Comprehensive College Prep Checklist

Campus visits, applications, scholarships: there are many pieces to preparing for college! In this blog post, we outline the basics, but we also offer some ideas for college prep that you may not have considered. Wherever you’re at in the college process, this list can help you stay on track!


  • Stay committed to your classes and keep your GPA up. Your grades are not the most important thing about you—but they do matter and can help with admission and scholarships.
  • Learn how you can take advantage of honors, AP, and PSEO classes.
  • Connect with your high school guidance counselor and make sure you’re on track to graduate.

Career exploration

  • Schedule an informational interview with someone who has an interesting job.
  • Do some research on careers that interest you. Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook which provides information like average salaries, projected job growth, and education requirements for nearly any career you can think of.
  • Research possible college majors. (Psst… Bethel offers 100+ areas of study!)

College search

  • Browsing the web is a great place to start your college search. Check out search engines like Cappex or College Insight to find colleges that match your preferences.
  • Schedule an on-campus visit if you can—or ask about virtual visit options if you can’t make it to campus. Bethel offers a variety of visit opportunities.
  • Be aware of changing admissions requirements. Some schools are going “test optional.” For example, Bethel no longer requires an ACT or SAT score for students with a GPA of 3.2 and higher!


  • Find a cause that’s important to you and volunteer.
  • Learn a new language or develop a new skill by taking a free online course through an organization like Khan Academy or edX. You won’t get credit—but you’ll learn a lot! Your local library may have some opportunities, too.
  • Check with your school to see what extracurricular activities are available and get involved! You can also visit a college’s website to learn more about their extracurriculars.


  • Learn about what kind of financial aid is out there.
  • Start a list of scholarships you might qualify for. Look online and check with your high school guidance counselor.
  • Get a part-time job and start saving part of your paycheck for college expenses.

Relationship building

  • Develop connections with your teachers and community. You’ll need references when you apply for colleges and scholarships.
  • Say thank you to those teachers, community leaders, mentors, and parents who have helped you get this far.
  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Rest up, seek help if you need it, and take time to reflect on the future. At Bethel, we offer students a variety of resources to help students care for their wellbeing.

Time management and organization

  • Make a schedule so you use your time wisely—even during the summer!
  • Be sure you have a professional-looking email address for college applications. Use some variation of your name—and numbers, if you must. Example: or
  • Get used to checking your email. This is likely the main way colleges will be communicating with you!

Want to know more about preparing for college at Bethel? Contact your admissions counselor! They’re experts on the Bethel experience and are willing to help with your college search however they can.