College and Career Planning

Three students visiting a college campus

A college education is more important than ever before. The Department of Education of New York City is here to ensure all students graduate from high school ready for college and the 21st-century workforce.

Preparing your Child for College and Careers

Now is the right time to start thinking about college and careers. No matter what grade your child is in, you can help them begin preparing for their future.

Families of Kindergarten Students

It is never too early to begin saving and planning for the future. Visit to learn about the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program. This free program is offered in partnership with the nonprofit NYC Kids RISE. All kindergarten students will be automatically enrolled to receive a free NYC Scholarship Account, the first $100 credit and opportunities to receive more money over time, unless their families choose not to participate. Visit the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program page to learn more about the program, including eligibility, opting out, and our partnership with NYC Kids RISE.

Families of Elementary and Middle School Students

  • Encourage your child to read every day for at least 30 minutes. Reading will help them do well in every subject.
    • Visit for age appropriate articles and to help build literacy.
  • Talk to your child about how important it is for them to go to school every day. Attendance is a strong indicator of your child’s academic success.
  • Help your child develop good habits such as being punctual, organized and working well with others. Tracking daily and weekly homework assignments is a great way to build time management organization skills. These are all habits they will need to be successful in college and in their career.
  • Help your child explore their interests. Encourage them to join clubs or programs at their school and in their local community, and ask them about their favorite subjects, hobbies, and activities.
  • Encourage your child, regardless of how they are doing in school, to go to college. All students, including those with disabilities or multilingual learners, can go to college.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of middle school grades, and New York State exams for the high school admissions process. Students should begin researching high schools and preparing for their high school exams prior to seventh grade.
  • Attend parent-teacher conferences and school activities. Talk with teachers about how your child is doing in school and monitor your child’s progress.

Families of High School Students

Continue doing the activities mentioned above and:

  • Talk to your child about getting good grades in high school and make sure your child is on track to graduate high school. Your child needs to get a high school diploma or get a GED/HSE to apply to college.
    • To graduate from high school, your child needs 44 credits and pass five Regents Exams.
    • Visit the Graduation Requirements page to learn more about credits and state exams your child needs to graduate from high school.
  • Encourage your child to take challenging classes and do well in those classes.
  • Visit at least two colleges with your child every year and attend college fairs. Take a list of questions and listen to what they think about each college.
  • Help your child prepare for the SATs. Some colleges also require college tests called ACTs.
  • Meet with your child’s school counselor and teachers, ask them to share information on colleges that match your child’s interests, paying for college, and begin planning for their future as a team.
  • You can also use The College Board's Family Action Plan for high school students and the First in the Family website to plan for their high school years.
  • Encourage your child to take challenging classes and do well in those classes.

Educators can find resources to support students in college and career planning on WeTeachNYC. You can also read about graduation requirements and college entrance exams.