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Preparing for College

Preparing for College

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Today is a great day to start preparing for college! Whether college is years away or right around the corner, you can take steps now to help make sure that you find the right fit for your future. In this section, you will find tips and tools to help you get prepared for the journey. 1-2-3, let’s go! 

The toolkit resources below will get you started.

Toolkit for Students and Families1-2-3 Go Toolkit

What do I need to do this year to prepare for college?

When it comes to getting into college, every school year matters. The decisions you make, the actions you take and the effort you put in will impact your next steps and options. Refer to the checklist (9th-12thgrade) to help make sure that you don’t miss out on opportunities.

How do I figure out what I want to do with my future?

To figure out what you want to do in your future, it’s important to know your likes and values. These personal preferences can shape your career and the things you do for the rest of your life. The Virginia Wizard offers career and work values online assessments to help.  K12 students automatically receive a free Wizard account. Ask your counselor or teacher to activate it. Also, try the Imagine link to see what kind of careers and areas of study will support your future lifestyle.

What questions should I ask about colleges?

Take advantage of every opportunity to speak to admissions representatives and current/prior students. Use the list of questions to begin your conversations. And if you have the prized opportunity to speak with college students or alumni, you can learn so much more. Use the provided Student to Student questions to interview them and take good notes. 

What words/phrases do I need to know about higher education?

As you enter the new world of higher education, it may seem like people are speaking another language! You will want to learn many new phrases and definitions. Use the PREPARE: Higher Education Terms A-Z list as a reference as go through this step towards enrollment.




On the left side of this page is a menu with five choices: InterestsChoosing ClassesHigh School Graduation RequirementsSOL/PSAT and Standardized Tests and Credit for AP, IB, Cambridge and CLEP Exams. Explore any of those links or move on to the Applying to CollegePaying for CollegeMaking Decisions about College, Student Loans and  Resources sections. 

ECMC College Nights in Virginia 
ECMC (Educational Credit Management Corp.) has sponsored College Nights in Virginia every year since 2007. Participating locations across the Commonwealth provide opportunities for students and families to learn and receive information about planning and paying for college. Events are open to the public. Students attending events at eligible host sites may be entered in a statewide drawing for one of 20 $1,000 scholarships. Events are open to the public. See the College Nights in Virginia locations. Locations are added regularly, so check back and/or ask your school counselor if your school will be hosting a College Night event.

  • ECMC's Opportunities booklet for Virginia is a great resource. Check out this year's edition!

A Career Cluster is a grouping of occupations and broad industries based on commonalities. Virginia has 16 career clusters. Explore careers and use Virginia’s Career Planning Guide to help find careers of interest. See career profiles and learn the paths taken by professionals across the state.

Preparation is important. Confirm and make your plans with your family and school counselor. Your school counselor can be a huge resource and source of advice on your future.

Please click each step on the menu below to access resource toolkits and to learn about how to Go! to college.
Prepare for College Apply for College Pay for College Go! Section of 123 Go

LEARN MORE about how your school can host a 1-2-3 Go! event and help students 1) Prepare, 2) Apply, 3) Pay and Go to college.

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Through these values, we create a welcoming work environment that represents the best of who we are as an agency and as individuals.

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