Planning Ahead

We’re looking for students who try new things, tackle big challenges and lend a hand to their communities–all while earning exceptional grades and exhibiting stellar behavior. Don’t worry, it’s totally achievable.

It’s never too early to start planning for a successful future.

Follow this year-by-year roadmap to help you prepare academically and financially for university.

9th Grade

9th Grade Look Ahead


Get some guidance

Meet with a school or community program counselor to discuss your higher education, career and personal goals for the future and write out a plan for academic and extracurricular success.

Select the right classes

Meet with your counselor to ensure that your educational plan includes completing the A-G requirements for high school graduation and admission to the University of California. Identify what subjects you excel in and challenge yourself in AP, IB and certified UC Honors or college courses to be academically competitive for admissions. If you attend a California high school use the following link to find the A-G courses available at your school.

Get active

Join school or community groups, clubs, or teams you're interested in. Consider, if eligible, college educational preparation programs such as AVID, Upward Bound and Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) etc.


Grades matter

Even in your 9th grade year, your academic performance is important. College may seem like a distant goal, but your grades from each year of high school will impact your overall GPA and class rank.

Financial Planning

Talk to your parents or guardians about paying for college. Click here to review our Financial Literacy Resources . Start or continue to add to a savings plan. You can begin applying to scholarships as early as your 9th grade year, research and ask your counselor for local opportunities.


Keep track

Start documenting your academic, extracurricular and community service achievement and awards. Save this list and add to it as you progress through high school. This will be a big time-saver when completing college applications and creating a resume.

Dream big

Start a list of schools you’re interested in and request to be added to their mailing lists.

Get involved

Volunteer, get a job or sign up for an enrichment program during the summer. Click here to see UC San Diego Youth Camps and Enrichment Programs. If you aren't in San Diego, there may be similar opportunities near you.

Read and Write

Both skills are very important and require consistent practice, no matter your chosen field.

10th grade

10th grade Sharpening Your Skills


Practice testing

Gain confidence in test-taking and discover areas you need to improve upon by taking the PSAT 10 or ACT preparation.

Understand requirements

Take a look at the application requirements for the colleges and universities you're interested in. Write down your questions or concerns about meeting those requirements and share with your parents and counselors.

Reassess extracurriculars

Are you involved enough? Too much? Make sure your extracurricular activities support and grow your passions.


Get some guidance

Meet with your counselor to review goals and to make sure you are staying on track with your classes and test preparation. Make a test plan and calendar so you that you're able to adequately prepare.

SAT | ACT | SAT Subject Tests | AP Exams

Stay focused

Your grades are very important. Remember that the University of California calculates GPA based on 10-11th grades for admission purposes, however all grades will be reviewed on your application. If you find yourself falling behind, be sure to ask for help now.

Take the PSAT

If you haven’t already, take the PSAT to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship program.

Financial planning

Check in with your parents or guardians to determine where your family is with financing options. Start researching scholarships and financial planning strategies.


Explore colleges and universities

Take campus tours or sit in on a class. Book your UC San Diego visit here. Research on-campus summer programs and camps that universities often host for high school students. Explore UC San Diego Youth Camps and Enrichment Programs.

Take SAT subject tests

It's best to take the subject tests right after you've the completed the recommended classes while the material is still fresh in your mind.

Read and write

Both skills are very important, no matter your chosen field. Find someone you trust to review your work and provide feedback.

Get a summer job or internship

Add to your college savings and gain real-world experience to include on your college application and resume. Also, consider local or national internships, summer volunteer programs, and academic enrichment programs like Academic Connections at UC San Diego; consider available opportunities in your area.

Keep track

Add to or create a list of your academic, extracurricular and community service achievement and awards. This will be a big time-saver when completing college applications and creating a resume.

11th Grade

11th Grade On Your Mark, Get Set...


Get some guidance

Review your course schedule, GPA, test results and/or test plan and class rank with your counselor to make sure you're still on track to meet your goals. Continue to challenge yourself academically by taking AP, IB and certified UC Honors courses offered at your school.

