College Planning

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

As summer arrives, 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.

College Board 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.

Stay on track for college during coronavirus

We created websites for the class of 2020 and class of 2021 with resources to get ready for school in the fall, starting with six things you can do at home, whether you’re preparing for your first year of college or filling out your college applications. You can get up-to-date information and tips that can help you get started from home. Visit these pages to keep you on track for college and beyond:


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

We’ve partnered with Roadtrip Nation® to bring students Career Finder™, a personalized tool to help you figure out what career paths may be best for you based on what you love. Use this tool to create a plan for your future career path like recommending which classes to take and which skills to learn. Start exploring today!


Class of 2021: Sign up for the College Board Opportunity Scholarships.

The College Board Opportunity Scholarships program guides students like you through the college planning process and offers you a chance to earn money 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:

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 $500 scholarship by adding six or more colleges to their list through the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program. This is the first step of the College Board Opportunity Scholarships, and students must complete this scholarship by July 31 to remain eligible for the $40,000 Complete Your Journey scholarship.
  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 Start Planning for College with Big Future to find out how to get started on your path to college.  

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 “Tips for Making a College Decision During Coronavirus.” 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.