College and Career Planning 
    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA) website suggests middle school students can get started on college/career planning by doing the following:
    • Think about college/career planning as an important part of your future.  Discuss your ideas with your family and people at school.
    • Start saving for college/career post-high school education if you have not already.
    • Research the high schools to see if there are special programs that match your interest.
    • Take challenging courses to prepare you for high school.
    • Develop study skills that will be needed for success in high school.
    • If you are having difficulty in a subject area, don't give up.  Seek out help from a teacher, tutor, or mentor.
    • Visit FASFA to explore student aid and also a variety of careers. 
    • Be involved in community-based activities that let you explore your interests.
    • Speak with adults who have jobs you find interesting to find out more about what education is needed and what is required on the job.
    The Realities of College and Career Readiness
    Many students and families have the idea that graduation from high school automatically prepares a person for college or for the world of work. However, current information about the readiness of high school graduates indicates otherwise. The ACT test results reveal that only 47-54% of graduates are ready for college level reading and math. Only 33% are prepared for college science courses. Many college freshman are required to enroll in expensive remedial courses and many actually drop out because of their unpreparedness.
    Having a plan far in advance to pay for college is essential also. Savings plans are always an option, but most students take advantage of federal financial aid and/or scholarships. It's important for your student to know that anyone who wants to can go to college. Money issues should never be put up as a roadblock along that pathway.
    Important College Preparation Links 
    Explore all types of colleges and universities.
    Complete the free application for student grants, loans, and federal scholarships.
    Determine your future goals and how to achieve them.
    U.S. Department of Education's official page for information about grants, loans, work-study, and tax credits for education and how to apply for them.
    A free, standards-based college planning and career exploration program for middle school and high school students.  
    Explore over 550 careers by videos.