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Sophomore Tips

August Tips

  • Visit an ICAN Center and work on your career and college plan with a Student Success Advisor. Call (877) 272-4692 or visit ICANsucceed.org/apt
  • Prepare for college and career with the ICAN Tip of the Week; sign up at ICANsucceed.org/signup.
  • Find a mentor that can assist you through high school and the college process, such as a teacher, parent, family member, or family friend. 

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 ICANsucceed.org/goldencircle for details.
  • Consider taking the PLAN® (a pre-ACT® test) or the PSAT/NMSQT® (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) as practice for the actual college entrance exams.  

October Tips

  • Talk with your parents about your college and career goals and how to attain them, including a plan to cover college costs. Start analyzing your Return on College Investment, a tool that helps compare careers and costs.
  • Have you attended a college fair yet? Visit ICANsucceed.org/collegefairs to learn more about these events.
  • Visit myACT.org and take or update your career assessment. Use the results to help plan your high school courses and activities.
  • Get involved!  Find an activity at your school or in your community that you enjoy.  

November Tips

  • Are you preparing to pay for college? Start talking to your parents now. Read about tuition and other college costs at colleges and universities in Iowa. 
  • Talk to family members, friends, teachers, counselors, and coaches about their college experiences. 
  • Keep a record of your extracurricular involvement in an activities resume — a concise summary of your achievements, talents and interests.
  • What subjects do you like in school?  To search for careers related to those subjects, visit myACT.org.
  • Take advantage and meet with college representatives visiting your high school. 
  • It's not too early to start thinking about how to impress potential employers. Learn about developing the skills employers want today

December Tips

  • College can be affordable!  Don’t let the “sticker price” scare you. With financial aid and planning you can help ensure your out-of-pocket costs are manageable. Visit with an ICAN advisor and evaluate your college list to see what fits your goals and is affordable for you.  Use a budget calculator or download the in-school budget worksheet.
  • Talk to your school counselor about college admission requirements and make sure you take the right classes. 
  • Education after high school doesn’t have to include a four-year degree.  Find out more about apprenticeships, certificate programs, two-year degrees, and other programs here.
  • Think about volunteering during your holiday break. Check out the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service for a list of options at www.volunteeriowa.org. Be sure to log your volunteer work in your activities resume.

January Tips

  • Happy New Year! Get off to a great start by looking at your study habits. What's working for you? What isn't? Make a study schedule and stick to it.
  • Schedule an advising session at your local ICAN Center by visiting ICANsucceed.org/apt. Talk with a Student Success Advisor about your future and develop a plan for success.
  • Become familiar with the types of financial aid available for college.  Financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work-study and loans.  Grants and scholarships don’t have to be paid back.  Work-study enables students to earn money by working.  Loans must be repaid.
  • Review your financial plan for college and make sure it aligns with your career assessment and salary options. 

February Tips

  • Begin thinking about college majors.  Which majors match your skills and interests?  Spend 15 minutes on a career assessment at ACT Profile.org,  an online tool that can help you find the career pathway that is right for you.
  • Saving money is the best way to prepare for the cost of a college education. Check out ICANsucceed.org/payforcollege for information on paying for college.
    Attend an ICAN career and college planning night this spring. Visit ICANsucceed.org/calendar for events at your school or near you. 
  • If you're an athlete hoping to play sports in college, it's important to begin planning. Learn about the requirements for competing in college athletics here.

March Tips

  • Visit ICANsucceed.org/collegefairs for information on Iowa college fairs.
  • Do you know people who work in a job related to your career interest?  Interview them about the educational requirements and what they like most about their work. 
  • Check the status of your College Savings Plans and keep putting money away for college.
  • If your family is planning a summer vacation, try to visit a few college campuses along the way.

April Tips

  • Meet with your school counselor to ensure your junior classes meet college admission requirements. 
  • Get a taste of a future career through job shadowing, volunteer work, or an internship. Your school counselor can help connect you to a career-exploration opportunity.
  • If you have specific majors in mind, talk with an ICAN advisor to explore which schools offer those programs. Schedule an appointment with ICAN.

May Tips

  • Check with your school counselor to see if AP® (Advanced Placement) classes will fit into your schedule.  Challenging courses in high school can better prepare you for college.
  • Ask your school counselor if there are any summer camp programs you could attend to help get you ahead.
    Look for a summer job that’s related to your interests.  Be sure to save some of your summer earnings for college. 

June Tips

  • Compare several careers.  Consider the required education or training, tasks that have to be performed, starting salary, and the characteristics that appeal to you most.  Visit 
    ICANsucceed.org/careers for links to career research tools
    .
  • Start a summer reading list.  Try reading books that will help increase your vocabulary. 
  • Participate in hobbies and activities that enable you to explore your career interests. 

July Tips

  • Are you attending summer camp on a college campus?  If so, take a look around to see if you could imagine attending the school.
  • Talk to your parents about college expenses and make a plan to cover them.
  • Stay in touch with teachers, school counselors, coaches, and community members.  Later you may ask them to write letters of recommendation for scholarship and/or college admission applications.

 

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