Plan Your Future

8th Grade
Adult Learner

Important 8th Grade Activities

  • Consider High School Course Options

    As you register for 9th grade courses, talk with your school counselor about options such as honors, AP, Early College, and Career and College Promise.

  • Explore Ways to Save for College

    You can start saving with as little as $25 with the NC 529 Savings Plan.

  • Learn about Your Career Interests

    Try a career assessment to learn about yourself and careers that might be a good fit for you.

Important Freshman Activities

  • Check College Entrance Requirements

    Make sure you're on track to meet the course and grade point average requirements for college admission.  Ninth grade is when you start building your transcript with courses and grades that colleges consider.

  • Learn about Ways to Save and Pay for College

    Take a look at some of the many ways to make college affordable, and share them with your parent/guardian.

  • Discover College Preparation Opportunities for Summer

    Search the CFNC Student Enrichment Programs directory to discover opportunities such as camps, classes, or volunteering to help you prepare for college.

Important Sophomore Activities

  • Research College Options

    Use CFNC College Search to research two- and four-year colleges. You can filter, compare, sort, and save your favorites to help you plan your college visits.

  • Learn about College Entrance Tests

    Check out college entrance requirements as well as tools to help you prepare for the ACT and SAT.  Many colleges use entrance tests to predict your academic performance in college-level courses.

  • Explore Options for Earning College Credit in High School

    Look into the many options for earning college credit during high school such as Career and College Promise, Early College, and AP courses.

Important Junior Activities

  • Create Your FSA ID for FAFSA

    Create a username and password (FSA ID) so you'll be ready to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) next October.

  • Register for College Entrance Tests

    Use CFNC College Search to narrow your list of colleges, and determine if you'll need to take tests such as the ACT or SAT for admission.  Take the PSAT in your junior year if you want to participate in the National Merit Scholarship program.

  • Do an Online Practice Application for Admission

    Complete a practice application for admission on to become more familiar with what an actual application is like.  You can use to apply to most NC colleges and to send your official transcripts for free.

  • Start working on assessments at

    Not sure what you want to do after you graduate?  Begin completing the assessments you can find on and you may find a path you weren't even considering.

Important Senior Activities

  • Know Your Deadlines

    Narrow your list of college options and make a list of all the deadlines for admission applications and financial aid.  Many deadlines are in the fall and early winter.

  • Complete Your FAFSA and Residency Process

    Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) soon after it becomes available on October 1. Complete your NC Residency Determination Service (RDS) process so you'll qualify for state grants and in-state tuition.

  • Send Applications and Transcripts with the CFNC Application Hub

    Take advantage of the CFNC Application Hub where you can apply to NC colleges and send your official transcripts for free.  

  • Complete assessments at

    If you haven't already done so, visit and complete the assessments you'll find there.  These assessments will help you gain perspective on what courses you may to consider taking in college.

Important Adult Learner Activities

  • Match Your Career Goals to Educational Opportunities using provides updated career assessment and information that can help guide you to a career you'll love.

  • Explore Ways to Pay for College

    Learn about the many ways to make college affordable including scholarships, grants, work-study, savings, and loans.  

  • Consider Your Transfer Options

    Use Transfer Planner to learn about transfer opportunities, especially if you've already earned college credits and would like to pick up where you left off.

  • Explore Careers with Reality Check

    Create your own plan for budget and lifestyle, and then see careers that match. It pays to look ahead with the Reality Check tool.

Important Activities for Savers

  • Discover the Tax Benefits of the NC 529 Program

    Learn about the federal and NC income tax benefits when your withdrawals are used to pay for qualified college and K-12 educational expenses.

  • Explore Investment Options

    Choose one or more investment options, whatever mix meets your investment objectives, time remaining until college, and tolerance for risk.  

  • Calculate How Your Savings Could Grow

    Use the Savings Calculator to see how saving on a regular basis can make a big difference.

Profile Icon
Try the Career Interest Profiler

Tell us about your interests, and we'll suggest careers for you to explore.

Career Interest Profiler
Profile Icon
Check out Your College Planning Dashboard

Take a look at all you can do with your CFNC college planning dashboard.

Profile Icon
Take a Look at Scholarships

It's a great time to learn about scholarship options and talk to your parent/guardian.

Profile Icon
Learn about Ways to Pay for College

Learn about scholarships, grants, work-study, savings, and loans.

Ways to Pay for College
Profile Icon
October is NC Countdown to College Month!

Don't miss all the activities to help you with Residency, FAFSA, and applications for admission.

NC Countdown to College
Profile Icon
Information Hub for Adult Learners

Returning to school can seem overwhelming. That’s why there’s a new place on just for you!

Take the Next Step
Profile Icon
Start Your NC 529 Plan

It only takes a few minutes to enroll, and you can start with just $25 a month.

Start Your NC 529

Introducing a new partnership between and and are now working together to bring you the most accurate and up-to-date information available.  With this new partnership, you will have access to a wide variety of helpful tools, assessments, and data that will help you plan your future.

Whatever your goal, it all starts with a plan

Whether you’re a high school student or an adult learner, looking for a two-year, four-year, or advanced degree, you need a plan to get where you want to go. CFNC’s tools and resources will keep you on track, so you can do anything you can imagine

Listen to this parent share how she used to help her student plan for high school, college, and career.

We Make It Easy To Set And Reach Your Goals

Our planning tools, timelines, test prep resources and financial planning guidance are here to help you chart your course for college.

191021 AB CFNC 7562 ELON
Learn About Yourself

Don’t know what you want to do yet? These quizzes will help you match your interests and skills with potential careers.

Browse Assessments
191021 AB CFNC 7145 ELON F
ACT and SAT Preparation

Learn about the ACT and SAT and find tools to help you do your best.

Test Preparation