It is extremely important to start thinking about career and college planning during the freshman year of high school. Some important career and college planning suggestions for freshmen, sophomores, and parents to consider are the following:

Maintain good grades. Consistently maintaining good grades throughout high school is necessary for colleges to consider a student for admission. Grades must continue to be satisfactory throughout the senior year, or an acceptance can be revoked. Colleges want to see improvement throughout high school. If a student starts high school with low or poor grades and then he or she shows improvement during high school, colleges will view that as a sign of student maturity and sincere realization of educational goals.

Discover career interests. Discuss possible career pathways with a career counselor by utilizing career interest inventories. Some possible websites to investigate are ,, and Career shadowing is also a wonderful way to learn about various careers. There are various requirements, including age at certain shadow sites.

Create a resume. A high school resume should include educational background, school activities, volunteer service in the community, awards and recognition, hobbies, work experience, and college and career goals. Colleges are looking for commitment, leadership, and dedication to extracurricular activities—not the quantity of activities, but rather the quality of involvement is important.

Be organized from the beginning of high school. Keep a planner with due dates for upcoming tests, assignments, and projects. The student should always allow a two week window for planning and meeting deadlines. This will also work when completing college and scholarship application requirements.

Research your choices thoroughly. It is never too early to start researching colleges. Research which is done early and with no pressure can help immensely. Any opportunities which exist for freshmen and sophomores to attend college information sessions, college visits, college fairs, or special year-long or summer programs at colleges or other educational facilities are highly recommended. Thoroughly researching colleges will allow freshmen and sophomores to plan effectively and accurately for admissions tests requirements, high school course selection, financial aid, and scholarships.

Learn about College Admissions/Placement Testing Options. Freshmen and sophomores should learn about the PSAT, SAT I and II, ACT, and AP tests. By researching college requirements, students will find out what tests are required for admission or placement. Students should never take standardized college admissions tests without serious preparation. Check out and for additional information.
Pay for Higher Education. When researching colleges, students and families must consider cost. Just because a college sticker price may seem out of reach, it should not be removed from the student’s college list. Financial aid and scholarships are available from many sources to help fund a post-secondary education. It is essential for students and parents to attend a financial aid workshop to get a basic understanding of the process. Some websites for financial aid and scholarships include:,,,, and the smart phone app, Scholly.

Read and Write often. It is so necessary to read and write as frequently as one is able. Practicing writing skills and being well read will help the freshmen and sophomores to develop their writing skills for future college essays.

The best part of starting career and college planning early is that it can be enjoyable and stress-free. Having awareness and a good understanding about all of the options will help students to make the best choices when the time comes.

NEPA Career and College Counseling Associates – Excellence in Career and College Preparation – is available to help high school, college, and adult students find their ideal careers and college majors. Services include aiding in the college admissions process, arranging career shadow experiences, advising students on college admissions testing, resumes, essays, summer programs, financial aid and scholarships.
Contact Jennifer Severini-Kresock, an experienced private career and college counselor, at (570) 702-5700 or for more information on this article and on her career and college preparation services.

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