College may seem like it’s an eternity away, but it will be here faster than you think!  You have only a few short years, depending on your current grade level, to prepare for the absolute biggest step you will ever take in your life.

Now is the time to start planning and thinking like a college student, and to explore your options for obtaining a college degree. High school gets you ready for college but your level of college readiness will depend on a multitude of different factors such as:

  • Are you enrolled in AP courses?
  • Are you taking dual credit courses?
  • Is your GPA strong? If not, is it improving?
  • Are you studying for the ACT?
  • If you have already taken the ACT, how well did you do on it? Do you need to re-take it?
  • Do you have a time management plan to juggle work and play?
  • How strong are your critical thinking skills?

All of these factors need to be taken into consideration. The more time you devote now to plan and research how to get ready for college the better you will perform when you get there. The information below is a great start to help you sort out what you need to do.

If you are a freshman, click here!
If you are a sophomore, click here!
If you are a junior, click here!
If you are a senior, click here!

Are you the kind of student that colleges are looking for? Click here to find out!

Source: Kentucky Department of Education
You need to take these classes if you plan to attend a four-year Kentucky public university.

Subject: Credits Required:
Language Arts 4 credits: English I, II, III, IV or AP English
Mathematics* 3 credits: Algebra I, Algebra II, geometry
Science 3 credits: to include life science, physical science and earth/space science (at least one lab course)
Social Studies 3 credits: U.S. history, economics, government, world geography and world civilization
Health 1/2 credit
Physical Education 1/2 credit
History and Appreciation of Visual and Performing Arts 1 credit history and appreciation of visual and performing arts or another arts course that incorporates such content or students may earn the credit for specialization in an art form
Foreign Language 2 credits or demonstrated competency
Electives 7 credits (5 rigorous)*
* Students must take math all four years of high school. The fourth math class can be counted as an elective.
** Rigorous electives should have academic content at least as challenging as the courses required in the minimum diploma requirements. Electives should be in social studies, science, math, language arts, arts and humanities, foreign language, and above the introductory level in agriculture, industrial technology, business, marketing, family and consumer sciences, health sciences, and technology education and career pathways, Electives in physical education and health are limited to one-half unit each.

Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA)

Preparing for college isn’t complicated, and it’s never too early or too late to plan for college. Regardless of what grade you’re in, you should always follow these guidelines:

  • Pay attention to dates and deadlines.
  • Improve your study skills.
  • Determine your learning style.
  • Improve your time management skills.
  • Improve your money management skills.
  • Sign up for KHEAA’s electronic newsletter, Your KHEAA College Connection.
  • Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive the latest college access and financial aid information.
  • Take advantage of the FREE college access products and services on the Internet.
Ninth-Grade Planner
  • Take the most challenging courses you can.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities and community volunteer work.
  • Get organized. Create a college access file for:
  • Copies of report cards.
  • Lists of awards and honors.
  • Descriptions of school and community activities, including paid and volunteer work.
  • Work hard in class. The grades you earn will be part of your final high school GPA and can earn you KEES money.
  • Register on for a MyKHEAA account and to receive the Your KHEAA College Connection newsletter.
  • Use the ILP to explore your interests and possible careers.

  • Attend any career days offered by your school or in your community.
  • Talk with your school counselor and parents about a plan that will prepare you for college.
  • Research college costs and talk with your parents about saving for college.

  • Meet with your school counselor to set your sophomore schedule. A tough course load may pay off with scholarships and help you get into the school of your choice.
  • Ask your counselor about Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Some schools offer them to sophomores.
  • Ask your counselor about International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if your school offers that program.

  • Continue to explore interests and careers.
  • Start thinking about the colleges you might like to attend. Use the matching assistant on to find the Kentucky schools that meet your requirements.

  • Check into summer enrichment programs in subjects that interest you.
  • Find out what a college atmosphere is like by attending a summer camp at a college near you.

  • Use your MyKHEAA account to check your KEES account and to make sure your personal information and GPA are correct. If you find an error, ask your counselor to have it corrected.

Tenth-Grade Planner
  • Discuss your college plans with your school counselor, parents or another trusted adult.
  • Review your transcript to make sure you’re on track to graduate and be admitted.
  • Use your ILP to check out career goals and interests.
  • Prepare for the PLAN test, which the state requires all public school sophomores to take.
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities and community volunteer work. Take leadership roles if possible.

  • Become familiar with general college admission requirements.
  • Work hard and develop good study habits. The better your grades, the more KEES money you can earn.
  • Make notes in your college access file about awards, accomplishments and volunteer work.

  • Start a file for information about schools you’re interested in attending, financial aid and campus life.
  • Read as many books as possible from a comprehensive reading list. It’s one of the best ways of preparing for the ACT and for college.

  • Work on your writing skills. No matter what you do in life, you’ll probably have to write.
  • Start thinking about financial aid. Review the Paying for College section on

  • Check out March 2 Success, a free website that can help you in language arts, mathematics, and science.
  • Write colleges to ask for their academic requirements for admission.

  • Sign up for challenging classes as a junior. It may help with scholarships and getting into the school of your choice.
  • Talk with your counselor about AP, IB and dual credit courses.
  • Continue to explore interests and careers that you think you might like.
  • Keep your grades up so you can have the highest GPA and class rank possible.

  • Begin zeroing in on the type of college you would prefer (two-year or four-year, small or large, rural or urban).
  • If you’re interested in a military academy, start planning and getting information.
  • Write colleges and ask for their academic requirements for admission.

  • Visit a few college campuses and attend college fairs.

  • Keep putting away money for college.
  • Consider a summer job. You can save money for college and maybe find out more about your career interests.

