It has become much easier in recent years to apply to college, but nevertheless, it’s still a time intensive and complex process. The sooner you begin, the better. And the more you know - about class selection and academic tracking, prep programs, scholarships, and more - the better the choices that can be made. We know there are gaps in information and opportunities, and still much work to be done structurally to make college more accessible. Even with these challenges, and even if you are getting a relatively late start in the serious college search process, success stories happen everywhere. If you want it, it is possible.
Use your resources. Involve your team - family, counselors, college prep programs, teachers, mentors, and others. Get as much information as you can and make it work for you. Also be sure to search for college access information specific to your home state.
For more information on scholarships and paying for college, see Money.