Creating your graduation plan is a crucial part of completing and succeeding in both high school and college.

Why do I need a grad plan?

If you’re in high school…
You’ll want to make sure you are on track to earn a college-and-career-ready diploma. In Indiana, that’s the Core 40 diploma. Some colleges and technical programs prefer—or even require—the Core 40 diploma with Academic or Technical Honors. Another option available at some high schools is the International Baccalaureate which focuses on developing the skills you’ll need to live in our rapidly globalizing world.

If you’re in college…
Your college completion plan will help you graduate on time and with a minimum of debt. Did you know Hoosier families borrowed an average of $27,000 to finance a college degree (in 2010)? Indiana has ambitious goals to help students finish faster and take on less debt. You can make these goals your reality by planning your college years now.

IUPUI Graduation
These IUPUI grads know that earning a degree—or a high school diploma—takes hard work and a plan. (Photo credit: IUPUI.)

Where do I find the grad plan?

If you’re in high school…
You can find the grad plan two ways: online or by printing a paper copy. By creating a profile on the Indiana Career Explorer, you’ll have 24/7 access to track your progress, take career interest inventories and search and save for careers that match your interests and skills.

If you’re in college…
Your grad plan will depend on your college’s requirements for your major and any minors. What’s most important is that you talk to your advisor and that you write down your plan. Find out what you should ask your advisor and see a sample grad plan here.

What do I need to do to complete the grad plan?

If you’re in high school…
Indiana’s graduation plan has specific steps to take in each grade, from sixth grade to high school graduation. Log in to (or create) your Indiana Career Explorer profile to learn what you should do each grade, or print off a paper copy of the grad plan (see above). Our grad plan video will help you learn how to use the online grad plan, and you can also watch our Indiana Career Explorer video to explore other resources and learn about creating your profile. Finally, Learn More Indiana’s recommended grad plan activities will also help you plan for your future.

If you’re in college…
You need to take initiative to plan for your future. Write down your plan for graduating college on time and with a specific degree in a career field that matches your interests and skills. If you’re unsure which courses to take or what else you can do to succeed, talk to your advisor or professors. Share your plan for completing college with people who can keep you accountable.

What else should I know about my future?

If you’re in high school…
You should know that high school matters when your future is concerned. Chart a course for college and a successful career by pushing yourself now. Some good options include:

  • Plan enough time in your schedule for studying and completing homework.
  • Take the PSAT as a sophomore. It’s free for sophomores and will be good practice for the SAT.
  • Consider Advanced Placement (AP) courses. You may be able to earn college credits.
  • Sign up for dual-credit courses, which also provide college credits. Learn how courses transfer among Indiana’s institutions at
  • Ask your guidance counselor about fee waivers for the SAT and/or ACT, if you think you may be eligible. Students eligible for free or reduced lunch usually do not have to pay for these tests.
  • Apply to college early! If you’re a senior, make Thanksgiving your deadline to have applied to at least three colleges: one “safety” college, one college that’s a good fit and one “stretch” college. A “safety” college is a sure bet: you have the grades and classes necessary for admission. A “stretch” college may be a bit of a gamble. Maybe your grade-point average is much lower than the average student’s, for example.

If you’re in college…
You must commit to graduating on time, and you need to know that your degree will allow you to enter the career you are seeking. Some tips include:

  • Make sure your career fits. Sign up for the Indiana Career Explorer to take career interest assessments, get interviewing tips and search for jobs in Indiana.
  • Make sure your major fits. Talk to professionals, your professors and your advisor to see whether your planned courses will prepare you for your planned career.
  • Complete an internship. Search opportunities statewide with Indiana INTERNnet, including part-time, fall/spring or virtual positions.
  • Hone your studying skills. Create a schedule that allows plenty of time for studying and completing assignments. 
  • Find help, if necessary. Most campuses offer academic support such as writing centers.
  • Learn about finishing faster and how you can save money—and time—with summer school and other options.