College Planning

How to Start Planning for College in 10th Grade

As you settle into your sophomore year, think about taking on new challenges to prep for college—this is a great time to do it.

Review the college checklist for ninth grade and use it as part of your college planning process:

Meet with your high school counselor

  • Schedule an appointment with your school counselor to make sure your course schedule is challenging enough to prepare you for college
  • Find out about the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)—it’s accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities and can help you get college credit, save money, and save time

Explore Advanced Placement Courses

  • Learn about the AP Program and how it can lead to college credit, advanced placement, or both at most colleges in the U.S. 
    • Consider which of the 38 AP courses you want to take next school year 
    • If you’re already enrolled in a course, be sure to register for AP Exams. Taking AP Exams helps you show colleges you’re committed and motivated to succeed. Check with your AP teacher or coordinator about your school’s registration deadline. 

Take the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10

If you’re thinking of attending a U.S. military academy

  • Request a precandidate questionnaire from an academy you’re interested in

Along with your family, research how to get financial aid

Inside the classroom

Attend college fairs or a campus tour

  • Attend at least one college fair and talk to representatives from colleges you may be interested in
  • If possible, visit a college nearby to see what campus life is like

Visit for more free, comprehensive college planning resources.