12th Grade: This is your year.

There’s still a lot to do, but this is the year it all pays off. Stay focused on the colleges or training programs for which you plan to apply and/or get organized for your spring job search.  Ask for letters of recommendation. Make a budget for next year and think about what your choices will require. , If you’re hoping for financial aid, be sure to put in the time to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It’s time-consuming but totally worth it. Soon you’ll have an exciting decision to make about what’s next.

Celebrate your next big step!

Next Steps

Keep an eye out for important scholarship and financial aid information that might come in the mail or to your email address. Check with your counselor to see if there are any opportunities you should be aware of or what else you could be eligible for.

Next Steps

Now is the time to let your counselor know what you are planning to do after high school. Counselors can help connect you with the right resources and advise you on the application process. By doing just a bit of preparation before going into these conversations, you can ensure that you get the most out of their time.

Next Steps

  • Reference this guide to stay on task: 
  • Ask about careers that are commonly available in your area, learn about major employers, and get your counselor’s thoughts on how you might start a job search.

Employers, colleges, and training schools will look at what you accomplished your senior year. Stay focused on your classwork and maintain a commitment to your extracurricular activities.

Next Steps

  • If you haven’t done so, make a list of all your school and community service activities along with high school classes and awards. This list will help when it’s time to start filling out applications.
  • Consider finding an internship in a field that interests you so you get an idea of what it’s like to work in that environment.
  • Check out this article about the importance of extracurricular activities. 
  • Keep studying!

Make a tracker showing the application deadlines for apprenticeship programs, college or training program admissions, or military service. You can also keep a list of jobs you’ve applied for, so you can keep track of when it might be appropriate to follow up with employers. If you plan to go on to further schooling, be sure to include the deadlines for financial aid, and scholarships. Make sure to use this sheet to keep track of when you submit each form and confirm with your counselor that transcripts, test scores, and recommendations have all been submitted.

Next Steps

Now is a great time to look at the institutions on your list because classes are in session and you are better able to meet and talk with students and instructors. You may even be able to sit in on a class or two. Call ahead to schedule tours, appointments, and even an overnight visit.

Next Steps

  • Use the Next Steps Idaho Colleges Directory to find contact information for state schools and start planning your visit.
  • If you can’t visit in-person, look for a virtual tour on the school’s website – many show campus facilities like classrooms, housing, and recreational areas. 
  • Attend as many college and career fairs and financial aid workshops as possible.
  • Ask your counselor if any colleges will be hosting information sessions at your school.
  • Take along our list of things to think about while you’re on a campus visit and take notes so you can remember the things you liked, and those you didn’t like.

Use the information you’ve gathered from visits, interviews, and your own research to decide which schools and programs you will apply to. It’s okay to apply to schools that you think will be more difficult to get into. But it’s also important to put a few safety options (where you’re pretty sure you’ll get in) on your list.

Next Steps

Next Steps 

Think about who knows you best: your accomplishments, the challenges you’ve faced, your unique strengths, and personality traits. Decide whom you’re going to ask and give them plenty of notice. The most thoughtful and personal letters are those that are not rushed.

Next Steps

  • Check out this article about how to get a great letter of recommendation.
  • Schedule appointments with each letter writer to discuss your goals and ambitions so they’ll be more prepared to write about you.
  • Remind them of your accomplishments, your hobbies or extracurricular activities, and any obstacles you’ve overcome. Provide writers with a copy of your high school resume and brag sheet so they have a quick point of reference.
  • Give letter of recommendation forms (if required) to those you have chosen, along with stamped, addressed envelopes so they can send them directly to the colleges or employers. Don’t forget to call out the application deadline for each.

You may need a higher score to meet admission requirements or to be eligible for certain scholarships. Or you may be taking the test for the first time if you did not take it last year. Try to get the highest score possible to maximize admissions and scholarship opportunities.

Next Steps

You will need your parent’s tax information from the previous year to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Next Steps

  • Collect and review your financial aid information.
  • Get a three-ring binder to organize all the paperwork so you have original documents together and can make copies when needed (seriously).
  • Attend financial aid workshops with your parents or adults who are helping you complete your applications.

This process takes some time and effort and is best started in the fall, as some Idaho schools have priority deadlines as early as December. Be ready to spend a couple of hours gathering the documents you need and filling out the form completely. The time spent will be worth it.

Next Steps

  • Create your FSA ID. Each student, and one parent of each dependent student, will need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA process on fafsa.gov.  
  • Get an overview of the FAFSA here.
  • Download the worksheet and guide for submitting your FAFSA online here.
  • Complete and submit the FAFSA online. You can submit the form anytime after starting this October for the following fall semester. The deadline for scholarship applications from the state of Idaho is March 1 and some colleges require earlier submission.
  • Check your email and submit all required follow-up documentation. Your counselor can help you check to make sure you have completed all the steps.
  • Wait for your financial aid determination letter and subsequent offer letters from each college you’ve applied to before making any decisions.
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Career Readiness Resources

12th Grade
Pathway Plan

You have made it to your last year of high school. Congratulations! You’ve used this Career Pathway Plan, to get you where you are: on-track to graduate. Before you leave high school to pursue a career, a certificate program, or college, there are a few things you should start wrapping up in order to be successful after graduation.

A group of students in a library reviewing a textbook together.
A desk with homework and a student's hand holding a pen

Get Started

Pick five tasks from this list of activities to prepare for life after high school. The more you complete, the better prepared you’ll be. By completing even 5 of them, you’ll be that much closer to having a plan.
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Adulting Ahead

You’re nearing the finish line. No matter where your path will take you after high school, completing these activities can help ensure you'll get off to a strong start.