College Prep

Practical advice for selecting the right college, nailing your exams, navigating the application process and choosing your major.

College Majors


Nursing is one-on-one patient care within the healthcare field. Learn more about nursing majors to see if this college degree is right for you.

Monthly Reminder

Last Chance. Submit Your Application

Some college applications are due this month.

Early Decision Deposits Due

Submit enrollment deposits for early decision admissions.

Check on Applications

Follow up on any applications you’ve submitted online. 

Research AP© Exams

Thinking about taking Advanced Placement® exams? Look at previous exams online to get a feel for which ones you’ll be good at.

Start Planning College Visits

Not yet sure where you want to go to college next year? Use Spring Break to visit colleges.

Schedule a Tour

Still don’t know where to go? Try to schedule one last tour of your top choices.

Decision time!

Talk to your parents, teachers and counselor about what school is the best fit, and maybe create a spreadsheet looking at the pros and cons of each choice. You have until Decision Day (May 1) to express your intent to attend. Don’t forget to notify the remaining schools that you will not attend.

Write Your Thank Yous

You did a good job this year! But your mentors, teachers and counselor helped. Make sure to write them thank you letters and deliver them before school is out.

Send Your Final Transcripts

Ask your school to send your final transcripts to your college if required.

Sign Up For Orientation

If your college offers a summer orientation, you should definitely consider attending. It could make the transition easier in the fall.

Study for the APs

If you’re taking AP classes, your exams should be happening soon. Study up, and consider taking a prep course. Good scores mean you might be able to opt out of some required freshman courses.

Register for College Orientation

Orientation can give you valuable information about your school. Register now if you haven’t already. You should also start looking through the course catalog.

Check Out Your College Website

Dig in to get a better sense of the facilities, as well as their recommended list of what to bring with you freshman year.

Reach Out to Your New Roommate

Get in touch and start building a rapport. Discuss shared experiences, study habits and lifestyle preferences.

Make Your Shopping List

You might need a lot of supplies for school, from bedding to dishes and a mini-fridge. Talk to your roommate about what they’re bringing so you don’t double up.

Continue to Visit Colleges

By September, college is in session, which means now’s a great time to plan and budget for college visits. Start your list of what campuses you want to check out.

Improve Your SAT®/ACT® Scores

Didn’t love the score you got on your SAT exam, ACT exam or SAT Subject Tests the first time around? There are upcoming tests in October you can start studying for.

Review College Applications

Look at requirements for all the schools where you plan on applying. Don’t forget to apply to at least one academic safety school and one easily affordable school that can serve as a financial safety.

Draft Your Essays

Start brainstorming topics for college essays and jotting down notes for early drafts.

Create an Application Spreadsheet

Start tracking your college list, application deadlines and requirements in a spreadsheet.

Meet with Your Counselor

Ensure you are meeting all your requirements for graduation.

Ask for Recommendations

Ask teachers and other mentors for letters of recommendation for college. Pick adults that have an intimate knowledge of your work and can write with specificity.

Meet with College Reps

Find out which admissions reps are visiting your high school for informative sessions or college fairs, and set up time to meet with the colleges you’re interested in.

Register for the October ACT/SAT Exam

Register now to grab a test date in October.

Start Your College Applications

Whether you’re applying early decision or regular decision, get a start on those applications now.

Apply Early

Applying early action or early decision? Check your due dates (either Nov 1 or 15) and send your applications out before the deadline.

Request Your Transcripts

Ask your school to send your transcripts to each college you’re applying to. If your school will let you, keep a few on hand for college applications when your high school administrators are particularly busy. 

Get Eyes on Your Essays

You should be finishing up your college essays. Once you’ve written what feels like your final drafts, give them to trusted mentors for feedback.

Get your Early Decision Apps In

If you’re planning to apply Early Action or Early Decision, the deadlines are typically Nov 1 or 15, but may be open through Dec 1. 

Last Chance! SAT/ACT Exams

December is your last chance to retake the ACT or SAT exam this year. The registration deadline is in early November.

Submit Your Applications

Regular decision applications are due starting in December (though some can be as early as November). Finish them up before the holidays.

Check Up On Your Transcripts

Double-check that your transcripts have been sent to any college you applied to.

Take Your ACT/SAT Exams

If you’re signed up to take them, the SAT exam is on Dec 7 and the ACT exam is on Dec 14

Next Steps to Early Decision

If you applied early decision, you might start to hear back. If you got in, make sure to withdraw applications from other colleges you applied to.

Prep for Exams

Finish the semester strong and study hard for your exams.

Plan Next Semester

Start planning next semester. There’s still time to impress colleges with challenging classes and activities.

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Computer Science - College Majors
College Majors

Computer Science as a Major

Computer science majors study how computers process, store and solve information. Learn more about this expanding college major, including potential career paths, knowledge requirements and more.

Law Degree - College Majors
College Majors


Considering a career in law? Find need-to-know information on pre law requirements, salary expectations and the steps to becoming a lawyer with help from Discover Student Loans.

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