Making Postsecondary Plans

Postsecondary planning should begin earlier than senior year. Counselors and other educators should also ensure that programming is focused on students identifying themselves as learners and college-goers. 

The Network for College Success has found that a strong, school-wide focus on postsecondary outcomes can improve students’ college access and success. A school-wide focus is especially important in areas with low social capital - i.e. a lack of college graduates in a school’s neighborhood boundary. The Network for College Success does not believe in a “one-size-fits-all” or prescriptive approach as students navigate to their best possible college choices. In order to ensure equitable outcomes for all students, postsecondary planning activities should be adapted to meet students at their current stage of adolescent development as well as addressing their specific needs.

Use the Tool Set

The full Making Postsecondary Plans Tool Set is available for download. The download includes the eight tools in this Tool Set.

PDF icon Download the Full Tool Set (PDF) v
Tool Name Type

Lesson Plan and Presentation: Junior College Match Day

The presentation and lesson plan from Kelly High School helps highly-qualified juniors understand the importance of match in the college application process.


College Access Grid

The Grid shows a student’s college match level based on their Unweighted GPA and ACT score.


College Application Progress (CAP) Report for Juniors

This sample tool from Schurz High School helps juniors understand their selectivity level and gives each student examples of local colleges matching their qualifications.


College Parent Guide

A parent guide from Lincoln Park High School that focuses on how families can utilize resources within the high school to help their children plan for life after graduation.

To read the guide, click here >


Lesson Plan: Orienting Juniors to Naviance

A lesson plan that introduces juniors to Naviance, a postsecondary planning software, so they can explore college options before senior year.


Exploring Institutional Graduation Rates

An exercise for students to compare college options by graduation rates, affordability, gender, and race using practical online tools. Students can use the nationally-vetted sources and tools to inform their college exploration.


Resource List for Postsecondary Advising

A list of websites that can be used by students - and adults who support them – to plan for life after graduation.


Senior Passport: Tracking Postsecondary Milestones

Two samples of a Senior Passport from Network for College Success partner schools, Shurz and Tilden High Schools.

To view Schurz’s Senior Passport, click here >