what's required to apply. Find a list of scholarship searches.
  • Consider volunteering during your holiday break. Check out the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service for a list of options at Be sure to log your volunteer work in your activities resume.

January Tips

  • Happy New Year! Start it off right by scheduling campus visits to the top three to five colleges on your list.
  • Schedule a visit with ICAN at
  • Build a list of colleges to consider. Use online college match tools such as or to find the best fit and compare financial aid estimates. Schedule visits to the colleges that fit your profile.
  • Register now to take the March SAT®.  Pick up a study guide or review online resources. 
  • Prepare for the financial aid process; attend an ICAN seminar this spring.  Visit for dates and times.
  • Get involved. Colleges seek well-rounded students who not only get good grades, but who are also involved in school activities or community organizations.

February Tips

  • Determine a college budget based on salary expectations for your chosen career or industry. Visit to learn about starting salaries and begin your budget planning with ICAN.
  • Make sure you enroll in senior classes that fulfill the credits you need for college or help you prepare skills for your future career. 
  • Put together a resume listing your activities, volunteer experiences, academic achievements and employment. 
  • Register now if you plan to take the April ACT®. Visit for test prep tools and resources.
  • Talk to your school counselor about AP® courses and CLEP® tests.  Consider taking honors or college-level classes.

March Tips

  • It’s time to schedule college visits.  Revisit your career assessment results and schedule visits with schools that meet your career and budget needs. During each college visit, meet with the admissions and  financial aid offices. Download a helpful checklist to plan your visit.
  • Find out about scholarships offered by your place of worship, civic, and business groups in career fields that interest you.  Continue your search.
  • If you plan to take the May SAT® register now. Visit for test prep tools and resources.
  • Check out your Return on College Investment using this free online tool.

April Tips

  • If you take AP courses, consider AP exams. 
  • When visiting colleges take notes to help you determine your likes and dislikes, and highlight what is most important to you. Download the Campus Visits worksheet for questions to ask and departments. 
  • Once you visit, compare your impressions of each college and rank them according to preference. 
  • Register now for the June ACT® or SAT®.
  • Take notes and compare your thoughts on each college after your visit. For help with this, use the College Checklist chart. (PDF)
  • Have questions? Schedule an appointment with ICAN - All of ICAN's services are offered at no cost to you! 

May Tips

  • Narrow your college choices to five or fewer and highlight the important features at each.  Make a second visit if necessary.
  • If applicable, try to take AP® (Advanced Placement) exams while information is fresh in your mind. Check with your counselor for more information.
  • Consider taking a summer course at a local college. 
  • Find a summer job related to your career interest or do community service. 
  • Polish your resume; if required, assemble writing samples, a portfolio, or audition DVD. 

June Tips

  • Schedule campus visits for colleges you haven’t seen yet.
  • Begin completing private scholarship applications. Find Iowa scholarship opportunities and links to searches, as well as tips for essay writing, on the ICAN website.
  • Save your summer earnings to pay for college. 
  • Serve your community — grades aren’t the only thing colleges evaluate. 
  • Prospective student athletes:  Ask your school counselor to send an official transcript to the NCAA Eligibility Center.

July Tips

  • Get ready for your senior year! Start thinking about how to manage your time. Remember that you should focus on keeping your grades up, filling out applications and selecting a college despite the distractions. 
  • Think about which teachers, employers or other adults you'll ask to write letters of recommendation. Ask for letters at least two weeks before you need them. Plan to ask at the very beginning of the school year.
  • Polish your resume, and if needed, get together writing samples, portfolios or audition tapes.
  • Obtain and review college admission applications.
    Create a spending plan.  It’s easy to get in over your head.  Talk with your parents to consider your options or learn more at


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