Native Scholars 101

High School

Welcome to high school, Native scholars!

High school may not feel very important sometimes, but these are years where you begin building the foundation for your future. During these years you will take steps towards your professional life, towards higher education, or whatever it is you choose to do. This section will address several categories unique to high school students.


This isn’t middle school anymore! As you progress through these four years, you’ll be given more and more responsibility for your own actions and decisions, such as:

  • facing harsher consequences
  • greater independence

Remember to seek out wisdom of your community and family. Elders have experienced transition on many levels and most would be happy to provide guidance and encouragement to you as well.

Transitioning to the 11th grade

The 11th and 12th grade is when you decide your path beyond high school. If you are planning to attend college, these are integral years of preparation and work to build that foundation for success. If you are not planning to attend college, these years are necessary to hone your interests and skills for professional development after graduation.

Remember that this is a transition. Stress and feelings of being overwhelmed are part of the process.


The College Fund now offers an Admissions Pathway program to eligible students in order to guide and assist in the college application process. Learn more about the program and eligibility requirements here.

Carefully read the 11th and 12th grade timeline PDF linked below. Use document as a road map for important dates that will help you prepare for college.



More information will be added soon!


Academic Planning

Your grades in these years can help or hurt you down the road if you are planning to go to college. Create a plan (outlined in below) and be strategic about the classes and electives you choose. Go through your plan with a parent, mentor or counselor.

Remember, this becomes especially important in your later high school years.

Campus Fit

Visiting college campuses is a great way to explore what they have to offer. Here is a quick to do list of things that will help you narrow your college search:

  • Talk to key staff members (professors, other students, etc.)
  • Contact the admissions office to set up a tour and inquire about the application process
  • Visit the Native American or Multicultural Center. They may offer additional services or programs specific to your identity.

Here is a more thorough list for your upcoming college visits.

Scholarship Searching

Begin searching for scholarships in the fall of your 12th grade year. Generally, most applications open the following January. This gives you time to do research and write your personal statement by the time the application period opens.

Many applications ask where you will be attending  college, but understand that high school seniors might not that this information yet. It is best to put the name of your intended college. Keep the contact information for your scholarship contacts handy. Reach out to them if the information on your application changes.

Once you’ve applied for our scholarships make sure you visit our additional scholarship resources page for more opportunities!

Best of luck!


Internship Searching

Between your 11th and 12th grade year or the summer before college is a great time to pursue an internship opportunity. Internships allow you to gain hands-on experience in a field of your choice, and prove beneficial in helping you decide what you want to do (or not do!).

Is there a local company in your community that could use a helping hand?

Are there any formal internship programs nearby that interest you?

Check out our internship listings for opportunities across the country.

Career Planning

Career planning may seem premature as an 11th or 12th grader, but it’s not! It’s important to think about your skills and interests and how you want to develop them further after high school.

Read through our Career Center for career assessment tools and tips about building your first resume and cover letter.


In high school, you are likely balancing multiple classes with different assignment deadlines, community and tribe activities, and family obligations- this can easily become too much to keep in your mind without mixing it up! Try using an agenda or something with a calendar to keep track of your multiple activities and homework.

Although your high school may still be very structured and you are able to organize your time effectively, these are the years to focus on your study style. If you can determine what your study style is now, you’ll be much better prepared when college comes around! Do you prefer to study in groups? By yourself? In a quiet space like the library, or in a noisier spot like a café? Do flashcards help, or re-copying your notes? These are all important questions to explore in order to determine how you can put your best foot forward for academic excellence.

See more tips for Time Management here.

Free online video resource: FATV 

FATV is a free online resource to help answer your financial aid questions through brief videos. This may be especially helpful if you’re entering a mainstream school with federal and private loan options. Knowledge is power!


As we mentioned above, this time could be stressful. Be sure to practice self-care. Check in with yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Find something that relaxes you and work it into your daily routine. Some examples of this might be:

  • exercise
  • meditation or prayer
  • painting or drawing

Learn more about self-care here.


Studies point to mentorship as one of the most effective ways to help you make the best of your future opportunities.

A mentor is someone you know who can provide guidance in several ways:

  • give you advice on college or your classes
  • talk to you about jobs
  • give advice on relationships
  • help you navigate big decisions
  • provide wisdom when things seem hard

The role of your mentors change over time, but they are especially helpful during this important transition.

Downloadable Timelines for High School Students