Like with every facet of The Vanguard School, our college and career planning process is individualized and done with the student's personal needs in mind. We understand that graduation is a momentous time for students. One chapter is closing and the other is just beginning. That is why we ensure when our students leave Vanguard's campus, they are prepared with a personal plan in place that will carry them into their futures. On this site, you will find more information about how at each grade level, there are steps we take to prepare them for the real world.

Freshman Year

  • Create a four-year high school plan.

We ask the students what they would like to accomplish in the next four years.

We ensure they know which high school courses are required by colleges (if they are planning on going to college), and they are taking the right classes as early as possible. If a student has any doubt, they can ask their academic mentor about what those "right" classes are.

  • We encourage students to start thinking about life after school

This includes the jobs that may interest them. We understand that these ideas may change over time but it is good to start thinking about those possibilities.

We want Vanguard students to identify their interests, not just in classes but also in every other area. This will help them focus on their goals.

Academic mentors and teachers are there to talk to students about careers that students may find interesting. Questions about the future are always welcomed.

  • Meet with the College and Career Adviser

The College and Career Adviser knows how to help students get the most out of their high school experience. Every student needs to take time during the school year to discuss their post-high-school plans with her.

  • Participation in extracurricular activities

There are more than just academics at The Vanguard School. Students are encouraged to join clubs and activities that they like. Students are involved in the local community as well. We understand that universities look at the entire student: GPA, attitude, personal statement, and extracurricular activities. Thus, we do our utmost to help students become well-rounded and capable applicants.

  • Get familiar with pre-ACT-related assessments.

Most four year colleges consider applicants' scores on college admission tests. Therefore it is beneficial to all students to familiarize themselves with the pre-ACT and ACT tests.

Sophomore Year

  • Meet with the College and Career Adviser (again!)

We encourage students to meet with the College and Career Adviser again. This is to ensure that the course load being taken is sufficiently challenging to prepare for college. It is advised that students check into any prerequisites for advanced-level junior and senior year courses.

  • Are you interested in attending a U.S. military academy?

If the student is interested in attending a military academy, now is the time to request a pre-candidate questionnaire.

  • Discuss financial aid options with the College and Career Adviser and parents

It is known the college can be expensive. That is why talking with the College and Career Adviser can be beneficial. You can get an understanding of how financial aid works, where it comes from, what it entails, and get a list of scholarships and/or grants that are available to you.

  • Tour College Campuses

There are many college trips that are planned at Vanguard. We encourage all students to go and see what college campuses are like in real life. Even if the student has no interest in attending the college they are visiting, it will still help them learn what they want to look for in a college.

Junior Year

Fall Semester

  • It begins with the student

We encourage all students to make a list of their abilities, social/cultural preferences, and personal qualities. Also, it is encouraged to list the subjects they may want to study and do in college. If advice or guidance is needed, the student can ask their academic mentor for help.

  • Learn about colleges

The College and Career Adviser can help students look at different college websites and find which ones are best suited to the student. After this, a list of potential colleges and/or technical schools can be made for the student to choose from.

  • Take ACT prep courses

There are ACT prep courses that are available at The Vanguard School. Students who are interested in going to college are encouraged to take these courses in preparation for the actual exam.


  • Sign up to take the ACT in the spring

Students will sign up for the ACT in the spring. Students can prepare themselves for the actual test with ACT prep course.

  • Searching for financial aid resources

This is the time when students should be looking into financial aid options. The College and Career adviser can provide a list for the student on various scholarships that are suitable for them to apply for.

Spring Semester

  • Contact the College and Career Adviser

If the student is considering military academies or ROTC, please alert the College and Career Adviser as this process begins the summer before senior year.

  • List of colleges

This is the time that students will be making a list of colleges, technical schools, or residential programs they are interested in. We encourage students to list 15-20 schools that they like. It is also encouraged that students stay open to all possibilities, such as both in-state and out-of-state schools and/or programs.

  • Take the ACT

Students can register online or with the College and Career Adviser. The tests are normally offered in April and June. If a student is not happy with their scores, they have the option of taking it again in the fall.

  • Gathering documents for financial aid

It is encouraged that students begin gathering all needed documents for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), which begins on October 1st.


