College Planning Guide for High School Students

Getting Ready for the Next Chapter

“Thank you!” That’s what your future self will likely say to you for taking the initiative and time to learn about applying to college now. After all, the process — researching schools, doing applications, figuring out how to pay for school — is hardly quick and simple.

In fact, Project: Get Into College may come to feel like a part-time job at times. Even reading this guide, which lays out some of the basics of what you’ll need to know and do, may seem like … a lot. That’s why you’ll probably want to break down the process into manageable chunks, including reading this guide. Our recommendation: skim it first, bookmark it, and then come back as questions come up.

If you’re prepping for college with a little help from Mom and Dad, ask them to check out our College Planning Guide for Parents!

Basic Prep for Juniors and Seniors

Check out some helpful tips for getting the most out of high school and making smart choices — before you even start applying to colleges.

What to Know When You’re Applying

Where should you go to college? How many schools should you apply to? Do you really need to apply early action? We’ll answer all these questions and more. And if you’re not already burned out on tests, try taking our Quiz: What College Should I Go to?

Figuring Out How to Pay for College

If college is in your future, you’ll need to take a good look at your finances. These resources will help you get a better understanding of how you’ll pay for college, starting with the basics.

What you need to know about student loans, grants, and scholarships.

Depending on where your school is, you have different options when it comes to getting the money you need to pay for school. Here are some resources to help.

Select your state to get started:

Watch and Learn

Check out these helpful videos from SoFi financial planners and Members to help you navigate the college planning and financing process.

Filling Out the FAFSA

Learn everything you need to know about the FAFSA — for starters, what it stands for and when you need to fill it out. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check out our FAFSA hub page for even more on the topic.

Making Your College Decision

A lot goes into making your choice on a school. These articles can help you navigate the next steps once your applications are sent and your offer letters start rolling in.

Get Started With a Private Student Loan

Check out SoFi’s undergraduate student loans with different repayment options to work for your budget. Finish our fast and easy online application in minutes—and add a cosigner in just a few clicks.


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