10th grade is a great time to explore possibilities for college and for your future. Build a strong foundation this year in high school by following these tips:

1. Take the PSAT/NMSQT ® test in October if it is offered at your high school

The primary PSAT/NMSQT ® test date this year is Wednesday, October 11, 2017. Although the test will count for National Merit ® scholarships in the 11th grade, taking it as a 10th grader will show you where you stand. It will also help you identify areas in which you can improve over the next year, which is why 10th grade is a great time to start test prep.  Registration for the PSAT/NMSQT ® test is handled by your high school, so check with your counselor for details.

2. Start looking at potential colleges

Right now, college seems like it is in the distant future but you will be glad you did some early research. Learning what you want in a college is an important, and sometimes difficult, thing to figure out. Think about your preferences for size, location, environment, then visit colleges that fit your criteria. You can even start locally to get comfortable with the college visit process and discover more about your college preferences. Use sites like the BigFuture College Search and Cappex.com to get started with your search.

3. Don’t discount colleges because of their “name”

Every college has great things and not-so-great things about it. The secret lies in which college is the best fit for you. For some students, prestige is a very important factor. It is important to decide how much that will weigh into your college decisions.

4. Think about possible careers

Shadow a professional in the field if possible. You will see what your future could be and be able to decide if you are interested in pursuing it. If you cannot imagine waking up every day and going to that job, chances are that it isn’t the right career for you. It is fine to do some exploration now in order to find more happiness later in life.

5. Maintain meaningful involvement in high school clubs and other activities

Seek out leadership positions in line with your interests. Don’t join every club just to fill up a resume. Find activities you are truly passionate about. As you progress through high school, your time will be more limited and making smart commitments will become even more important. Making an impact in one or two areas is much more meaningful than being barely involved in ten different activities.

10th grade can be a demanding year, but if you follow the tips above, you will set yourself up for success. For test prep and college admission tips, please visit www.kdcollegeprep.com and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.