- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.