Project Opportunity: Access to Washington's Colleges'

“I thrived in smaller classrooms where I am not afraid to ask questions during lecture, and have found that all of my professors are easily accessible during their office hours.”

— Alana Hagney
University of Puget Sound


For Sophomores

Talk with your guidance counselor:

  • Make sure they know that you plan to apply for college.
  • Check to make sure you are still on track with the courses you plan to take to prepare for college.
  • Find out if there are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses you could take for potential college credit. Remember, not all colleges accept these credits, so you'll have to make sure that your college does. Even if the college won't accept the credit, it is a great way to challenge yourself and will look great on your transcript.
  • Ask for help finding community service, leadership, school, and extra curricular activities to enhance your resume. These extra things are often what make you stand out to college admissions officers and to scholarship committees. Not only that, extracurricular activities personally enrich you as well.
  • Learn about the Running Start program and consider whether it would be a good choice for you. This program is not a good choice for all students. Not all colleges accept the credit towards college graduation requirements. Talk with your counselor about whether this option is the right one for you.
  • Sign up to take the PSAT/NMSQT and/or ACT PLAN.
  • Contact the colleges you're interested in. Get on their lists to start receiving information.

Talk with your family:

  • Make sure they know that you'd like to go to college after high school.
  • Ask for help preparing and studying for standardized tests.
  • Paying for college is an important investment; you should have a conversation about how you plan to pay for college. There are many funding options.
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Start thinking about college and careers:

  • Evaluate your skills, talents, and interests.
  • Explore occupations, salaries, and requirements. If you're curious about what jobs are in demand right now and would be more likely to provide you with a good living and job security, CareerOneStop is a good source of information.
  • Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook for an easy way to find out what different jobs require in terms of training and college.

Get Organized:

  • Start a file of college related things:
    • Begin collecting financial aid information.
    • Consider the personality of the college you want to go to.
    • College information: view books, application requirements etc.
    • Visit a college close to you to get a feeling for what college can be like.
    • Build your portfolio for scholarships. You might want to include these materials in your resume as well:
      • Awards
      • Letters of recognition and recommendation
      • Programs from concerts, plays, or other events you participated in to be included on your resume
      • Announcements for community service activities you participated in
      • Pictures of events, projects, activities
      • Examples of creative writing, artwork, or other school project
    • Think about how you appear to colleges over the internet. Remember that colleges and employers may look at Myspace, Facebook and other online profiles. If your page contains inappropriate material, either clean it out or set it to private. Also make sure you're using an e-mail address that reflects well on you.

    If you want some more resources for getting ready for college look at Gear Up and the College is Possible site. Both these sites have lots of valuable information. And remember you can always contact college admission and financial aid offices and ask whatever questions you might have.

Funded in part by a grant from
the Ben B. Cheney Foundation
published by Independent Colleges of Washington