Take college entrance exams

Register and take a college entrance exam. To be eligible for admission to UC San Diego you must take the ACT Plus Writing OR the SAT Reasoning with critical reading, math and writing.

SAT | ACT | SAT Subject Tests | AP Exams

Step up

Take on leadership roles in your extracurricular activities and maintain your commitment.

Meet NCAA requirements

If you want to play Division I or II sports in college, start the certification process. Be sure to check with your counselor to make sure you meet requirements. Interested in playing at UC San Diego? Submit a recruiting questionnaire for your sport here.


Get some guidance

Meet with your counselor to evaluate where you are academically. Are there courses or tests you should retake? Are you on track to complete your A-G Requirements?

Financial planning

Check out our financial planning calculator to help you and your family plan for the future. Continue to research and apply for local and national scholarships.

Review your college list

Weigh all of the factors that are most important to you and create a preliminary ranking of the schools on your list. Visiting a campus is the only way to give you a feel for what it's like to attend. Take campus tours or sit in on some classes. Book your UC San Diego visit here.


Continue to challenge yourself

Plan a well-balanced senior year that continues to challenge yourself and keeps in mind high school graduation and good academic standing.

Financial planning

Contact the Financial Aid offices of the universities you're interested in for their planning advice. Click here to contact the UC San Diego Financial Aid & Scholarship Office. Check with your guidance counselor for local scholarships and search for national scholarships.

Keep track

Add to or create a list of your academic, extracurricular and community service achievement and awards. This will be a big time-saver when completing college applications and creating a resume.

Start working on your application essays

Give yourself plenty of time to plan, write, review and get feedback from trusted adults. Learn more about writing your Personal Insight Questions for the UC application.

UC San Diego Summer opportunities

High school students are welcome to join UC San Diego in the summer. Enroll in a class or participate in summer programs, research opportunities, and more! Explore UC San Diego Summer opportunities.

12th Grade

12th Grade It's Go Time


Stay focused

While most universities look at your first three years of high school, your senior year performance is still important. Keeping your grades up and maintaining the activities you enjoy are a great way to help you gain admission into your top schools.

Last chance to take college entrance exams

Take the SAT | ACT | SAT Subject Tests as required by the universities you're applying to and request that your scores be sent to those schools.

Finalize your college list

Attend college fairs near you, visit universities and attend their on-campus and online recruitment and application events.

Complete the University of California application

The UC application opens August 1 and you can submit it November 1-30. Don’t wait until the last minute! Once you have completed your applications, be sure to review your information closely to make sure everything is accurate.

Apply for financial aid

The FAFSA and California Dream Act applications open for submission on October 1. The deadline for both is March 2. File ASAP for the best possible funding. Also, to qualify for the Cal Grant you must submit your FAFSA or California Dream Act and check in with your high school counselor to make sure your Cal Grant GPA verification form has been submitted.

Submit scholarship applications

Check with your guidance counselor for local scholarships. Explore national scholarships.


Follow up on your application

Make sure you received an application confirmation receipt and have requested all test scores be sent to the schools to which you applied. UC San Diego emails all applicants in December to confirm that we received your application.

Wait patiently

As you wait for schools to read your application and make decisions, maintain your grades and extracurricular involvement. Continue developing important academic skills to prepare you for college level work.


Make an informed decision

UC San Diego releases admission decisions and financial aid packages mid-March for freshmen. Attend the admit days of the schools to which you were admitted. Talk with your parents and/or guardians and Accept Your Offer by the national deadline, May 1.

Waitlist option

If you receive a waitlist decision from UC San Diego, and you wish to still be considered for UC San Diego you must opt-in to the waitlist. We will notify you if you are admitted at a later date but please consider all your options.

Meet deadlines

Once you accept your admissions offer, please review your Admissions Contract to fulfill all provisions. You are required to send your transcripts by July 1 to maintain your admission. Be sure to meet all deadlines for orientation sessions and housing contracts. Research and apply to summer transition programs at your university.

Celebrate and get ready for your future!

You and your parents and/or guardians should be very proud of your high school graduation and acceptance to college. Use the summer to spend time with your family and prepare for the next — and perhaps most exciting and transformational — stage of your life.

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