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College Planning Timeline

College Freshman Year

All college freshman year planning steps are shown.
College Planning steps are highlighted.

Check with the financial aid office at your institution for specific information on scholarships and any additional financial aid info they require.
Keep thinking about your skills, values and interests, and how they can connect to careers.
Keep your eyes open for internship and job shadowing opportunities arranged by your school.
Participating in campus clubs and organizations is a great way to get some experience and meet people.
Look for activities that fit with careers that interest you.
Keep your resume up to date.
Be sure to note any awards or scholarships you earn, and extra courses or workshops you participate in.
Continue to research scholarships and other awards that fit with your qualifications.
Students should submit a FAFSA for every year they'll be in school. The new FAFSA will open October 1 so be sure to submit it as quickly as possible. Note: The FAFSA will open in December 2023 (not October as normal).
If you're interested in a certain major, visit your professors during office hours.
You want to develop relationships with people in your field.
Talk to your academic advisor to make sure you're taking the right courses for your goals.
If you have a career in mind, research the academic qualifications thoroughly.
Arrange informational interviews with people in careers that interest you.
Interested in a part-time job for some extra income and work experience?
Be sure to consider your academic schedule before you commit.
Not sure exactly what you want to study in college?
Visit your campus career center for some assessments that can help.
Attend any career fairs offered at your school.
Try out courses in areas you'd like to explore a little further.
Your first year of college is a good time to test out survey classes - classes that give an overview of a certain area of study.
Think about the best way to spend your summer.
There are lots of options to explore: summer jobs, study programs, internship programs.


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OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.