  • Keep learning all summer. Check with your counselor to see what summer classes are available in your area.
  • Chat with college students home for the summer, especially if they attend a college you’re considering.

Eleventh-Grade Planner
  • Discuss your college plans with your school counselor, parents or another trusted adult.
  • Review your transcript to make sure you’re on track to graduate and be admitted.
  • Check out March 2 Success, a free web site that can help you in language arts, mathematics, and science.
  • Talk about college cost, location, housing and other subjects with your parents.
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities and community volunteer work. Take leadership roles if possible.

  • Make a list of schools you’re interested in attending.
  • Start investigating sources of financial aid. Take note of deadlines and plan accordingly.
  • Visit college fairs, open houses and school’s web sites.

  • Take the PSAT. It’s good practice for the SAT and may qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship.
  • Consider taking ACT and SAT prep courses. Kentucky requires all juniors in public high schools to take the ACT.

  • Ask your counselor about the Governor’s Scholars Program.
  • If you live in the Fifth Congressional District, ask your counselor about the Rogers Scholars Program.

  • Keep checking out the colleges in which you’re interested.
  • Use Affording Higher Education and the Scholarship Search link on to search for scholarships. The sooner you start looking, the easier it will be to select some to apply to during your senior year.
  • Check out registration dates and times for the ACT and SAT if you want to take them in the spring.

  • Meet with your counselor to set your senior schedule. Don’t take easy classes.
  • Talk with your counselor about AP, IB and dual credit courses.
  • Talk with people who may be willing to write recommendations for scholarships and colleges. If they’re willing to help, give them a brief list of your academic, extracurricular and volunteer activities for reference.

  • Look for a summer job, internship or co-op. Summer employment and internships look good on a college application or résumé. The money you earn can help pay application and testing fees.
  • Plan campus visits for spring break.

  • Get ready for AP exams.
  • Work on your college admissions résumé, which highlights your high school accomplishments. It will help when you fill out applications, meet with interviewers, ask for recommendations and apply for scholarships.

  • Take AP exams.
  • The deadline to accept or decline a Governor’s Scholars appointment is usually early May.

  • Talk with college students home for the summer.
  • Check your KEES award, GPA and personal information through MyKHEAA

Twelfth-Grade Planner
  • Meet with your counselor to make sure you’re on track to meet graduation and admissions requirements.
  • Keep doing your best in your classes.
  • Narrow your list of schools and request admissions information from each.
  • Check out the catalog from each school you’re interested in. Most catalogs are online, or you can ask the school to send you one.
  • Request your personalized Getting the Facts – Your Personalized College Guide online through your MyKHEAA account.
  • Most early decision or early action admission deadlines are in October and November.
  • Create a college access calendar to track:
  • Test dates, fees and deadlines.
  • College application due dates.
  • Financial aid applications and deadlines.
  • Deadlines for requesting recommendation letters, transcripts and other necessary material. Ask people at least two weeks before you need them.
  • Register for the October SAT and/or ACT. You must take the ACT/SAT before you graduate from high school to qualify for a KEES bonus award.

  • Begin writing admissions essays. Ask a teacher or counselor to review and provide feedback.
  • Attend college fairs, visit colleges and meet with admission representatives.
  • Request recommendations from teachers, employers and counselors. Give each person your resume; a stamped, addressed envelope; and any required forms
  • Apply for early decision if that’s your plan.Keep copies of everything you send.

  • Use Affording Higher Education and the Scholarship Search link on to find scholarships. Apply for all scholarships for which you are eligible.
  • Complete any college essays you have to submit. Have a teacher or parent proofread for mistakes.
  • Make a list of your top choices and begin preparing applications.

  • Get your recommendation letters from your references and send them thank-you notes.
  • Finish and submit your college applications. Keep copies of everything you send.
  • Have your high school send transcripts to the colleges you selected.
  • Request your Federal Student Aid PIN at so you’re ready to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Jan. 1.

  • If you’re accepted for early decision, withdraw applications to other schools.
  • Gather information you need to file the FAFSA. Submit it as soon as possible after Jan. 1. The best way to file is online at
  • Complete any additional financial aid applications required by schools. Keep copies of everything you send.
  • Contact colleges to make sure they received your application.
  • Submit mid-year grade reports to schools that require them.

  • Register for the May SAT or April ACT. This may be your LAST CHANCE to earn your full KEES scholarship award.
  • Review college acceptance letters and compare financial aid offers.

  • Make your final choice. Send acceptance letters, any other documents and deposits to the school you chose.
  • Notify the schools you won’t be attending.
  • Request course descriptions and schedules from the school you have selected.
  • Review your Student Aid Report, which will tell you how much your family is expected to pay for your education. If any information is incorrect, make corrections online at
  • If selected for financial aid verification, provide documents to the college.

  • Confirm housing arrangements and send in any required deposits.
  • Take AP exams.

  • Submit scholarship acceptance forms.
  • Make sure you’ve returned all financial aid award notices.
  • Plan to attend freshman orientation and registration.

  • Make sure your final high school transcript is sent to the school you’ll attend.
  • Consider getting a summer job to help you pay some of your expenses.
  • Send thank-you notes to anyone who helped you during the application process.

  • Make a list of what you’ll need to take with you.
  • If you haven’t met your roommate, take time to get acquainted.
  • Check your school’s social media websites to connect with other students.

  • Make sure you have your housing documentation when you move into the dorm.
  • Review a campus map. Learn how to get around at your new school.
  • Buy your books and supplies after the first class meeting.
  • Work hard in your classes so your college career will be a success.