It’s never too early to start thinking about college.

You’re probably thinking, “it’s way too early to start preparing for college.” You’ve got more important things to think about: sports, music, hanging out with your friends, going to the movies, finishing your homework, or who you’ll ask to the dance. Those things are all great. Keep thinking about those things.

But you should also take a little time to think about preparing for college. Nothing major, we’re not asking you to start studying for the SAT or ACT or to start taking classes for college credit in middle school. We just want you to know that there are little things you can do every day to help get ready.

The tips below will help you make the most of middle school, prepare for high school, and keep college on your radar.

8th Grade

  • It’s never too early to start challenging yourself. If your school offers any courses that could count towards high-school credit (i.e. Algebra I or a Foreign Language) consider exploring those options.
  • Start thinking about your interests outside of academics. Participating and excelling in meaningful extra-curricular activities are considered during the admissions process.
  • Talk to your family and school counselors. Involving the right mentors early can help you create a college-readiness plan.


9th & 10th Grade

  • Focus on Academic Electives. The more rigorous your electives, the more competitive your application will be. We recommend at least 4, if not more additional units of electives within Core Academic disciplines.
  • Consider the rigor that is offered at your school. Start taking academically challenging courses such as Honors and AP, Pre-IB and IB, Pre-AICE and AICE, or Dual Enrollment.
  • Prep for the SAT and ACT by taking the PSAT or Pre-ACT tests if offered.
  • Keep your family and counselors in the loop about your plans for college. They are your best local resource for staying on track.
  • If you are a Georgia resident, begin learning about the qualifications for the HOPE and Zell Miller Scholarships.


11th Grade

  • Stay Rigorous. Continue or begin taking Honors and AP/IB classes as offered.
  • Prepare for Admission Tests. Spring of your junior year is the time to register for the SAT and ACT. Consider taking both tests before your senior year begins.
  • If you did not take the PSAT 10 or Pre-ACT in the 10th grade, now is the time.
  • Step up your extra-curricular involvement. Pursue leadership roles. Develop your passions and consider community involvement, volunteering, or part-time employment.
  • Schedule a Campus Visit. This is a great way to get to know the University of Georgia, explore the campus and classes, make connections, and ask in person questions that can aid in your application process.


12th Grade

  • Don’t slack off. Whether you are in process with an application or have already been accepted, the UGA Admissions team monitors grades until final transcripts have been issued. Take challenging courses, and graduate with the highest GPA you can.
  • Complete all College Admissions testing. Whether you are looking to up your score or are taking the SAT or ACT for the first time, we recommend that you take these tests in the first-semester of your Senior Year.
  • Begin securing recommendation letters. The University of Georgia requires a secondary school report/counselor recommendation letter. We also recommend an optional letter of recommendation from other academically focused sources.
  • Submit your application by the deadline.
  • Prepare for and complete the exams for your AP, IB, and/or AICE courses.
  • Fill out the FAFSA. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that is prepared annually by college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.
  • Research Additional Financial Aid Options. Look for private scholarships and grants that may pertain to you and apply to them as chosen.