Current Students


Participant Information

Be sure to stay is on track by attending TRIO events and following the checklist below (see the Planning Your Future PDF here).

9th & 10th Grades: Start Your Engines

  • Tell your teachers & counselor that you plan on going to college.
  • Develop strong study habits – pay attention in class, complete your homework on time and ask for help when you don’t understand something
  • Get involved in activities after school. Join clubs, play sports, get a job or volunteer in your community.
  • Stay involved in these activities throughout your high school career to demonstrate consistency
  • Work with your school counselor to take the PSAT and/or ACT PLAN/EXPLORE.
  • Be open to explore new possibilities. Here’s a great resource to start with:
  • Start to gather information about colleges – use college search tools or ask your guidance counselor for resources. Visit:
  • Use the Coalition’s free college planning tools, including the free online storage locker. Create your account:
    Use your summer to read, attend pre-college camps, take enrichment classes, or seek employment – this is a great opportunity to better your verbal, writing, critical thinking and leadership skills. NC State has a listing of pre-college programs here:

11th Grades: Pedal to the Metal

  • Make sure you are on track to meet the minimum course requirements for college admission
  • Continue to take challenging courses.
  • Register to take the SAT and/or ACT multiple times.
  • Narrow down your list of colleges based on where you will thrive best. Keep in consideration the school’s size, location, whether they have the major you’re interested in and extracurricular activities available. You can research schools on College Board:
  • Attend college fairs in your area to speak with admissions reps from schools you are interested in.
  • Find an internship or volunteer opportunity in the field you plan to study.
  • Use breaks you have from school to visit colleges.
  • Make a list of teachers, coaches, and community members that you may be able to ask for recommendation letters when you apply to college.
  • Research scholarship deadlines and requirements for your senior year.
  • Remind parents/guardians to prepare tax information for your financial aid application.

12th Grade: Home Stretch


  • Select 3-5 colleges – a reach school, safety school and others you’re interested in attending.
  • Mark application deadlines on your calendar.
  • Ask your TRIO coordinator for a fee waiver!
  • Take the SAT and/or ACT again before college application deadlines.
  • Keep up your good grades.
  • Reach out to your teachers, coaches, and community members for letters of recommendation.
  • Aim to apply by early application deadlines.
  • Visit to get an FSA ID number to e-sign your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • On October 1, start and complete your financial aid application – be aware of institutions priority deadlines. Visit:
  • Student athletes: register with the NCAA Clearinghouse for eligibility certification.
  • Think back on your life and make a list of moments that could potentially become a part of your personal essay.


  • Focus on finishing your high school career strong.
  • Compare admissions decisions and financial aid packages.
  • Take AP/IB exams and send results to your future college.
  • May 1 is the national deadline to confirm your enrollment – decide which institution you wish to attend.
  • Join admitted student groups to connect with future classmates.
  • Send an official final transcript to your future college.
  • Figure out housing arrangements, orientation dates, and placement testing requirements.
  • Apply for education loans, if needed.
  • Check out the Transition to College Checklist from
  • Celebrate!