Planning for UGA

While you focus on enjoying your time in high school, it’s important to spare some time to consider getting ready for college. It’s never too early! We’re not suggesting that you start cramming for the SAT or ACT or enroll in college courses during middle school. We simply want you to be aware that there are small actions you can take each day to prepare yourself.

The following suggestions will assist you in keeping college in your sights during your time in high school.

  • 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 in meaningful extracurricular 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.
  • Your GPA starts here, so aim for A’s! In the UGA admissions process, applicants will be reviewed on their core academic grades earned during grades 9-12, so it is important to start with a strong foundation.
  • Think about the classes your school offers and look for those core academic areas that will prepare you for college like: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language and Art. Consider the types of classes your school offers too: do you want to take Honors, AP, Pre-IB or IB, Pre-AICE or AICE and Dual Enrollment?
  • Get involved! Find a club you like and join! If you’re interested in something and no club exists, create it yourself. Join a sports team, sign up to volunteer or find an artistic outlet.
  • Make the most out of your summers! Start looking into summer programs, academic camps, part-time jobs, community service opportunities, taking a summer class or just finding a few new books to read.
  • Reflect on your grades from your freshmen year. Do you see a need for improvement, and do you see an opportunity to challenge yourself? UGA looks for academic growth throughout high school, so if you started off slow in your freshmen year, that’s okay. Preparing for the college application process is a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line.
  • Consider taking an AP, IB, AICE or Dual Enrollment class, or two. UGA understands course rigor varies at each school, so we encourage you to connect with your school counselor and chart a path that will challenge you to the best of your academic ability.
  • That club or team you joined in ninth grade, stick with it. If it wasn’t the right fit, choose a new venture. UGA Admissions looks for students who have grown in their commitments, whether that be through involvement in clubs, dedication to their family or through a job.
  • Take the PSAT or the Pre-ACT if offered.  Research colleges and majors that align with your academic interests.  UGA offers 250+ majors and academic offerings. Visit our majors page to explore your interests.
  • Continue taking challenging courses and getting good grades. Earning good grades in challenging courses plays the most important factor in determining your competitiveness for admission to UGA.
  • Aim for a leadership position in your favorite club, run for student government or go out for captain on your sports or robotics team.
  • Take the ACT or SAT. If you don’t score as well as you’d like, you can take it again in the summer. Take a prep course and use online resources such as the Khan Academy or ACT Academy.
  • SCHOLARSHIPS! Begin asking about local scholarships and grants as some may have deadlines as early as fall of senior year.
  • Visit colleges to see what feels right: public or private, big, or small, urban or rural. You can start here to schedule a visit to UGA.


  • Give yourself time to complete your college applications. You will need to ask for recommendations, write essays, and submit everything on time. You can apply to UGA using the Common App when our application opens on August 1.
  • Take the ACT or SAT again in the fall if needed. Find out about test dates, application fee waivers and make sure to register in time for earlier application deadlines, if applicable.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at early and by the deadlines.  Apply for scholarships or grants that you have found.
  • This is your chance to brag about yourself and all the work you put in during grades 9-12. You’re in the home stretch. Keep pushing forward and finishing strong!