Ready : What You Need to Know
By the time you graduate from high school, most jobs will require a college degree. If you want to be able to support a family, and have the things you want in life—like a home and a car—then earning a college degree is your best option.Whether you go to a four-year university, to community college, or to a technical or vocational school, if you choose to advance your education past high school, you’re choosing a better life for yourself.
College admissions offices decide who gets into college, and they don't just look at your grades. They like to see that you have been involved in activities, have challenged yourself, and have some leadership experience. Think “big picture.” Your college applications will be a snapshot of who you are—what do you want colleges to see in that snapshot? You can always add or remove things to that picture, and you can get started now.
You will also need to have letters of recommendation for your college application, so make sure your teachers, advisors, and coaches get to know you and see your commitment to your education and life goals.
You might be worried about money and paying for school, but don’t let that stop you. There are a ton of opportunities for financial aid and scholarships. If you want it, you can make it happen! (Learn how to avoid scholarship scams and identity theft as you look for financial aid and then attend college.)
College Credit in High School
Dual-credit programs allow high school students to enroll in college-level courses, either at their own school or at their local community college. Not all schools offer every option, so interested students should talk to their high school counselor. Check the OSPI Dual Credit website for comprehensive information, or visit the program links below.
Advanced Placement (AP) Programs
Advanced Placement programs enable students to take college-level courses while in high school. Students may earn college credit or move into higher-level college courses by taking AP exams.
International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs
High-quality programs of international education are offered to a worldwide community of schools. Three programs for students aged 3-19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world.
The Running Start program in Washington allows 11th and 12th grade students to take college courses at Washington’s community and technical colleges and at Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Washington State University, and Northwest Indian College.
College Admission Standards
Minimum college admission standards serve as an academic road map for middle and high school students. The minimum standards do not guarantee admission but do establish a foundational level of academic achievement needed to do successful college work. More information available is available from the Washington Student Achievement Council.
Check out the dual-credit lookup tool to find out how your AP, IB, or Cambridge test scores apply as college credit.
Residency and Citizenship
Your residency and citizenship status can have an impact on things like financial aid and the cost of tuition. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please visit our page on residency and citizenship.