Your path to college starts now!

A college-going guide for incoming high school freshman and their families.

As you look forward to the next four years of high school, your college planning journey is also beginning. From the courses you take to your grades and financial planning, it’s time to get college ready!

Plan your high school courses

Classes you take in high school are the key to getting into college. Work with your high school counselor to complete the following courses:

  • 4 years of English
  • 4 years of math
  • 3 years of lab science
  • 2 years of social science
  • 2 years of a second language
  • 1 year of fine arts or career and technical education

It’s also important to study hard and earn good grades. Students must take the courses listed above and earn a 3.0 GPA (with some exceptions) to qualify for assured admission to Arizona’s public universities – Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona.

Note: NAU requires 14 core courses to more closely align with Arizona high school graduation requirements.

Paying for college

Attending college is an investment in your future!

There are many different financial aid options, scholarships and grants designed to help every student. Here are just a few tips to get started:

  • Understand the types of financial aid, the sources they come from and how to apply for aid.
  • Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during your senior year of high school is the first step to access financial aid.
  • Learn how your family can save for college with a state-sponsored college savings plan called a 529 Plan.

Arizona Promise Program
Arizona also has a statewide financial aid program that is making higher education more accessible and affordable for Arizona students and families. The Arizona Promise Program is a guaranteed scholarship program for that ensures all tuition and fees are covered at Arizona’s public universities for qualifying low-income Arizona students with federal Pell Grants.

Earn college credit in high school

There are ways to earn college credit while you’re in high school – advanced learning programs and exams or dual enrollment programs.

  • Dual enrollment — Dual enrollment is an opportunity to take college-level courses in high school. By successfully completing these classes, you’ll earn credit for both high school and college. Arizona students who qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch can also get tuition assistance. Learn more here
  • AP courses and exams — By taking AP courses and exams in high school, you have the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both. Learn more here.
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)​ — CLEP exams can be taken before or during enrollment at any of Arizona’s three public universities to earn college credit based on the knowledge you learned in high school. Learn more here.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) ​— By taking the IB diploma program and courses in high school, you have the opportunity to earn college credit in high school. Learn more here.
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