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Be college-ready

What does it mean to be college-ready? You need to be ready for college academically, financially and socially. Use this list to see if you are on the right path.


Are you taking the right classes to get into college? Indiana’s four-year colleges require you to earn the Core 40 diploma and some require the Core 40 diploma with Academic or Technical Honors. Make sure you have the classes you need to earn at least a Core 40 Diploma.

If you are planning to attend a two-year college or complete an apprenticeship after high school, you should still plan on completing the Core 40 Diploma, preferably with Academic or Technical Honors.


Colleges don’t only look at grades, but they are important. If you have had poor grades in the past, you will want to demonstrate that you have worked hard to improve your GPA (grade point average). Most important are high grades in classes that matter in your chosen career. For example, if you are planning to enter an apprenticeship program, you should have solid math skills. If you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in history, a bad grade in U.S. History will not impress the admissions office.

Create a high school graduation plan to make sure you’re on track.


Getting into college will probably require an additional test or two. Most four-year colleges require the SAT or ACT college entrance exams. Military programs use the ASVAB, or Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, to determine where your skills will be best used.

Don’t treat these tests like a routine exam. Take practice exams beforehand and participate in any free preparation opportunities offered by your school. Read more about tests and online practice questions here.

Time management

Many college grads say the most difficult thing about college isn’t the coursework but knowing how to stay organized and manage time. Start now by keeping a daily planner and creating a high school graduation plan. It’s good to be involved in school and your community, but don’t compromise your grades. Schedule time for studying and homework.

Volunteer and leadership experience

Colleges today know that success in college and a career isn’t only about grades. That’s why they often want you to demonstrate leadership skills or show that you have volunteer experiences. The confidence and maturity you gain from these opportunities will be worth it!

Look for leadership experience in school clubs, sports, a school newspaper, at work or in your religious organization. Think beyond one-time experiences when it comes to volunteering. Sign up to volunteer once a month or once a week at a soup kitchen, afterschool program, animal shelter or other organization. Demonstrating your commitment will help you gain the dependability you’ll need in college and in your career.

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