Open vision bar
10th grade Checklist

10th Grade Checklist
To Do:
  • Meet with your school counselor or mentor to discuss colleges and their requirements.
  • Consider taking a practice Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) or the PLAN exam.
  • Plan to use your summer wisely: Work, volunteer, or take a summer course (away or at a local college).
  • Go to career information events to get a more detailed look at career options.
  • Log on to your MyFSA account at and try the Career Finder, or look at your career search results again if you used the Career Finder last year. Then include the recommended majors from the search as you use the College Matching Wizard on the site to find schools that might be a good fit with your interests and goals.
  • Work with one of your parents to update your information in FAFSA4caster at, and continue to save for college.
  • Take challenging classes in core academic subjects. Most colleges require 4 years of English, at least 3 years of social studies (history, civics, geography, economics, etc.), 3 years of mathematics, and 3 years of science, and many require 2 years of a foreign language. Round out your course load with classes in computer science and the arts.
  • Stay involved in school- or community-based activities that interest you or let you explore career interests. Consider working or volunteering. Remember—it’s quality (not quantity) that counts.
  • Talk to your school counselor and other mentors about education after high school. Your counselor can answer questions about what classes to take in high school, how to sign up for standardized tests, and where to get money for college.
To Do:
  • Find out whether your child’s school has college nights or financial aid nights. Plan to attend those events with your child.
  • Help your child develop independence by encouraging him or her to take responsibility for balancing homework with any other activities or a part-time job.
  • Learn about the standardized tests your child will be taking during 10th through 12th grades: the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT Reasoning Test and SAT Subject Tests (see, and/or the PLAN exam and the ACT (see
  • Get a brief overview of financial aid from Financial Aid and Scholarships for College.
  • Continue to talk to your child about college plans as if he or she will definitely go to college.
  • Keep an eye on your child’s study habits and grades— stay involved.
  • Encourage your child to take Advanced Placement or other challenging classes.
  • Watch videos for parents on the “News Parents Can Use” page at
  • Add to your child’s college savings account regularly.
To Explore:
  • Check out KnowHow2Go: The Four Steps to College, which suggests some actions you can take as you start thinking about education beyond high school. The online version of the brochure is at
  • Learn the differences between grants, loans, work-study, and scholarships at
  • Get answers to common questions about college: Read the “college q&a question of the week” at
  • Address your concerns about whether your child can or should go to college in the “parents/family” section of