CHS Programming

    • Senior Meetings: We host a senior kickoff meeting early in the fall, and counselors are available throughout the fall and winter for individual follow-up support.
    • 9th-11th meetings: We host a grade-level auditorium presentation and then classroom follow-up sessions during grades 9-11 when we cover high school academics and career and college planning information and exploration. We check in with students during course registration to advise in relation to their future plans. We welcome individual meetings with students throughout their years at CHS.
    • Parent and Other Meetings: Pay close attention to weekly phone and email messages and the Daily Announcements for information about any other parent nights or similar opportunities throughout the year.

    Undocumented students should see their school counselor to further discuss college and career options.

    Be sure to check out our Grade Level Checklists for College, for year-by-year suggestions of things to keep in mind.

Different Options after High School

  • Different careers will require different training and education. Before we move on to talking about college planning, we will briefly cover the general options after graduating from high school, each of which has its own merit.

    • Entry to the workforce - getting a job with your high school diploma. This option requires as much preparation as any, and students should not wait until the spring of senior year to begin the process of preparing for and securing employment. See your school counselor for assistance planning and working towards this goal. We can link you to appropriate employment resources.  NC Works is a great website to assist you in your job search.
    • Apprenticeships - apprenticeships offer hands-on, on-the-job training and opportunities for industry certification and licensure while being paid during training.  Sometimes, apprenticeships will also include formal education in a classroom setting, sometimes even working towards college credits or degrees.  Find out more about apprenticeship opportunities at
    • Trade Schools (Vocational, Technical) - students interested in training for jobs with very specific, technical skill sets may want to attend a trade school for one to two years. See your school counselor if you are interested in discussing if this option is right for you.
    • 2-year schools (Community Colleges, Junior Colleges) - students attend 2-yr. schools for a variety of reasons. Some work towards a certification, much like attending a trade school. Some work towards a 2-yr., Associate's degree and enter the workforce from there. Some plan to eventually transfer to a 4-yr. school (University Transfer programs), but begin at a 2-yr. school because of cost, because they are not admitted directly to their top choices and want to try and transfer, and/or for other reasons. While most 2-yr. schools are commuter campuses, some junior colleges are residential and offer a campus community. Durham Tech's website is great to explore their programs, but you could also look into programs at other nearby schools or across the state at Some programs will only be offered at specific schools. The closest schools to Carrboro are Durham Tech, Wake Tech, Central Carolina, and Alamance.
      • University Transfer Programs - many students begin their postsecondary education at a 2-yr. institution with the plan, from the start, to transfer to a 4-yr. school. This could be to save money, to stay closer to home for the first two years of college, to have a better chance at being admitted, or something else. Durham Tech's university transfer program is detailed here. In these programs, students complete two years of coursework at a 2-yr school, then apply as transfer students to a 4-yr. school. If admitted, they enter the 4-yr. school with junior class standing.
        • In addition, certain 2-yr. schools have more detailed agreements with specific 4-yr. institutions, which facilitate the transfer and admission process between those particular schools. C-STEP is an agreement between Durham Tech and UNC Chapel Hill, and C3 is a similar agreement with NC State. If you are accepted to these programse at Durham Tech, then you are guaranteed admission to UNC-Chapel Hill or NC State!!!
    • 4-year schools (Colleges, Universities) - students attend 4-yr. schools to pursue a 4-yr., Bachelor's degree. From there, students can then enter the workforce or continue their education through professional or graduate schools in order to earn a Master's or Doctoral degree.
    • Gap Year - Students choose to do a Gap Year for many different reasons. Some want a break, so that they can return to the classroom with renewed vigor. Some pursue activities to explore or refine an interest, passion, or skill, before moving on to the next level. It can be an amazing opportunity for personal growth, learning about different cultures, and/or experimenting with potential careers.  Still others may want or need to work for a year and save money before starting college. Many colleges and other organizations even sponsor official Gap Year programs. See your school counselor to discuss whether or not a Gap Year could be right for you.  You can read up at; and; and many college and universities sponsor gap year opportunities themselves, like UNC's Global Gap Year Fellowship.  There is typically a Gap Year Fair that visits the area annually early in the spring.
    • Military - military service can be an incredible opportunity and experience, whether through non-commissioned enlistment or enlistment as an officer,  whether full time active duty or part-time reserve or National Guard service, whether Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, or Space Force.  Benefits are hard to match, from the leadership, teamwork, and discipline gained, to the respect for and desire to help and hire veterans, to the more tangible:  career exploration and specialized training while in service, money for college, healthcare, and retirement.  The pay, vacation, and travel afforded to service members isn't bad, either.  You can do military and then college, college and then military, or both concurrently, depending on the option you choose.  Finally, the service academies (Army/Military at West Point, Naval at Annapolis, Air Force at Colorado Springs, Coast Guard at New London, and Merchant Marine at Kings Point) are among the most competitive and reputable 4-yr schools in the country (we're talking top-10 in rankings of mid-career salaries after graduation), and they're totally FREE if you're admitted.  Check out myFuture/Military and for more information about military life and benefits, or ask your counselor or the Career Development Coordinator about speaking with a recruiter.

Exploring Career Interests, Programs of Study, and Colleges

  • Your career is integral to your life satisfaction, your success, and your identity. What lifestyle do you want to live, and what do you want to spend your time doing to be able to live that life? What do you enjoy doing and what is fulfilling for you to do, which at the same time is valuable to or provides something for others? What are your interests, and what are your strengths? Interests, abilities, values, the work environment itself, and things like job growth, earnings, and benefits are all important things to consider.

