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Countdown to SUNY: 10th Grade Plan

Get ready for college tests.

Begin your year by practicing and then taking the PSAT and/or PLAN (PSAT is the pre-SAT test and PLAN is the pre-ACT test). Consult your counselor about taking either or both of these tests in the 10th grade to help you prepare for the SAT or ACT college entrance exams, which you will take in the 11th and/or 12th grades.

Visit the College Board and ACT Web sites to learn about these assessments and take the practice tests.

Get to know yourself.

Learn more about your personality, skills, abilities, likes, and dislikes. An understanding of these will assist in determining what career will bring you the most satisfaction. There are many assessments available to assist you in learning more about yourself such as The Campbell™ Interest and Skill Survey® (CISS®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), John Holland's SDS - Self-Directed Search, and Strong Interest Inventory®. Check with your counselor to see which are available through your high school.

Talk to your family, friends, teachers, and counselor and ask for their perceptions about what you do well. Then, ask yourself questions and make a list of your answers. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What are 5 things I like to do?
  • Which classes do I enjoy?
  • Which classes do I least enjoy?
  • How would my friends describe me?
  • How would my family describe me?
  • What 5 adjectives describe me?
  • What are 5 of my strengths?
  • What are 5 of my weaknesses?
  • What 3 accomplishments am I most proud?
  • What careers or professions are attractive to me?

Explore careers that interest you.

Consider volunteering or job shadowing in a career that interests you. Ask people whose jobs look or sound interesting to explain what they really do and how they got to where they are now. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Describe your typical day.
  • What did you study in college?
  • What courses best prepared you for your career?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What do you like least about your job?
  • What advice do you have for someone interested in this career?

Research job trends.

Find out more about the careers that interest you. What level of education is required? What is the average salary? What are the expected job prospects? The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics offers answers to these questions and provides information about occupational projections by state, as well as career exploration information.

Make a list of colleges that interest you.

  • Do you wish to attend a large, medium, or small-sized college or university?
  • Close to home or far away?
  • Public or private?
  • Two-year or four-year?
  • How important is cost?
  • How important are clubs, activities and sports?
  • Does your list include colleges and universities that offer your areas of academic interest?

Explore free college search programs such as the College Board's College Search and ACT's College Search to assist you in finding colleges that are a good match.

Don’t forget . . .

  • The courses you take in high school are important.
  • Take academics seriously and keep your grades up.
  • Get to know your teachers, counselor and principal.
  • Get involved.
  • Make the most of your summer.
  • Add your 10th grade courses and test scores (if applicable) to your SUNY Online Academic Record (SOAR).

Explore ways to pay for college

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