Getting ready for college or career school can be easier than you think.

Start by defining your goals and interests, understanding college costs, and planning financially and academically.

Prepare for College

Thinking about college, career, technical, or trade school, or graduate school? There’s so much to consider when it comes to getting ready for college: where to go, what to study, how to apply, how to pay for it all, and more. 

It’s never too early—or too late—to explore your options for college or career school. We’ll walk through some key steps in preparing for college and provide resources that can help you along the way. You’ll have to take the time to research and understand your options, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’re  here to help! 

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College Preparation Checklist—Helps students (elementary, middle, and high school), as well as adults and parents prepare financially and academically for college.

Why Go to College or Career School?

Here’s a simple equation: a college or career school education = more money, more job options, and more freedom. As you’ll see from the chart below, as you get more education, you’ll make more money and have more job opportunities.

image/chart showing average earnings and based on level of education

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A college education is a long-term investment. With careful planning, you can find the school and funding options that work best for your situation and put you on the path to success.

Exploring Your Career Options

A college or career school education can give you the skills needed to pursue a career that really interests you. Love working with animals? Or how about computers? Find possible careers to match your interests.

Checklists to Help You Get Ready Financially and Academically

Whether you’re in high school now, in elementary or middle school, out of school, or perhaps never finished school, there are a number of steps you can take to get “college ready." Our checklists will walk you through the steps you can take to find and get into the college or career school that’s right for you and to get ready to pay. Review our checklists now!

Choosing a School

You have a variety of college options, from two-year community and junior colleges, to four-year colleges and universities, to technical, vocational, and trade schools. Get tips on things to consider when you’re choosing a school, and use our free college search tool to find a school that matches your interests, career goals, and financial situation.

Taking Required Tests

You may be required to take certain tests when you apply to college or graduate school. 

Applying to Schools

Each college, career school, or graduate school has its own admission requirements. We provide some tips and information as you get ready to apply to school.

Learning About Budgeting

Learn what a budget is and how it can help you stay on track with your goals during and after college. 

Finding Help

Need to talk to someone? Want to find more resources in your community? While we offer free resources and help, there are other people and organizations that also can support you as you prepare for college. Explore ways to find help.