    How you measure up: Naviance will show you self-reported student data based on CHS graduates' admission to certain schools.  Additionally, you can usually find nationwide information about the average GPA and test scores (along with demographic and other information) of a school's current freshman class somewhere on the school's admissions website, the school's CFNC profile, its CollegeBoard profile, or another source. It is usually called something like a Freshman Class Profile. This information is a great measuring stick with which you can gauge whether a school is closer to being a reach (you aren't all that confident that you will be admitted), a safety school (you are fairly confident you will be admitted), or something in between. Of course, you should absolutely review any school's Minimum College Admissions Requirements when considering whether to apply.

    Is money no object? When considering schools, up-front, sticker-price cost can be discouraging. Please remember that there is a lot of financial aid that can be provided from many different sources. Cost certainly should be a major consideration before your final decision, but do not let cost alone deter you from considering and applying to a school. You may get offered a financial aid package that makes a school with a more expensive sticker price more affordable in the end than one with a less expensive sticker price. is a great way to quickly estimate and compare actual projected cost of attendance, including estimated financial aid, vs. a college's up-front, sticker price. provides some great reports and tools to explore college's net costs and to compare price in relation to graduation rates, loan default rates, median borrowing amounts, and employment statistics.

    Exceptional Students - Most colleges will have some sort of Disability Services staff to help provide you with accommodations and services needed; however, you will need to advocate for yourself and seek the services out. Some schools even have specialized programs to help students who have had IEPs or 504s in high school transition to college, such as ECU's Project STEPP.

    Undocumented Students - Undocumented students can still attend most colleges; however, they usually must pay out-of-state tuition for public colleges and community colleges. These students should see their school counselor to discuss how colleges can still consider the student’s financial need via the FAFSA and private aid. Plus, there are many scholarships you can apply for regardless of citizenship status. See our Scholarships page, and be sure to read any scholarship opportunity’s eligibility requirements carefully.

Exploring Colleges or Meeting Representatives In Person

  • While websites are great, they cannot replace more direct forms of exploration. Talking with family, friends, and high school staff is a great way to find out more about a school. Speaking to a representative from the school is also a good idea, and many schools send representatives to visit CHS throughout the year - see our College Visits calendar and keep an eye on the Daily Announcements.

    There will also be college fairs in the area that are great chances to hear from and meet with representatives from a lot of schools at once.

    Every student is strongly encouraged to explore in person the schools to which they are considering applying. Many schools will host various open houses for prospective freshmen throughout the fall and spring, and most have options to schedule a campus visit or campus tour individually. Please search for this information on the admissions pages of the schools’ websites.

What Do Colleges Consider in their Admissions Decisions?

  • See this interesting article about the college admissions decision process at George Washington University's admissions office.

    Or, what do colleges care about? Or, what will colleges ask for in an application? This is the stuff on which your admissions decision will be based:

    2-yr schools in North Carolina only need to see a high school diploma, and they can either use existing SAT/ACT test scores, or a community college placement test to determine course placement.

    4-yr schools can ask for a variety of different things:

    • Academic records - schools will want to see your transcript, focusing on your year-by-year classes taken (rigor is important) and final grades.  Your overall GPA and Class Rank is also listed on your transcript.  All schools will want to see this. Remember, you can look up a school in Naviance, or search for a school's Class Profile, to find the average GPA of admitted students.
    • Test scores - most schools do use SAT/ACT scores as a component of their admissions decisions.
    • Extracurricular activities - whatever you spend your time doing outside of class in high school, be it athletics, school organizations, part-time work, volunteering or community service, etc. These types of things can show schools time management skills, contributions to the community, pursuit of passions, work ethic, and more. How are you productive in your free time? A component of most schools' admissions decisions.
    • Letters of recommendation - most schools will want to see one or more letters of recommendation from non-family adults. Many require that at least one come from a specific school staff member (e.g., academic teacher, school counselor). Sometimes there is a specific template for the recommender, while other times it is a generic request. These letters are vital for colleges to be able to consider you as an individual they want on their campus instead of just an application. You should ask adults who know you and what you've accomplished very well, and please remember to provide them with enough time (AT LEAST two weeks, and a month or more is best) to fulfill your request. If you are unsure whom you should ask, see your school counselor.
    • Essays - many schools ask you to submit essays as part of your application. Sometimes you are given a specific prompt, other times you are given a choice between a handful of prompts, and still other times you are given more license and told to write a "Personal Statement," or something similar. Taking these essays very seriously and submitting quality work could be the difference in your admissions decision. Please take the time to plan, write, and edit good essays. Just as letters of recommendation are a chance for adults who know you well to "sell" you on a more personal level, the essay is your own chance to stand out as a person who the colleges want to attend instead of just another application.

    Unusual obstacles or circumstances - if there are any unusual circumstances or notable obstacles that you have experienced or overcome in your life which may have had an adverse effect on other components of your application, then you will have the opportunity to explain what happened. Examples could include moving from school-to-school, childcare or other family obligations, necessity of part-time work, medical complications, and more affecting grades, course selection, participation in extracurricular activities, etc.

Minimum College Admissions Requirements

  • You can view the UNC-system's admission requirements for 4-yr schools here. These are good guidelines for most 4-yr schools, but you should verify each school's requirements on their own website.

    Generally speaking, your high school diploma from CHS will fulfill all minimum required coursework for 4-yr schools, as long as you complete a higher-level 4th math course (and, for many 4-yr schools, two units of a foreign language).  Of course, there are also GPA and testing requirements at many 4-yr schools, and fulfilling the minimum requirements is not the same as being competitive for admissions.

    Generally, 2-yr schools like community colleges only require a high school diploma for admission.