First, a simple question (that reveals one of the great truths about human behavior), have you ever changed your mind about what you want to do in your life?

Yes! Of course you have. We all have at one time or another! Join me in this homeschool journey to find fundamental teen tips for college and career success.

Everyone changes their minds about what they want to do when they grow up. This starts with early dreams such as becoming a firefighter, policeman, or astronaut, and can continue later in life, like my husband's and my decision to tackle entrepreneurship in our 40s.

Whether you decide to go to college or career first, your best plan is to get a college prep education in high school. This way, no matter what happens or what direction you choose, you'll be ready.

Be ready for college in case you decide to go. You need a plan in place, a college chosen, and a financial plan. Find a college during high school so you are ready for anything. 

Fundamental One – Find a College

There is a sequence of events to help you find a college without pulling your hair out. It starts with a plan for junior year. You can fly by the seat of your pants in high school and can end up with fabulous results if you remember that junior year is the key to success.

During junior year, attend a college fair for an overview of interesting colleges. Ask colleges questions about soccer teams, chess clubs, art majors, or engineering — anything that will help you decide your ultimate (or next) goal in life.

Then you need to coordinate tests. Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of junior year, so you can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Then plan for and take either the SAT or ACT test. Scores might be needed for admission now or five years from now (if you decide to go to college later), or so colleges can decide the first scholarship amounts you receive.

Visit colleges in the spring. It's the only way to make sure you don't accidentally attend one of the top 10 party schools. Remember, merely because a college includes Christian in its name does not mean it's a wholesome environment. Only college visits can help you figure this out.

Make a plan for success during junior year. You are unique. What if you want to go to Harvard, West Point, or your neighborhood Christian school? What if you struggle with school and need special accommodations? What do you need for NCAA sports or military careers? You could be living overseas and trying to figure out how to attend college in the U.S. Work out what your special needs and requirements are. 

This is the first chapter of my book, Teen Tips for College and Career Success.  You can read the rest of the book by grabbing it here. 

SAT®, AP®, and CLEP® are trademarks owned by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this blog post or The HomeScholar, LLC. 

 PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.