College Prep for 11th Grade Students

11th Grade College Prep Checklist

Take advantage of all of the opportunities offered as you continue to move through high school and consistently meet with your school representative to ensure your goals are met.

Use this checklist to help get prepared. As you cross off tasks on your list, Our Dakota Dreams will be by your side every step of the way.


  • Start strategically — Talk with your school counselor about your options and plans for life after high school. This will help you take advantage of opportunities to prepare over the next two years.
  • Inquire about test dates for the ACT and/or SAT — You will need to register up to six weeks ahead of time.
    • Find ACT and SAT test dates and register up to six weeks ahead!
    • Explore ACT prep and/or SAT prep courses or investigate self-guided study plans.
    • Consider whether you’d like to take the PSAT in October. A high score on the PSAT could qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • Attend college fairs to learn as much as you can about the colleges that interest you.
  • Begin planning college visits. These visits are a great way to get a feel for the schools — fall and winter break are good times to go!
  • Sign up for extracurricular activities to gain new skills, make friends, and boost your resume for scholarship and college applications.
  • Sign up for spring courses that could save you time and money in college. A tougher course load may pay off with scholarships and help you get admitted to the college of your choice.


  • Sign up for the ACT and/or SAT, if you haven’t already.
  • Take the ACT in February.
  • Attend college fairs to learn as much as you can about the college(s) of your interest.
  • Develop your senior schedule and organize your individual graduation plan. Make sure you’re on track by reviewing your high school curriculum requirements. Talk to a school representative if you have questions.
    • Qualify for the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship by taking the right coursework.
    • Consider taking some dual credit classes in your senior year to begin to earn college credits.
    • Consider taking the new Year-Long College Algebra Course your senior year. You will earn three college algebra credits by completing this year-long course. (The fall portion focuses on college algebra preparation, while the second semester is a dual credit college algebra course.) Talk to your school counselor to see if this course is right for you!
  • Plan more campus visits for spring break — Check to see if any colleges offer an overnight visit. These can help you get a good feel for the school.
  • Work hard in your state assessments — Your assessment scores may come in handy with college admissions!
  • Participate in South Dakota’s Week of Work to explore, experience, and engage in work-based learning opportunities!
  • Decide if you should take Advanced Placement exams in May — Talk it through with your counselor.
  • Think about lining up a summer job or internship.
  • Contact SD Department of Labor & Regulation and ask about the Work Experience program through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). If qualified, you could be eligible for a paid internship while building your resume,



  • Organize your personal learning plan — Work with your school counselor to meet all your goals.
  • Keep exploring your career interests and related college programs.
  • Attend open houses and learn as much as you can about colleges you are interested in.
  • Visit with admissions representatives who come to your high school.
  • Write a resume — Your teachers and school counselor can help!
  • Familiarize yourself with college application requirements – when applications are due, if they require essays, or recommendations? Create a strategy.
  • Start investigating private and public sources for financial aid — Take note of scholarship deadlines and plan ahead.
  • Watch the Paying for College SD video series and invite your parents to do the same.

Related Resources

College Exploration
SD Public College & Majors
Finding Your Fit
Career Exploration
Dual Credit & Advanced Placement
Pre-College Testing
Career Launch SD
Mapping Your Future
Paying for College
College Readiness Coursework