Students Studying on campus

Think College

A timeline for your college search.

Freshman Year

Think that you might want to be an engineer, nurse, marketing executive, teacher, meteorologist, FBI agent, dentist, or doctor someday? All of these professions and many others require college degrees, and going to college means you need to do some planning.

You’ll want to take high school classes that prepare you for admission to most colleges and give you the freedom to explore most academic majors once you start college.

  • Schedule college prep classes. Go above and beyond the required coursework and take full advantage of available opportunities. This dedication will show admission counselors you’re committed to your education and willing to challenge yourself.
  • Explore subjects you may choose as your major once you begin college. Visit websites like to see lists of majors and what each one entails. At Valpo, you’ll have the flexibility to choose from more than 70 undergraduate degree programs.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities, like service organizations. Colleges look for students who are passionate about their interests and serve their communities. Valpo students dedicate more than 220,000 hours to community outreach and service learning each year.

Sophomore Year

  • Pay close attention to the information you receive about different colleges and universities.
  • Observe what people do in their careers and ask for any advice they can share. Talk to current college students and see how they prepared.
  • Consult your guidance counselor about taking the PSAT and PLAN. Prepare for the test by visiting test prep sites.

Junior Year

College is the best investment most people ever make. With a college degree, you’ll have more job choices, more job security, and higher pay raises than your peers without degrees. Taking the right classes, earning good grades, and participating in school activities will put you on track for selecting the right college and career.

  • Attend college fairs and receptions in your area. Valpo hosts a regional college fair each March.
  • Receive your PSAT and PLAN results and prepare for the SAT and ACT.
  • Explore college websites like and create a list of colleges to investigate.
  • Contact admission counselors from your top schools with any questions and to find more information that may not be available online. Sign up for the spring SAT and ACT.
  • Visit several colleges and see what it’s like on campus. Go to to sign up for a Valpo Visit Day or schedule a personalized tour.

Senior Year

Fun is a big part of college life. Practice by participating in extracurricular activities. Involvement in clubs, groups, and activities outside of the classroom is a fun way to gain leadership skills. Quality experiences beat quantity, though, be sure to allow time for studying and hanging out with friends.

  • Prepare for the application process by confirming key deadlines and essay requirements and identifying teachers and employers to provide recommendations.
  • Contact the colleges on your list and request application information and early financial assistance forms.
  • Visit the top schools on your list. Sign up for an overnight visit at to get to know a current Valpo student and spend the night on campus. Two-thirds of Valpo students live on campus, so you’ll want to spend time getting to know the community and deciding if this is the right place for you.
  • Meet with a professor and/or sit in on a class. Valpo professors love to teach and will encourage you to be your best while helping you make connections between lessons learned in the classroom and applications in your future career.
  • Apply to Valparaiso University and other colleges with early admission or scholarship application deadlines. You can apply to Valpo online for free at — Dec. 1 is our priority date for some of our most rewarding scholarships.
  • Take the ACT and SAT.
  • Visit with college representatives at college fairs and at your high school.
  • Find out about scholarships and other opportunities for financial assistance. Visit to learn about Valpo’s process and stay in contact with your admission counselor for information.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) — the deadline for Indiana residents is March 1. Include the school code (Valpo’s is 001842) for all colleges you’ve applied to.
  • Submit the appropriate financial aid materials. Check for Valpo forms and deadlines.
  • Take any Advanced Placement exams.
  • Send your enrollment deposit and final high school transcript to the college you’ve decided to attend. Notify other schools of your final decision. The national reply date is May 1.
  • Sign up for summer orientation at the school of your choice. Registration for Valpo’s new-student orientation program, called FOCUS, opens early March.
  • Receive information from your college about housing, roommates, advising, insurance and health plans, meal plans, and more.