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Chapter 1, Section 2:
College Planning Guide

Eighth Grade:

  • Apply for a Social Security Number if you do not already have one.
  • Talk to family and friends about careers and possible school choices.
  • Find out what courses you should take in high school that will qualify you to attend certain colleges or enter certain career fields.
  • Ask your parents about how much they think they can help you with paying for your future education. Work together to establish a savings plan in which you can participate and contribute to. Learn about financial aid or just how to pay for college.
  • Develop a list of activities in which you plan to participate in high school. If you would like more information about your school’s offerings, talk to a counselor.

Ninth Grade:

  • Investigate career information in areas that interest you.
  • Analyze the courses you should be taking throughout high school to prepare for those careers.
  • Discuss career interests and post-secondary education possibilities with your parents.
  • Begin talking to your counselor or someone who can guide you about college and career choices.
  • Find about college admission requirements, particularly at 4-year schools.
  • Understand the difference between a state-funded college/school and private/secular school.
  • If you choose majors in business, computer science, engineering, health programs, pre-med, pre-law, and other challenging fields, then start thinking about building up your science and math skills. Reading and writing are very important, too, and should not be taken lightly.
  • Attend college fairs or career days. Take your family, especially your parents, and pick up college materials or information about careers. Ask questions; learn to be assertive while talking to a representative.
  • Look into participating in a summer program or camp at colleges. Get a feel for what it is like in staying in a college dorm, being in a college classroom, and living in a different surrounding.
  • Find out about summer jobs and try to gain the skills you would need to obtain one. Or you can consider volunteer work that can expand your experience and skills.

Tenth Grade:

  • Begin to look at college catalogs and other college material, including financial aid brochures and booklets.
  • If possible take the PSAT in October for practice and knowledge of the test.
  • If you are particularly strong in a subject, talk to a counselor or teacher about taking an Advanced Placement (AP) program examination or the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test in that subject area.
  • See your counselor about taking an interest inventory or survey.
  • Make certain that your high school and/or community college course selections are appropriate for your 4-yr college and/or career choices.
  • Encourage your parents to be more involved with planning. Help them to understand the differences of not having the necessary skills for a good job or being a college graduate.
  • Attend college fairs and career days.
  • Check on your savings plan. Some students at this grade level start working so you may want to consider seeking employment to contribute to your savings plan.
  • Begin searching information about summer programs and camps in the fall semester. If you have to help pay for living expenses or transportation, then start saving money.

Eleventh Grade: Fall Semester

  • Choose courses that are appropriate for your college/career interests and that will meet your high school graduation and college admission requirements.
  • Take the PSAT in October to practice taking college admission tests and to establish eligibility for scholarships. Consider that some out-of-state colleges and private schools require the SAT.
  • Set up an appointment with a college representative who is visiting your school. You may choose to have your transcript ready and request to have the representative review it with you.
  • Encourage your parents to get more involved with your planning. Ask older siblings who have gone to college for help.
  • Discuss with your parents your future educational plans, and how they will be financed.
  • Develop a list of possible post-secondary schools; your counseling office and/or school library may have books and materials to help you. If possible check out colleges on the Internet.
  • Attend any college and/or career fairs in your school or community.
  • Begin researching private sources of financial aid such as scholarships and request for applications.

Eleventh Grade: Spring Semester

  • Register for the ACT or PSAT either in February or April. Remember some colleges require either the ACT or SAT or both for admission.
  • Begin to narrow your choices for post-secondary schools.
  • Schedule visits with schools that are high on your list.
  • Research intensively on tribal scholarship opportunities. Request for materials and share information with your parents.
  • Practice completing admission applications and writing personal essays/letters for admission. Consider that some colleges require application fees so this would be a good time to estimate the fees and determine when the deadlines are.
  • Visit schools and tour the campuses.

Twelfth Grade: Fall Semester

  • Make sure you are meeting high school graduation and college admission requirements.
  • Confer with your counselor, recruiters, and other resources about your plans for the future.
  • Visit college representatives.
  • Request application materials for admissions and financial aid from schools to which you intend to apply.
  • Prepare a proposed budget for your freshman year in college and share it with your parents.
  • APPLY TO THOSE SCHOOLS! Even if you are not certain about which school to attend you should submit an application for each of those schools anyway. Be aware of deadline dates and priority service deadlines.
  • Arrange visits to schools that you are considering and schedule admission interviews if required.
  • Take the ACT or SAT or both. Take these tests regardless of what your post-secondary plans are.
  • Complete tribal scholarship applications. Organize tribal documentation for submission.
  • Keep records of everything that you submit.

