Planning For College



We can help you plan for college.

Freshman and sophomore years

Begin collecting information that you will need to apply to college.

The college application process is much simpler if you start collecting and updating information when you begin high school. In an expandable file folder you should keep:

  1. Honors and awards you receive from school and community activities
  2. A record of organizations, clubs, volunteer work, and extracurricular activities you participate at school and in the community
  3. Records of employment
  4. Copies of class assignments, such as essays, poems, and projects
  5. A list of teachers, counselors, employers, clergy, and others who might write a letters of recommendation
  6. A list of scholarships for which you may qualify
  7. Information about particular colleges in which you are interested

Work on creating a college plan with your parents.

Begin discussing your options with your parents early in your high school career and involve them in college related activities such as college nights and fairs.

Begin or add to your college fund.

Save money from gifts and part-time and summer jobs to help with college expenses.

Build your study, organizational, and time management skills.

Improving these skills will help you in high school, college, and your career. Enroll in McLennan County CAP and receive free student planner!

Study hard and make good grades.

Colleges look closely at grades to determine if students will succeed in their program. Some, including Texas public colleges, automatically admit students who graduate in the top percentage of the class. Good grades also help you earn scholarships.

Visit with your guidance counselor each year to make sure your graduation plan is on track.

Your guidance counselor is a great resource for information about admission tests, college preparation, and education and career options.

Get to know your teachers.

Schedule private conferences with your teachers to get extra help, ask questions, inquire about careers, and talk about their college experiences.

Take classes that challenge you.

Colleges heavily consider honors, dual credit, and advanced placement classes when considering your application. These classes improve success on entrance exams, prepare you for college-level courses, and allow you to accrue college credits while still in high school.

Participate in extracurricular school and community activities.

Focus on a few extracurricular activities, seeking leadership positions when possible. These activities, including volunteering, are beneficial when applying for scholarships and to colleges because they demonstrate your interests, abilities, and accomplishments. The Pathways To Success Program is a great extracurricular activity that helps students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective leaders, volunteers, and employees. If you complete the year-long program, which includes forty-six hours of volunteer work, you will receive a $500 college scholarship and are eligible to be hired for VOICE spring break and summer programs!

Determine the type of education that best meets your future goals.

Research the types of institutions and varieties of degrees available to you after completing high school.

Research colleges to find a good match.

Attend information sessions and college fairs. Compare schools online. Review colleges’ websites and interact through their social media. Financial considerations are important, but location, campus climate, size of the student body, the ratio of faculty to students, and living facilities also matter.

Take college campus tours.

Tours can be taken virtually or you can contact a college’s admissions office and schedule a group or individual tour. A personal visit gives you the opportunity to talk to current college students and to experience college life such as attending class, eating in the dining hall, and staying in a dorm.

Prepare for the ACT and SAT.

Use online and hard copy resources to help you prepare for the tests. Attend test preparation classes, take online practice tests, and subscribe to ACT and SAT question of the day. Enroll in McLennan County CAP and receive free ACT and SAT study guides!

Take the PSAT.

Take the PSAT your sophomore year will give you a feel for the test format and timing.

“I am a first generation college student and CAP made sure that I was on the right path to furthering my education. I am so thankful that there is a program out there such as CAP!”

Keenya Brown
Participant, McLennan County CAP