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The California State University

Middle school

It’s never too early to start planning for college. Start by thinking about what you would like to do for a career and map out a plan to get there. Here are some common questions and answers to help you get started on your road to college.

Why do you go to college?
College offers the opportunity to explore many different interests and ideas, to meet a variety of people, and to learn about yourself. You go to college to earn a degree (like an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree). The degree demonstrates that you have obtained the knowledge and skills required for many careers. A college degree can help you earn more money, opportunities and jobs.

How do I prepare for college?
Here are things you can do beginning in middle school:

  • Explore your interests.
  • Get help from your teacher and family when you need it.
  • Talk to your school counselor about courses that will prepare you for college.
  • Take English.
  • Read lots of books.
  • Take pre-Algebra.
  • Study hard, turn in your schoolwork on time, and do your best to earn good grades (As and Bs).

For more information on preparing for college, visit

  • Take pre-Algebra or Algebra I or another rigorous math course and aim for good grades.
  • Take a language other than English.
  • Take the ACT EXPLORE exam, a tool that helps you plan for high school and college.
  • Begin your student planner on CSUMentor.
  • Focus on your classes and keep up with homework assignments. This will help you master the study skills you need to be successful in high school and college.
  • Aim for As and Bs in all your classes; focus on homework and develop good study skills.
What is a college?

What is a college?

A college or a university is a place where you can go to learn about particular subjects you are interested in after you graduate from high school. Subjects you may want to study include history, art, math, science, politics, the environment, graphics, computers and many others. You can study almost any topic that interests you!

9th Grade

9th Grade

Start taking “a-g” courses and aim for As and Bs.

More about 9th grade

What is a career?

What is a career?

A career is an occupation (job) or profession that often requires a college degree. You may not know what you want to be when you grow up, but think about the things you like to do and what careers match your interests.

Explore Campuses

Explore Campuses

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CSU—Explore a campus!


ACT (American College Testing)
AP (Advanced Placement)
CSU (California State University)
CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress)
EAP (Early Assessment Program)
ELM (Entry Level Mathematics Exam)
EPT (English Placement Test)
PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test)
SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)