College Planning

Our college and career planning program seeks to help students identify career interests and then apply to colleges that are good matches with regard to their aspirations, achievements, learning style and needs. Our Director of College and Career Planning oversees our overall college planning and standardized test programs, but all counselors work with students in the post high school planning process. We encourage parents and students to visit the various pages and links provided on our site to to see more post high planning and standardized testing information.

Call or stop in to the School Counseling Office any time to talk about colleges or to ask questions about the planning process.  School Counselors are available to assist students through every step of the college planning process.

College Prep Curriculum

While colleges have a wide variety of entrance requirements, generally students can prepare to meet college admission requirements by following this guideline of recommended courses: 

  • Four years of English including both literature and writing courses. 
  • Three years of mathematics including two years of algebra and one year of geometry. 
  • Three years of science including lab sciences. 
  • Three years of social studies. 
  • Two years of the same foreign language.
  • One year of visual and/or performing arts.

For more detailed information, please check with the college of your choice. 

The College Planning Process, Step by Step

Freshman and Sophomore Year

  • Understand that ALL grades are important as they are reflected in your GPA reported on college applications. 
  • Take rigorous courses that will help you prepare for college. 
  • Learn to organize your time with school, activities and home life. 
  • Learn how to study for tests.  
  • Understand the difference between homework and studying/preparing for classes/tests. 
  • Participate in various co-curricular activities, service, or volunteer work at school or in your community. 
  • Ask adults about their careers and schooling. 
  • Start recording activities and recognition awards in Family Connection.   
  • Work on developing leadership skills through various opportunities and activities

Sophomore Year:  Take the optional PreACT exam in November.  You will receive a robust score report to help you know what to focus on in your preparation for the ACT when taken in Junior year. 

Junior Year

  • Continue to document your leadership, service and co-curricular activities. College applications usually ask for this information. 
  • Take the optional PSAT exam in October. 
  • Make good use of your time at the National College Fair in October. Prepare questions to ask college representatives. 
  • Begin your college search by looking at colleges on the internet, using Family Connection and talking to teachers and friends. 
  • Talk with visiting college representatives when they are at Totino-Grace.  Students should check the College Rep Visit schedule on Family Connection. 
  • Begin visiting colleges throughout the school year. Remember to think about days off throughout the year when scheduling visits. 
  • Explore the many College & Career Links on this College Counseling web site. 
  • With your parents, attend the December 5, 2018 "College Planning Kick-Off" event at Totino-Grace. 
  • In December or January, attend your scheduled family appointment with your parents where you will discuss post-high planning with your counselor.  
  • Throughout the school year, prepare for the ACT by studying the ACT’s preparation booklet, taking an ACT prep class or working with a tutor. 
  • Take the ACT (or SAT) in April and/or June. 
  • If looking at Highly Selective Schools, take one or more SAT Subject tests in May or June.  Attend Totino-Grace's annual College Fair on April 11, 2019. 
  • Participate in the "College Application Boot Camp" in August, 2019, prior to your senior year.  
  • Students: Take responsibility for your college search. 
  • Parents: Assist, support, and supervise but don’t hover or smother.

Senior Year

  • If necessary, take the ACT in September or October.  
  • Encourage your parents to attend the Senior Parent meeting in October to get updated on the college application process occuring this year.   
  • Narrow down your college search (we recommend a portfolio of 4-7 potential colleges). 
  • Gather and organize your college applications either online or on paper.  
  • Become diligent in checking the Totino-Grace College Counseling website and Family Connection for information, deadlines, open houses, scholarships, etc. 
  • Check your high school transcript for accuracy. 
  • Complete your college applications to submit by the posted deadlines. 
  • Get teacher recommendations only when required. 
  • Finalize a college essay (only if required). 
  • Go to Family Connection to request to have an official copy of your transcript sent to colleges to which you are applying. 
  • Have parents attend the Senior Parent Meeting in October and the January Financial Aid Information Evening at Totino-Grace. 
  • Have your mid-year transcripts sent to colleges, only if necessary. 
  • Make your final post-high school decisions. Request your final transcript be sent to your college of choice
  • Avoid “senior slide.” It has negative consequences for your college/program success.


TG College Application Boot Camp

On July 31, August 1 and 2, 2018, Totino-Grace will offer a College Application Boot Camp for the Class of 2019. The camp will help students get organized early and reduce stress during their fall semester when many college applications are due.

