These steps will help juniors narrow their college choices, and will help seniors prepare for the college application process.

Step 1: Research colleges and create a list of potential schools.

  • Talk to college admission representatives who visit your school.
  • Attend a College Fair or Educational Planning Program to learn about colleges in Nebraska and across the country.
  • Use our College Profiles to match colleges with your interests – and then check out the colleges’ websites.

Step 2: Go on campus visits.

This is one of the most important steps in finding the right fit for college. Follow these tips for a successful campus visit, and check out these questions to ask while on campus.

Step 3: Take college entrance exams.

  • You’ll take the ACT entrance exam during your junior year, and some students also take the SAT. Retake the exams in the fall of your senior year to get the best score possible. Colleges use your best score to award scholarships and to make admission decisions.
  • Visit ACT and the College Board for sample questions, test dates, registration, and fees. Click here for test-prep options.
  • If you plan to attend a community college, they may require you to take a placement test such as Accuplacer or Companion. Contact the college for details.

Step 4: Apply for admission.

Narrow your list of colleges and apply to your top 3-4 schools in the fall of your senior year. Most colleges will require an application and fee, your official high school transcripts, and your official ACT/SAT test scores.  Ask if the admission application is used to award college-based scholarships.

Step 5: Apply for financial aid.

Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at on or after October 1 of your senior year. See the Paying for College section for details.

Step 6: Complete scholarship applications.

Some scholarships come directly from the college and some are from local or national donors. Follow these Scholarship Tips as you complete scholarship applications.

Step 7: Select a college.

In the spring of your senior year, compare your top colleges and make your final decision. Then, complete these tasks:

  • Sign up for your college’s online student account or portal.
  • Submit the application form and deposit for campus housing.
  • Register for new-student orientation.
  • Notify the other schools of your decision and decline their awards.
  • Apply for student and/or parent loans, if needed.