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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
  • Earn scholarship money for classes you take, activities you are involved in, and events you attend. Visit Raise.Me, create or update your account and earn scholarship money. 
  • Prepare for college and career with the ICAN Tip of the Week; sign up at
  • 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 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.  
  • Check out the ICAN Career & College Corner blog for some real advice from ICAN Advisors.

October Tips

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
  • 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

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 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.
  • Update your Raise.Me account to earn additional scholarship dollars. 

February Tips

March Tips

  • Visit 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 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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