Students may choose to attend either a morning (8:30 to 11:30 a.m.) or afternoon (12:00 to 3:00 p.m.) session. Counselors will help students get organized, start their college applications before senior year begins, learn important timelines and deadlines, review college choice strategies, write a college essay draft, and learn how to request letters of recommendation.  TG teachers will provide instruction and one-on-one support with the college essay.  

At the end of the 3-day camp, students will have:

  • A realistic college list
  • A jump start on the college essay
  • A jump start on college applications, including the Common Application
  • A process to request letters of recommendation
  • Strategies and resources to search for college scholarships
  • A strong understanding of Family Connection, software used in the college application process
  • The fee to attend the College Application Boot Camp is $75.  Students' accounts will be charged in August.  Deadline to register is July 1.  

Click HERE to register.

College Fairs and Pre-College Information Meetings

Each school year, colleges/universities and other organizations offer opportunities for Juniors (and, in some cases, Sophomores) to explore schools and gain valuable information about colleges.  As meeting dates become known to us, we will post events here.  Check back frequently in the fall and spring of each year for new dates.

Local Informational Meetings Offered by Colleges and Universities in Fall, 2018:

  • August 20 - Colleges That Change Lives - College fair including the 40 schools in the CTCL network.  Click HERE for college fair details in St. Paul. 
  • October 9 - Performing and Visual Arts College Fair - This national college fair is focused solely on colleges that have visual and performing arts programs.  It is held at the University of Minnesota-Ted Mann Concert Hall.  Click HERE for details.
  • October 24-25 - The National College Fair - Hundreds of colleges will be represented at Minnesota's largest college fair held at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Click  HERE for details.

TG College Fair

Sophomores and Juniors, and their Parents, are invited to attend Totino-Grace's annual College Fair on April 26, 2018 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.  Representatives from more than 90 colleges and universities will be present to share information about their unique programs. Students are asked to pre-register for the college fair at Print out the bar code and bring with you to the fair.  Colleges you are interested in may then easily scan your information.

College Rep Visits at TG

College Admissions Representatives: You can now go to to schedule an appointment with our high school. On the day of your visit, park in any space in the TG parking lot.  Enter through the front doors of Totino-Grace and check in at the Main Office.  You will then be directed to the Counseling Office.

Totino-Grace does not host for-profit institutions.

On the day of a visit, students are strongly encouraged to meet with the college representatives to learn more about the schools. Parents are also welcome to stop by TG on those days if they wish to talk with a particular college Admissions representative. Generally, college representatives visit during the lunch hours (10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.).


College and Career Links

  • CollegeBoard - Search by location, majors, cost and more
  • COLLEGEdata - Choose, prepare and calculate your admissions chances
  • College InSight - Compare information about affordability, diversity and student success
  • College Majors 101 - College major search and database
  • College Score Card  - US Department of Education college search tool
  • COLLEGENavigator - U.S. Department of Education search and data tool
  • College Results - Compare and examine college graduation rates
  • College/Scholarship Finder - Learn about traditional colleges and online schools
  • College Simply - Clear, easy to understand facts, comparisons, rankings and analysis to help simplify the college search process
  • Common Application Online - Easy source for college application deadlines
  • Degree Search - College degree search tool on University of Arizona website
  • eAdvisor - College major search tool on ASU's website
  • EducationPlanner - One-stop career and college planning site
  • Internship Guide - A guide to navigating student internship platforms
  • LenduEdu - A marketplace for student loans and student loan refinance, allowing users to compare up to 12 different student loan lenders  
  • Midwest Higher Education Compact - Information on multi-state tuition reciprocity
  • Minnesota Private Colleges - 17 private schools available in Minnesota
  • Minnesota State College and University System - 31 public colleges and universities in Minnesota
  • National Center for Education Statistics - The primary source for data on U.S. colleges and universities.
  • NACAC - National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook - Career information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Onet  - Occupation/Career Research Tool
  • Online Colleges - Affordable Online Colleges with Quality Programs
  • Peterson's (College and Career Site) - A 3-step college match tool
  • Princeton Review (College and Career Site) - 62 categories of college lists and rankings
  • Questbridge - Connects high achieving students from low income families with top universities
  • Transferology - Check to see if college credits you've earned (through PSEO or PACC) will transfer to the college you wish to attend
  • UCAN - University and  College Admission Accountability Network - Facts on private colleges and universities
  • Unigo - Hundreds of thousands of college reviews 
  • University of Wisconsin System -  2 and 4 year public colleges in Wisconsin

Virtual College Tours