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info@wsac.wa.gov | (360) 753-7800
917 Lakeridge Way SW | Olympia, WA 98502

Plan Your Future

Your future awaits.

Don't let COVID-19 derail your plans for after high school.

  • Start planning your college or career pathway today! Washington has many options and supports to help you get the education or training you need.
  • Financial aid and scholarships are available to keep costs down.
  • High schools and colleges continue to be flexible about everything from graduation and course requirements to test scores and admissions policies.

Learn more and access related resources in the tabs below.
 


Need help?
Text "Hi Otter" to 360-928-7281.

 

Start planning your college or career pathway today.

Career exploration

Career exploration

The type and level of education you might need varies depending on the job or career you're interested in.

Four-year colleges

Four-year colleges

Washington offers outstanding college options. Every school is different. Keep track of each college’s requirements, and make sure you meet deadlines for applications and related materials.

  • Start working on application essays early. Senior year is a busy time! Starting essays now is a great way for juniors to prepare for college applications during remote learning. 
  • The building is closed, but help is still available. Reach out to your counselor and teachers for help gathering application materials, including forms, test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.
     
COVID information & resources
  • Do a virtual campus visit to check out colleges from the comfort of home.
  • Read more about Washington colleges' commitment to students during the COVID-19 crisis here.

Community and technical colleges

Community and technical colleges

Washington offers outstanding college options. Washington state community and technical colleges (CTCs) offer a wide variety of programs. CTCs are typically open to anyone who has a high school diploma or GED. Students can train to enter into a job directly, complete the first two years of a bachelor's degree and then transfer, or pursue applied bachelor's degrees for specific career fields. 

COVID information & resources

Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship

Looking to step right into a good-paying job? In an apprenticeship, you can earn money while learning a trade.

Planning resources

Planning resources

Planning ahead increases options and reduces stress. 

Choose a path

Choose a path

Once you make a choice, confirm that the college or program you plan to attend has everything they need. 

  • Check in with the admissions and financial aid offices. Make sure you know what the enrollment process is and when deadlines occur.
  • Do any necessary paperwork and make sure your file is complete.
  • Submit any required deposits. 
  • Double-check your FAFSA status. You may need to update your tax information or provide additional documentation. If you filed a WASFA, check with the financial aid office to make sure they don't need any additional information.

Financial aid and scholarships are available to help.

Applying for aid

Applying for aid

There are affordable college and career training opportunities for everyone. The first, best step is to apply for financial aid

  • Attention seniors! Applications for the 2021-22 school year are now available. 
  • Think you can’t afford college or career education? Think again! Students and families can use the financial aid calculator to estimate potential financial aid. 
  • File your FAFSA or WASFA financial aid application now. It's never too late—you can still get money for winter or spring quarter 2021. There are many sources of money and kinds of aid available to continue your education—the only way to know for sure if you qualify is to apply.
  • If you are not eligible to complete the FAFSA due to immigration status, you may still qualify for some state financial aid and scholarships using the WASFA.
  • Juniors, get started on the financial aid process by talking to your parents or guardians about the process and registering for an FSA ID.
COVID information & resources
  • If someone in your family has lost a job or is working less, colleges may be able to provide more financial aid. Learn more about how to request changes to financial aid if your circumstances have changed.

Application resources and support

Application resources and support
  • The 12th Year Campaign is hosting virtual financial aid info and filing events to help students and families apply for college and financial aid.
  • Seniors who are enrolled in the College Bound Scholarship can sign up for Otterbot, a free texting service designed to help College Bound students navigate financial aid for college and career education. Students can access Otterbot via text message 24 hours a day, seven days a week by texting "Hi Otter" to 360-928-7281.
  • The Washington State Student Loan Education Site provides multiple learning modules to help education consumers better understand higher education costs and considerations.

State financial aid programs

State financial aid programs

Learn more about Washington’s state financial aid programs. Remember, you must attend a participating institution in order to receive state financial aid.

  • The new Washington College Grant gives more money to more students for more kinds of education after high school.
  • If you signed up for College Bound during middle school, now's the time to make sure you can access the College Bound Scholarship.
  • Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) helps eligible students attain a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, engineering, math, and health care through scholarships of up to $22,500. WSOS also offers a quarterly $1,500 scholarship for eligible trade, STEM, or health care programs at community and technical colleges.

Private scholarships

Private scholarships

Private scholarship deadlines occur year-round, and many are available regardless of income.

  • theWashboard.org scholarship search tool is unique to Washington students. This website allows you to create a profile and then be matched with the scholarship opportunities that fit you. It is spam-free and will never sell your information.
  • Many colleges provide aid in the form of institutional scholarships or grants. Talk to the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend for more information.

High schools and colleges are being flexible.  

  • High schools and colleges continue to be flexible about everything from graduation and course requirements to test scores and admissions policies.
  • Students can still get college credit through dual credit programs during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Transitioning out of high school

Transitioning out of high school

Many high schools are providing flexible or additional options for students to meet requirements in light of the COVID-19 crisis—talk to your counselor for more information.

  • Review the state's high school graduation requirements. Talk to your counselor to make sure you're on track
  • Washington GEAR UP's Graduate Handbook provides next steps for recent high school graduates, including a to-do list, info about college course types, an overview of transfer options, and more.
  • During this period of school closures and remote learning, there are college planning resources that can be done remotely. This Top 5 list is designed specifically to help high school juniors and seniors prepare for, apply to, and pay for education after high school.
     
COVID information & resources
  • Review the graduation requirements FAQ for the Class of 2020.
  • For the 2019-20 school year, the pass/fail grading option for high school students was eliminated statewide. Read more here or watch this video to learn more. 

College admissions

College admissions during COVID

Colleges and universities are being flexible about course requirements, test scores, deadlines, and more. Always check with each college directly for the latest admissions information. Let the admissions office know if you have special circumstances or questions about how to meet requirements and deadlines during COVID-19.

Dual credit

Dual credit

You can still pursue opportunities to earn college credit while in high school through dual credit programs during the COVID-19 crisis. Talk to your counselor for more information.

  • Dual credit programs give students the opportunity to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. Students who earn college credit are more likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and complete college degrees.
  • The Running Start Verification Form for the 2020-21 school year can be submitted electronically, so you can still enroll during remote learning. 
     
COVID information & resources
  • Although in-person testing has been suspended, you can still earn exam scores from home for Advanced PlacementInternational Baccalaureate, and Cambridge International.
  • Colleges, universities, K-12 schools, and state agencies in Washington all understand the impact of COVID-19 on dual credit statewide, and they are committed to helping students and their families navigate dual credit programs during these challenging times. Read their full joint statement here.

 

Do you or your family need more help or information during this time? Visit our COVID-19 resources page for non-educational supports related to food assistance, internet access, health, finance, and more.