Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
Iowa College Aid


Prepare Apply Finance Decide Go

What is college preparedness?

As early as elementary school, it is important to begin preparing students to think about what they want to do when they complete high school. This can be done in various ways, such as college and career fairs, hosting guest speakers and panels, including younger students in activities, and coordinating college visits.

Why is college preparedness important?

College awareness and exploration are essential on a student's path to postsecondary success. By exploring college programs and career options, students ensure their academics and extracurricular involvement position them to enter and succeed in a college that will meet their academic, social, and emotional needs. Early college and career exploration leads students to:

  • Have time for more than one campus visit to the college they are interested in.
  • Choose colleges that offer programs in their desired areas of study.
  • Learn about financial aid options in advance, allowing more time for families to prepare.
  • Apply to colleges and universities that are an academic match and a good college fit.

Alarmingly, qualified first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students are less likely to apply to college and more likely to under match—a term to describe students who apply to or attend a college that is less selective than their academic ability would indicate. As a result, these students are less likely to persist and complete college degrees. 

How does Course to College support college preparedness?

Course to College programming enhances district plans, provides strategies to build a college-going culture, and supports school staff in coordinating exploration opportunities. Schools participating in the Course to College program receive supportive resources and materials through a Shared Resource Folder and technical assistance from Iowa College Aid to best use these resources. Resources for college preparedness include weekly collaboration calls with other schools, a campus visit toolkit, a match and fit worksheet for students, and more.

Register for Course to College

How do Iowa high schools support college preparedness?

  • Build college and career preparation into all grade levels.
  • Design lesson plans or class sessions to introduce different careers.
  • Invite guest speakers and host a panel discussion in the classroom or as an assembly.
  • Coordinate college and job site visits.
  • Invite college and career reps to host booths at a college/career fair.
  • Involve all district staff in school-wide events (such as "Wear Your College T-shirt Day").
  • Invite all students to attend school-wide events.
  • Involve younger students in supporting older students by making posters, writing letters, etc.

Please email us for more information.