Grade-by-Grade Checklist

What should you be doing now to prepare for college?

The earlier you start thinking about college, the better. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to college, a fulfilling career path, and a rewarding life. Find your grade in the list below and discover what you should be doing each year in high school to be ready for college.

TIP: You can begin applying for some scholarships in 8th grade (or earlier). Look around, see what you might be eligible for — and apply!

9th Grade:

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? Take the “Reality Check” and “Strength Finder” at UtahFutures.org.
  • Sign up to be a Utah Scholar.
  • Plan to take the right classes throughout high school to be ready for college.
  • Join school clubs, after school programs, and look for volunteer opportunities. Exploring different programs and opportunities can help you discover what you enjoy. Being involved in a variety of activities will also make you a stronger candidate when you apply for college.
  • Look for scholarships. Search websites such as UtahFutures.org and collegeboard.org. Look in your community and check with your parents’ work. Many scholarships can be put on hold until you’re ready to start college, so it’s never too early to apply. Use the scholarship tool kit to help you successfully apply for scholarships.
  • Go to the Regents’ Scholarship page, and learn which classes you need to take to qualify for a state scholarship, and develop a four-year high school plan.

10th Grade:

  • Plan to take the right classes throughout high school to be ready for college.
  • Make sure you’ll take Math III by the end of 11th grade.
  • Learn about classes such as such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB)*, and Concurrent Enrollment (CE). Talk to your high school counselor for more information. *IB is not offered at all high schools. Check with your school counselor.
  • Visit UtahMajors.org to research different college majors and the careers they could prepare you for.
  • Talk to teachers, your school counselor, friends, family, and neighbors in your community who have attended college about their college experiences: what did they like about it, what they found challenging, and what advice they can give you.
  • Look for scholarships. Search websites such as UtahFutures.org and collegeboard.org. Look in your community and check with your parents’ work. Many scholarships can be put on hold until you’re ready to start college, so it’s never too early to apply. Use the scholarship tool kit to help you successfully apply for scholarships.
  • Make sure you’re on track for the Regents’ Scholarship. Update your four-year plan.

11th Grade:

  • Plan to take the right classes throughout high school to be ready for college.
  • Sign up for classes that stretch your mind such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB)*, and Concurrent Enrollment (CE). Talk to your high school counselor for more information. *IB is not offered at all high schools. Check with your school counselor.
    • See if you can complete your college math requirements through Concurrent Enrollment while still in high school. Pick the right math class for your future.
  • Take the ACT in the spring. Aim for a score of 26 or higher. If you don’t like your score, plan to take it again. Get free ACT prep resources and take free practice tests at UtahFutures.org.
  • Talk to your school counselor. Tell then what colleges you’re thinking about applying to. Ask for more information and their help mapping out a plan for you to get there.
    • Learn about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that you’ll fill out when you’re in 12th grade at fafsa.gov. Submitting a FAFSA is the only way to receive financial aid such as grants, work-study, and federal student loans. IF YOU DON’T FILE THE FAFSA, YOU COULD BE LOSING OUT ON FREE MONEY FOR COLLEGE!
  • Use the FAFSA4CAster to see how much financial aid you could get to help for for college at fafsa.gov.
  • Look for scholarships. Search websites such as UtahFutures.org and collegeboard.org. Look in your community and check with your parents’ work. Many scholarships can be put on hold until you’re ready to start college, so it’s never too early to apply. Use the scholarship tool kit to help you successfully apply for scholarships.
  • Make sure you’re on track for the Regents’ Scholarship if you’re pursuing it. Stay in touch with them.

12th Grade:

Fall

  • Work on your math for college by taking the right math class for your future career. Talk to your school counselor for more information.
  • Retake the ACT as early as possible if you want to improve your score.
  • Apply for college the fall of your senior year. Check to make sure you meet the college application deadlines, and participate in your school’s Utah College Application Week.
  • File your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as October at fafsa.gov to see what types of financial aid you could get to help pay for college. Types of financial aid you could qualify for are grants, work-study, and federal student loans. IF YOU DON’T FILE THE FAFSA, YOU COULD BE LOSING OUT ON FREE MONEY FOR COLLEGE!
    • Get help completing the FAFSA by attending a FAFSA Completion Open House. Find one near you.
  • Apply for the Regents’ Scholarship, if your pursuing it. Check deadlines.

Spring

  • Visit any colleges you’ve been accepted to, and ask about First Year Experience programs.
  • May is Utah College Decision Month. Your college may have a deadline for students to make a final decision about what college they will attend and send in a deposit to hold their place.
  • Sign up for orientation at your college.
  • Once you graduate, send in your final high school transcripts (your official high school records) for college applications and some scholarships. Check with your college to make sure you don’t miss any important documents or deadlines.

Be ready for college. Take the right classes.

Begin building a strong academic foundation by taking the right courses in high school.

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Regents‘ Scholarship

The Regents’ Scholarship encourages Utah high school students to prepare for college.

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Degrees, Certificates & Majors

Learn the type of education you’ll need to follow your dreams.

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Paying for College

With many funding options available in the form of scholarships, grants, and more — you CAN go to college.

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Tales from the financial aid couch

Watch new & useful financial aid tidbits from our professionals each month.

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Applying To College

Start applying to college in October or November of your senior year.

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Glossary

While preparing for college, you’ll come across new terms and acronyms galore. Use this glossary to become fluent in college speak.

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