Getting Ready – 10th Grade Checklist
Find and Keep in Touch with a Mentor
- Talk to someone – your parents, a teacher, a counselor, someone from church, a coach – about your desire to go to college. They can support you and help you take the steps to get there.
- Continue talking to your high school counselor, your family, and your friends about your plans for the future.
Classes and Tests
Update your college file at the end of each grading period with items such as:
- Copies of your report card
- A list of awards and honors you received
- A list of community organizations and clubs you join, including dates of participation and any offices you held
- A list of paid and volunteer jobs you have held
- Letters of recommendation from adults who know you well (not family members)
- Take the challenging courses that will put you on track to be college-ready. These include challenging core courses (math, English, science, and social science) and the right electives (foreign language, computer, arts, etc.).
- Study hard and do well in school. Your grades will count toward college and will show up on your high school transcripts.
- At the end of the 10th grade year, select 11th grade courses that will keep you on track to be college-ready. These include Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in subjects where your excel.
- Take the PSAT/NMSQT and/or PLAN tests in the 10th grade if possible. They will help you place into AP or IB courses, and they are good practice for the ACT and SAT tests.
- Keep up your grades. Grades in high school are very important to some colleges.
- It is never too late to start saving for college. Even a small savings account will help.
- Talk to your parents about the MACS and MPACT programs.
- Start learning the specifics about different types of financial aid such as grants, scholarships, loans, and college work-study.
Career and College Prep
- Continue to take advantage of the online Choices program, offered through Mississippi’s public high schools. It offers a lot of useful career planning info. Good career planning leads to better college planning.
- Use the Internet to start exploring colleges through their websites and by signing up for their podcasts.
- Start attending college fairs in your area. College representatives come in and give away information about their colleges.
- Continue to think about the types of careers that interest you, and learn about the skills you’ll need to succeed in your choice career.
- Look for job shadowing opportunities.
- Begin the exploration process to learn about colleges in Mississippi – it’s not too early.
- Look for opportunities to visit different college or university campuses. Football games or other sporting events are fun. There also may be a play or art show you could attend.
Out of the Classroom
- Participate in music, art, clubs, sports, or other activities, and pursue leadership positions when possible. Extracurricular activities help you figure out what you do and don’t like. You’ll meet new people, learn new things, and develop skills in leadership and teamwork. They also make you a well-rounded person.
- Volunteer. Volunteering is not only a wonderful way to give back to the community, but volunteering gives you an avenue for exploring different types of work environments.
- Try to limit TV, video games, and computer time. Sounds like no fun, but your future successful self will thank you.
- Look into summer camps and other programs held at Mississippi colleges and universities. Being on a university campus is fun, and you’ll likely learn a lot about yourself.
- Begin visiting nearby colleges and universities that interest you with your family and friends. Call the admissions office in advance to schedule an appointment and/or college tour. Dress appropriately to make a good impression, and come with a list of questions you have about the college.
- Request catalogs from all of the colleges that interest you. Don’t worry if the colleges you like best seem expensive. You may be eligible for financial aid to help you with college costs.