By Maureen Brakke

Where did the time go? Or has it felt like it’s taken forever to get to 2017? Either way, this school year is almost over! Four months left. Did you accomplish your 2016 goals? Did you learn more about what you should do to prepare for college? Do you think it’s “too early” to worry about college? By the way, it’s not.

Here are some things you can do the last four months of the school you that’ll help you be a more successful high school student and prepare for college.

  • Are you on track for college? Check to see if you’re taking the right classes to be ready for college. If you’re not, make sure you’ll be taking the right classes in summer school, or starting this fall.
  • Learn about taking college classes in high school. You can start taking Concurrent Enrollment classes, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes typically starting your junior year in high school. Many of these classes can count towards your general education requirements for college, and could save you money in college tuition. Meet with your school counselor to find out more information.
  • Volunteer in your community. Giving back to your community can give you the “fuzzy feel goods” and also help you look good when applying for scholarships and to colleges. Find volunteer opportunities that work with your schedule at UServeUtah.
  • Sign up to be a Utah Scholar. It’s not too late. Even if you’re a senior in high school, check out the tasks you have to complete to be a Utah Scholar. When you graduate high school, you could receive the Utah Scholars Recognition at graduation, which will look good to scholarships and colleges (and to friends and family!).
  • Create or update your resume. If you’ve not created your resume, do it now. When you apply for scholarships and colleges, they’ll want a resume which lists all your academic and non-academic accomplishments, places you’ve volunteered, worked at, etc. Use this template to get started.
  • Visit college campuses this spring. Visit colleges you’re interested in or have been accepted to. Ask good questions that’ll help you learn more about the college when you’re visiting.
  • Estimate how much college will cost. Use the net price calculator to estimate how much college will cost you.
  • Learn about financial aid for college. Learn about the different types of financial aid and use the FAFSA4Caster to estimate you much you could receive in aid for college.
    • If you’re a high school senior, file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if you haven’t already. This will tell you how much you could qualify for in financial aid for college.

Maureen is a communications specialist with the Utah System of Higher Education. She also manages StepUpUtah.com, and formerly worked as a financial aid and college prep outreach officer with UHEAA. You can find her on Twitter @BrakM30