Here are tips that education reporter Katy Murphy has compiled for college-bound students and their parents. Tell us what you think and post your own tips.

Then come back Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and read our Road To College package in print or online. We'll give you a guide that will include courses to take, resources for SAT test preparation and scholarships and more. And learn what the California budget cuts mean for your college planning.

FOR STUDENTS

√ Set a time to study each day.

√ Find a quiet space where you can focus, either at your house or at a library or community center.

√ Get involved with sports and other activities. Volunteer.

√ Read for fun, especially during the summer!

√ Get help to improve your academic weak points, either from your teacher or through a community tutoring program.

√ D's don't cut it for most universities. If you earn a D or an F in a class, check with your teacher or a counselor about retaking it at summer school, a local community college or an adult school.

FOR PARENTS AND GUARDIANS

√ Make sure your child develops good study habits and attendance early on.

√ Encourage him to read something every day for fun.

√ Make contact with teachers within the first week of the school year — by email, phone, or in person — so they know you're interested in following your child's progress, and how to reach you.

√ Look at your child's homework. If she rarely brings home work, or if it seems overly simple, check with the school to find out why.

√ Each year, find out which of the classes on the schedule count toward the 15 `a-g' requirements of the UC and CSU systems. If the schedule seems light, go to the school and ask for a change.

√ Throughout the year, make sure your child is on track to pass those 15 classes with a grade of `C' or above. If he's not, set up a meeting with the teacher — and your child — to find out what he can do to bring up his grade. If he receives a `D' or an `F,' find out about the "credit recovery" programs at the high school.

√ Check progress reports to ensure your child is on track to earn a `C' or above. If she earns a `D,' the course doesn't count toward the college requirements.

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