College Planning

Make the Most of Your Summer: Tips to Plan for College

Summer is here, so you might have extra time to think and plan for life after high school, particularly if you’re a rising senior. Choosing where you want to apply to college or a major or career you may want to pursue are big decisions. The good news is that you know yourself and your strengths and interests better than anyone.

BigFuture has several tools to help with your college and career planning no matter where you are in your journey. Remember, when planning for your future, one of the most important things is to consider what makes you happy and what you’re passionate about. Start your planning process by setting clear priorities for what you want to achieve in the next few years.  

Here are some steps to take to help you make the most of your summer and think about what’s next.


Explore future careers based on your passions and interests with Career Search.

Not sure what you want to do after high school. Start with Career Search on BigFuture. Learn about all different kinds of career paths, what they pay, if they’re hiring, and the education and skills needed to pursue that kind of career.


Class of 2023: Earn BigFuture Scholarships

BigFuture guides students like you through the college planning process and offers you a chance to earn $40,000 or $500 for college for each action you complete. You’re already working so hard to get into college, so why not earn scholarship opportunities along the way?

Watch this video to get an overview of the program here:

Start earning scholarships here.


Visit these websites for a wide range of college and career planning resources.

These are simple steps you can take to help you plan:

  1. Create a college list on BigFuture: Rising seniors can be eligible for a $40,000 or $500 scholarship by adding six or more colleges to their list. Make sure you have a mix of reach, match, and safety schools. Learn more here.
  2. Prepare for the FAFSA: Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is the gateway to federal financial aid, as well as state and institutional aid. To get started, rising seniors will need to create an FSA ID to access the Federal Student Aid’s online system. This ID, composed of a username and password, will become your online identifier for all federal student aid programs. This is a great step to take over the summer so you’re ready to complete the FAFSA soon after it opens on October 1. Note that your parent will need to create a separate FSA ID to sign and submit the FAFSA.

For more information on how to complete the FAFSA, along with what information you need, visit the Filling out the FAFSA page on the Federal Student Aid’s website. You can also access this free FAFSA assistance chatbot to get help with specific questions about creating your FSA ID and filling out the FAFSA here.

No matter what point you are at in your college and career planning process, BigFuture has something for everyone:

New to BigFuture? Watch this video to find out how to make a plan for life after high school.

Be sure to regularly check out the College Board Student Blog for more resources and tips like “5 Ways to Tour Colleges at Home” and “What is a Test-Optional College?." We know planning for the future can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to help. For more timely updates and tips, follow us on Instagram @collegeboard and TikTok.