Some textbooks do it one way, and some do it the other way. They all try to convince you that THEIR way is the RIGHT way! The truth is, it does not matter mathematically which one comes first.
After having selected your college of choice find out if the offer Merit Scholarship or financial aid. Most colleges have such provisions for their student. Using such aids can help you save on a lot of money. If they do offer full scholarships find out what their criteria is. Try to keep your grades high and excel at your academics. Colleges are not likely to help people they think are not serious with their work. The only way you can prove your seriousness and your worth is by doing well in school. When they see your grade card, if they are unhappy with the alphabet on there, the chances of you getting the scholarship are very few.
Start early. The college my daughter chose in the end is the same college that she visited during her Freshman year of high school. She also spent the summer after her Sophomore year at a camp at the same school. Visiting schools early my kids excited about the college process. It helped us to formulate their high school programs, as we knew what the schools they were interested in wanted them to study. There were no surprises when it came time to fill out college applications. Also, she developed relationships with faculty that proved to be very useful.
The National Merit https://www.nationalmeritscholarships.com is awarded based on national competition on the SAT. Students qualify for this competition by taking the PSAT the fall of their junior year. This particular student had phenomenal scores on his PSAT and had 800 (the maximum) component scores when he actually took the SAT for competition.
One of the most important things you should have done by this point is file your FAFSA. If you have not done this, it is extremely important that you do that as soon as possible. The College Project will help you file your FAFSA to help you save time and reduce errors that would likely cost you additional time or increase your college costs.
Check to see if your school has a list of local scholarships and their requirements. Go through the list to see which ones you may be qualified for and make note of the deadlines, so you know when you will need to apply for them.
Homeschooled children not only seem contented and well adjusted, but they are well-rounded, getting in to good colleges, and excelling in their adult lives. Homeschooled children and their parents definitely like it.