College Planning Timeline

A common mistake families make is waiting too long to start the planning process. Ideally, families should start in 8th grade. Students should take aptitude and interest tests. Job shadowing is a great way to research a potential career choice and the contacts made while job shadowing can often lead to part-time jobs later. While in 8th grade, start to plan the high school curriculum. Start to keep track of activities for a resume.
During the high school years it’s important to develop in all areas, academically and socially. Join clubs, sports teams, do some volunteer work. Each year add some leadership positions to your resume. Find some areas that you’re passionate about. Maybe a student is interested in animals. Why not volunteer at an animal shelter or a horse farm?
The guidance counselors are a wealth of information, but most high schools have a high student-to-counselor ratio so be sure to make appointments on a regular basis to speak with your counselor.
Lighthouse College Planning has guidance counselors that work one-on-one with students to help them prepare for college. Call us, we’d be happy to help! 630-907-9830 or go to
Read this article for a list of activities by year.