Consider subjects you do well in and enjoy. Talk to your parents, guidance counselor, and other adults about the careers that interest you. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/oco/) can also help you identify careers of interest. Research career options based on identified areas of interest using the many resources available in the Unlock My Future website.
Approach professionals and trades people with questions.
Find some family friends, friends of friends, friends of teachers, and leaders in the community who work in the careers that interest you. Ask them about their work. You will learn a lot about the careers that would best suit you. Become familiar with career opportunities available in Louisiana and learn about Louisiana businesses and industries using the Talent Connect feature in the Louisiana Connect website.
Make a list of important factors.
Think about what factors are the most important to you when considering your future college. Some examples are programs of study offered, school size, class size, city and neighborhood, campus culture, distance from home, extracurricular activities, religious affiliation, and cost of attendance.
Research colleges using the tools available in the Unlock My Future website.
Based on what you’ve learned about careers and your own interests, look for colleges with programs that can help you achieve your goals. Search for your program interests using online resources. Take note of which colleges offer the kinds of programs you want. Also, your high school’s guidance counseling office, teachers, library, and the public library will have materials to help you.
Look at your high school's graduation requirements and compare your credits. Make sure you will graduate on time. The easiest way to do so is by checking your Individual Graduation Plan against your TOPS Tracker report in LOSFA's Student Hub.
Research private scholarship and grant opportunities.
This information is available at your high school guidance office, local public library, civic and professional organizations and free scholarship searches. Look specifically for scholarships that might apply to your career goals, skills, or demographics.
Continue to identify your areas of interest and potential career paths.
Follow your progress toward eligibility for the TOPS scholarship.
The TOPS Tracker feature on LOSFA's Student Hub records the courses you take during the academic year.
Take the PSAT/NMSQT.
Take these tests to practice taking admissions tests and to establish your eligibility for the National Merit Scholarship Program, the National Achievement Scholarship Program, and/or the National Hispanic Recognition Program, and additional scholarship programs.
Make a list of entrance requirements.
Look up the minimum acceptance requirements for entering freshmen at your top colleges, such as grade point average, high school subject credits, and standardized test scores.
Talk with your parents about your college plans and finances.
Become more specific about how you and your parents can finance your plans. Compare costs of attending the schools you are interested in.
Meet with your guidance counselor.
After your PSAT/NMSQT scores come in, schedule a meeting. Bring your list of entrance requirements. Determine with the counselor if your list of colleges is reasonable or needs to be adjusted, and if your current and future high school classes are appropriate.
January - June
As you learn more, narrow your list.
Continue to attend college fairs and, if possible, schedule individual sessions with representatives from your top colleges to learn more about their programs.
If these tests are required for your list of colleges, register and take them. (Enter the proper code so that LOSFA receives your scores)
Take achievement tests.
Take these in May or June if the colleges that you are considering require them. At this point, the material is fresh in your mind.
Start preparing portfolios, audition tapes, writing samples, or other evidence of talent.
If these are required for admission to your programs or scholarships, begin working on these now. List your academic achievements, extra curricular activities, community service involvement and employment history.
July - August
Contact the colleges that interest you and request admissions procedures and financial aid information.
Are you planning travel during summer vacation? Many families visit college campuses on their vacation trips. Call the admissions office in advance to learn what times they conduct regular tours. Then, use these visits to compare campuses and help narrow your selection.