Ready : What You Need to Know
You may think it’s early to start planning for college, but truth is, your time in high school will go by very quickly. That’s why getting a general idea of what to you need to do to prepare for college will save you time and stress later on.
Why start now? College applications ask all sorts of questions: What classes did you take? What awards have you received? What activities have you participated in? By the time you’re a senior, you might forget some of the things you did as a freshman or sophomore. Keeping track of your progress is a good way to avoid confusion later. It also shows you where you need more work.
Why college? Going to college means you’ll make more money in your lifetime. It also makes you more independent and able to make decisions on your own. College will allow you many other valuable experiences—far beyond just an education and diploma.
College is a time to continue pursuing the passions you’ve found; it’s a chance to meet new people and move beyond your comfort zone. These are all things that contribute to you becoming a more well-rounded, self-sufficient and happy person.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to go straight to a four-year university, go to community college, or attend a technical or vocational school. If you’re choosing to advance your education past high school, you’re choosing a better life for yourself.
College Admission Standards
New minimum college admission standards for students seeking admission to a public, four-year college or university went into effect in fall 2012. An academic road map for middle and high school students, the new minimum standards do not guarantee admission but do establish a foundational level of academic achievement needed to do successful college work. Visit the Washington Student Achievement Council's website to learn more.
Residency & Non U.S. Citizenship
Your residency and citizenship status can have an impact on things like financial aid and the cost of tuition.
College Credit in High School
In some cases, students can receive course credits based on college-level knowledge and skills gained outside the classroom (or from non-college instruction programs), including employment and military training and service. Identifying prior learning that is eligible for college credit can make a student’s education more affordable and reduce the time to a degree or certificate. Below are a few of the most common ways to earn college credit in high school.
Advanced Placement Programs
Advanced Placement programs enable students to take college-level courses while in high school. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) maintains a comprehensive Advanced Placement website at the link above. Interested students should check with their school counselors about the availability of these programs.
Other Dual Credit Programs
Other dual credit programs allow high school students to enroll in college-level courses, either at their own school or at their local community college. Check the OSPI Dual Credit website link above for comprehensive information or visit the program links below. As with AP courses, not all schools offer these options. Interested students should check with their high school counselor.
International Baccalaureate Programs
High-quality programs of international education are offered to a worldwide community of schools. Three programs for students aged 3-19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Check availability with your high school counselor.
The Running Start program in Washington allows 11th and 12th grade students to take college courses at Washington’s community and technical colleges and at Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Washington State University, and Northwest Indian College.