Twelfth Grade: Spring Semester

  • Complete financial aid applications. Remember that you will need completed tax returns to complete the financial aid forms.
  • Continue meeting your college representative.
  • Contact the schools and inquire about the status of each of your applications. Learn to ask about your OWN paperwork; do not rely solely on your parents or counselor to check on your forms.
  • After graduation you need to make sure your final transcript is sent to the college of your choice and tribal higher education office.

Provided by Northern Arizona University Admissions Office of Recruitment and Retention. Taken from Talent Search program outline. Revised on 7/10/00.

In some homes, traditional values remain strong and the children grow up comfortable in both worlds. We must help these and all children succeed in both worlds by teaching them competence in our heritage values and traditional language, as well as in Science, Math, and English.

Not every student will achieve this proficiency, however. Some will never show much interest in understanding earth systems or science. Others will ‘turn on’ to knowledge later in their lives. As an educator, you have only a given period of time to influence your students. While they are with you they can be transformed by your love of knowledge. If they can learn how to access information and become comfortable with books and computers you will have done your job well. Students who have the interest and the talent to succeed in academics should be nurtured and given every opportunity to learn.

Walter Begay
A Navajo from Flagstaff, Walter has been working on his Bachelor degree in Environmental Science at Northern Arizona University. In the spring of 2000, he applied for a summer internship at the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals and was awarded a position in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 7, near the Mississippi River. In Region 7, communications had broken down between nine Midwestern tribes (including the Winnebago, Omahas, Sac, Fox, Kikapoo, Potowatamie and Iowa tribes) and the federal EPA authorities over control of air quality. Walter was sent as a mediator to Kansas City, Kansas, where he conducted a needs assessment for tribal air quality programs. Walter returned to NAU for the 2000 fall semester.

Sample Associate Degree Courses from Dine' College Environmental Science Course Descriptions:


A quantitative study of regional and global-scale interactions involving the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere of Earth. Case studies involving environmental problems of the Navajo Nation and environs in the arid Southwest will be given special emphasis. Three hours lecture and one 3-hour laboratory per week.
PREREQUISITES: BIO 180 or above, CHM 130 or above, GLG 101, and MTH 110 or above.

Introductory course in controlling pollution of air, water and land. Basics of water supply and wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste management, and air pollution control. Environmental laws and regulations.
PREREQUISITE: CHM 130 or above MTH 100 or above.

Provides a basis for developing and implementing solutions to environmental problems and for reducing impact of resource development decisions. Students will develop skills of information analysis and synthesis and a framework for problem solving as related to natural resources and environmental cycles. Navajo Nation will be emphasized.

Introduction to the planning, design and operation of solid waste collection and disposal facilities, resource recovery, and waste minimization with a special emphasis on municipal solid waste on American Indian reservation.
PREREQUISITES: CHM 130 or above and MTH 110 or above.

Introduction to the planning, design, and operation of a public drinking water treatment and supply facility, as well as a wastewater treatment and disposal facility.
PREREQUISITES: CHM 130 or MTH 100 or above.

Introduction to hydrology, water law, water resources management and planning, with special focus on the Navajo Nation.
PREREQUISITES: GLG 101 and MTH 110 or above.

The course introduces techniques and methodologies of environmental sampling and monitoring for water, air, solids, sludges etc. to the student.
PREREQUISITES: ENV 201 or ENV 202 and MTH 213.

Provides a practical learning experience with an employer in the earth and environmental sciences. Credit is awarded upon the demonstrated achievement of educational goals agreed upon by the student, the employer, and an appropriate instructor.
PREREQUISITE: Instructor's permission.




Environmental Education Outreach Program (EEOP)
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP)
PO Box 5768     Flagstaff, AZ 86011-5768     Phone: (928) 523-1275     Fax: (928) 523-1280
E-mail: eeop@nau.edu

Last updated: May 26, 2005