College and Future Planning

Recommended High School Coursework for College Prep

  • English: 4 years, including literature and one year of composition
  • Mathematics: 3 years, including algebra, geometry, and algebra II
  • Natural Science: 3 years, including general science, biology, and chemistry or physics
  • Social Studies: 3 years, including American history, government, and economics
  • Foreign Language: 2-4 years of a single language
  • Computers: 1 year

Things to Consider When Looking for a College (pdf)

Finding the College for You (pdf)

Need Help Completing your FAFSA?

Need help completing the FAFSA? Iowa College Access Network (ICAN) is presenting events throughout the state, as well as at several locations in the Des Moines area, from October 1, 2016 through March 1, 2017. Receive professional help filing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), ask questions, get advice on paying for college, and learn about scholarships. For a complete list of dates, times and locations visit

DMACC Career logo

Parents and Students are encouraged to explore the DMACC Career Discovery Network. With Small Group Shadow Days juniors and seniors have the opportunity to meet with professionals and learn about and observe the career and employment opportunities within area businesses. All high school students (and their parents) are invited to one of their Career Discovery Day Events. Explore career pathways through hands-on activity sessions. For more information about spring dates and registration visit

Helpful Websites for College and Future Planning was created to provide students and parents with the know-how to plan and pay for college. This interactive website offers a variety of resources and tips to help you through each step of the process and provide you with the power to plan your future.

Big Future by The College Board

Big Future is a comprehensive website designed to help students make a plan for college, find colleges that fit their needs and interests, and explore ways to pay for their education.  The College Board is a non-profit organization offering programs and services that help students achieve college readiness and success in higher education. Programs include the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) program.

College Basics

This website offers a wealth of helpful information for students and families preparing for college, choosing colleges and paying for colleges.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Iowa College Access Network (ICAN)

Planning for a career and college, filing for financial aid and mastering your financial situation can be confusing and intimidating. For that reason, ICAN’s team of Student Success Advisors work directly with Iowa students and their families. Whether at one of eight ICAN locations, at a career and college access program in an individual community or school, through email or by phone, ICAN’s team of experts are here for every Iowan. All ICAN programs and services are offered without charge.

ICAN also produces a great resource for Spanish-speaking families sending a student to college:

My Next Move by O*NET

This is a great website by O*NET Online that has three helpful search tools:

1.) “I want to be a…” section helps students explore whatever career they type in the search box.

2.) “I’ll know it when I see it…” section helps students browse careers by various industries, which are in the drop-down menu.

3.) “I’m not really sure…” section helps students evaluate possible interests areas by completing the Interest Profiler.


 Follow this link for helpful information on passing the ASVAB test


Should I Choose an Ivy League School?

This resource gives interesting and helpful information about the history, meaning, and investment value of an Ivy League education.