Here are some helpful tips for high school juniors to help prepare for college. 








Tell your family and friends that you plan to go, and ask for advice on how to get there.

You know attending college is important. It can prepare you for an exciting career. You’ll be more likely to find a job and stay employed. And, you can increase your earnings. In fact, some studies show you may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars more in your lifetime if you have a college degree.

You know college is a great destination. But how do you get there?

Graduating Early?

If you’re graduating mid-year as a senior, you should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form this year. This must be completed to apply for financial aid at any college.

Learn more at fafsa.gov 

Did You Know?

Most full-time college students receive some type of financial aid.


Learn more at collegeboard.org.


This year, you should start taking a closer look at the colleges where you think you may want to apply. Attend college and career nights offered at your school or at Moraine Valley. Also, visit the colleges you’re considering, if possible. It’s a great way to get a sense if the campus would be a good fit for you.

Degrees vs. Career Programs

Many people think that the only way to secure a stable career is to obtain a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution. In reality there are many paths you can take that will lead to you finding and following your passions. For many students the traditional model of graduating high school and working toward a four year degree is the plan, but for others who may not desire to attend four more years of school Moraine Valley and other community college offer alternatives. 

While there are benefits to earning a bachelor’s degree, career programs can provide you with career-specific coursework that is designed to let you immediately enter the workforce upon completion.

While some fields require that you have a four-year degree, there are many careers in STEM, the trades, health care, and more only require a certificate or two-year degree which you can earn at a community college.

Moraine Valley has over 140 different career and certificate programs that can get you working in two years or less. 


A campus tour is your opportunity to learn more about the school, which can be critical for the college selection process. Make sure you have a list of questions to ask that will help you get a sense of the college and campus life.

  • Campus Resources

    What facilities (gyms, libraries, theaters, labs, etc.) are available to students?

  • Classroom Styles

    Are most classes led by professors or teaching assistants? What is the average class size? What is the student-to-professor ratio?

  • Cost of College

    What is the average college debt that students leave with?

  • Majors - Degrees and Certificates

    Are the programs you are interested in offered? What do the special admission program requirements look like? 

  • Housing Options

    What is the annual cost of living on-campus vs off-campus? 

  • Flexible Scheduling

    Do classes have multiple offerings like online, nights, and weekends that may accommodate someone working while attending college?

  • Don’t Let Standardized Tests Be a Roadblock

    This is the year most students take the ACT and/or SAT tests for the first time. Many students take them more than once, so discuss with your counselor when is the best time for you to take them. Don’t let fear be a roadblock to your success. Consider attending a prep class, which can provide information and strategies to help you perform better on these important tests. Your counselor may have suggestions on where to find a class that’s right for you. Also, you can find practice questions and suggestions on how to prepare for these tests on the official ACT and SAT websites.

  • Athletes Need to Stay on Track

    Many high school athletes count on scholarships to help them pay for college. Even with scholarships, you’ll still need to maintain good grades and take challenging courses in high school. Keep in mind that the NCAA and other college athletic associations have specific academic standards you must meet. Discuss these with your counselor.