Transitioning from high school to college is scary in itself, but doing it during a pandemic brings on many new challenges. Worrying about the months ahead is normal, however it is important to be as prepared as possible, especially as a first-year student. If you are attending college for the first time ever, we have created a first-year student checklist to help you navigate your college experience. For current high school students:

  • Make sure you are on track to complete your A-G requirements. Meet with your counselor and let them know you need to take courses that fulfill A-G requirements.
  • Research the colleges you would like to attend and make a list of colleges in order of preference. 1. Top school, 2. Second choice, etc.
  • Make sure you get involved in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, volunteer orgs, and leadership. Colleges will consider this when reviewing your application.
  • When asking for Letters of Recommendation from teachers it is a great idea to create a ‘Brag Sheet’ to keep track of all your involvements and accomplishments throughout your high school experience, this way they can easily write about who you are. Templates: Brag Sheet Template PDF , Brag Sheet Template Doc
  • If you are a senior in high school, make sure you meet all the application deadlines. College applications are due in the fall and FAFSA or CA Dream Act are due March 2nd every year.

If you are starting college this fall:

  • If you are applying to community college, look up your local promise programs that will help you pay for your tuition and fees.
  • Be sure to check your student portal frequently. Important emails regarding deadlines and alerts from your campus will be shared there first.
  • Meet with your college counselor to register for classes and to create an educational plan.
  • Attend your college’s orientation to learn about the opportunities and resources your school offers.
  • Complete your financial aid and ensure that all your paperwork is submitted. Meet with your campus’s financial aid office for any questions. Financial Aid Tips
    • Ask them about scholarships, loans, and how to pay for college.
  • Research and apply for student support programs available at your school, such as Summer Bridge programs, EOP and EOPS for low-income students and CAFYES/Guardian Scholars programs for students who have been involved in foster care.
  • Find tutoring and writing services that your campus offers. Writing research papers can be confusing, be sure to ask for help.
  • Find student well-being services to help you cope with any anxiety or stress you may be experiencing. Make sure you are familiar with your campus’ health centers, counseling and psychological services, food pantry, and recreational centers.
  • Research the variety of majors your campus offers. If you are undeclared, this is a great opportunity to do some research and find your interests. Do not feel pressured or rushed into declaring a major.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for support! Your counselors and advisors are there to help you. If you feel overwhelmed, try sending them an email first and then meet with them.

Adapted from L.A. Compact’s Summer of Success Checklist