  • Get FSA ID

The student will need to get a username and password before they can fill out FASFA.

  • Visit Colleges/Technical Schools/Residential Programs

Once the student has made a list of various programs that interest them, they will now have the time to explore each one. Take campus tours. Once they are on campus, we encourage our students to talk to as many people as possible. This is everyone from the college admission team to professors and other students. Once the student has decided which programs they like the best, it is beneficial to make appointments and have interviews with admissions counselors.

  • Create a resume

For those who are wanting to go directly into the work force, we encourage making a resume of all their various academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, and work experiences since they started high school.

  • Download applications

Students who have concretely decided on a college or other program will need to download the application online or request a paper application.

    Senior Year

    Fall Semester

    • Narrowing the list of colleges or other programs between 5 and 10

    If a student still doesn't quite know which to apply for, we encourage them to narrow their options down between 5 and 10 colleges or programs. They will need to download the various applications and financial aid forms. If they haven't already, campus visits may be arranged.

    • Complete the FASFA

    To apply for most financial aid, the student will need to complete the FASFA. October 1st is when it opens.

    • Complete the CSS/Financial Aid Profile

    PROFILE is an online application used by certain colleges and scholarship programs to determine eligibility for their aid dollars.

    • Ask a counselor or teacher

    If the student needs a recommendation, we encourage that the ask a teacher, their academic mentor, or the College and Career Adviser. They are also encouraged to let a trusted teacher proof their essays before submitting them.

    • Transcripts

    Ask the School Secretary for transcripts that need to be sent in. The proper forms need to be given two weeks before the colleges or programs require them.


    • Begin sending in applications and essays

    We also encourage that students keep photocopies of all applications and essays for their personal documentation.

    • Send Transcripts

    The Vanguard School will send a requested transcript separately by mail to colleges or programs that the student has applied for online.

    Spring Semester

    • Keep active in school

    Even if a student is waitlisted for their choice of college and/or program, it is important to keep active and make good grades. The colleges and/or programs will want to know what has been accomplished between the application point until the time of their decision.

    • Visit the final college and/or program before accepting

    Students should receive acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-April. We ask that students notify the College and Career Adviser of the preferred choice. If the students have questions about housing offers, they will need to talk to the adviser and call the college.

    • Send deposit

    Students and their families will need to send their deposits to their accepted college and/or program.

    • Resolve any remaining problems

    If there are any problems during the admissions process or with financial aid, the College and Career Adviser will be able to help.

    • Final transcripts will be sent

    • Review of financial aid awards

    We encourage all students to look over their award packages and to review it for any changes in the future. If they have questions or concerns during this process, The Vanguard School is here to support them.

    Transition Planning

    Upon entering their senior year (12th grade) at The Vanguard School, each student must have a Transition Plan in place. This plan is formed with the principal, College and Career Adviser, the student's mentor, and parents. Once this Transition Plan is implemented then the student attends their Transition Plan meeting. This is to ensure that each and every student has goal upon graduation, whether it is going to college, technical school, military, a residential program, or the work force.

    We believe that each of our students has the ability to achieve their goals. We intend to provide the structure and guidance to achieve their fullest potential.


    For those intending to go to college or university, we provide academic and application guidance and college prep. Students who have a 3.0 GPA or higher and sufficient high school credits, may be invited into our elite dual enrollment program. This program helps students gain college credits during their high school career at Vanguard. Here is a sample of colleges and universities that our alumni have attended.

    • Harvard University
    • Rollins College
    • Beacon College
    • Lynn University
    • Stetson University
    • Full Sail University
    • University of Central Florida
    • Eckerd College
    • Flagler College
    • University of Florida
    • Texas A&M University
    • Florida Gulf Coast University
    • Santa Fe State College
    • Columbia College

    Other Pathways

    If a student is looking for more options other than college, we provide guidance about various technical schools around the country. We understand that our students have wide-ranging interests and we do everything possible to ensure they have bright futures ahead of them. Below is a list of technical schools that alumni have attended.

    • Motorcycle Marine Institute
    • Universal Technical Institute
    • Art Institute
    • Rosen College
    • SCAD
    • Minnesota Life College