You are in the right place, here are some tips you may consider reading to better understand how the system works:
# Entrance test
Try to do well on your entrance test so that you don't have to take any non-credit prep class, but if you failed it is not the end of the world, just take the test again in 90 days or register for the prep class required to fulfill the requirement. SAT, ACT, CPT, they are all accepted.
# Financial Aid/Scholarships
Scholarships should be applied for since high school, as you join a college/university make sure you go to your local school office and apply for financial aid before the school deadline, and moreover look up for scholarships both at your school and on scholarship web sites such as www.fastweb.com
Remember if you can join a college/university earlier as a dull enrollment/early admission student, that will get you ahead of the game by getting free classes to take while you still a high school student, sometimes counselors just assume you already know things, don't let that happen, try to get the most information you can get.
# Eliminating classes
If you know you do very well on a specific subject which you seen before and you don't fell like taking it again, you may take a CLEP exam on that specific subject and if you pass you will get the credits for that subject as if you had taken that class. But in the other hand if you just take that class and ace it, then it would be another 4.0 GPA class to boost your GPA. Be aware there might be a fee for the tests you take, so ask about it before taking any decisions.
# What classes should I take? How should I choose them?
1) Try to get your English/Reading/Math requirements done earlier because many of your classes may require to have those done before registering for the class you want to take.
2) If you can, try to get a break between your harder classes so you have: extra time to review before class, time to rest, eat something, etc.
3) Some classes might give you some sort of quiz/test every week, so don't get too many hard classes on the same day with little breaks, you might get over stressed trying to study for two subjects at once and might end up doing poorly on both.
After you have thought of those 3 steps, go to your school web site and search for the classes you are planning to take, then without closing it, open a new tab and go to http://www.ratemyprofessor.com this site will give you a better idea of how each professor works and which of them will better fit your expectations. Some students like to have easy A professors, some like to face a challenging tough professor, it is up to you.
# Take too easy and boring classes over the summer
If there is a subject you think it is way too easy or just boring to go to that class, my advice would be to take this class on a shorter 6 weeks summer period, these classes usually are more speed up and you are less likely to get bored because you get right to the point, moreover you might end up doing less work since you only have half of a regular term to work on that subject. Be aware! Make sure you know what you are doing, you don't want to take a too hard class and fail, things will speed up a lot on a 6 weeks period, thrust me.
# Honors classes
Only take college honors classes after talking to your counselor and if you really know what you are doing, failing them may hurt your GPA as well. Honors classes in college are very different from high school, in order to take them you will need at least a 3.5 Gpa to enter the honors program and still you may only reach up to 4.0 GPA. Why take it then? If you get a degree with a certain x amount of honors classes then you will get an extra letter next to your transcript which will sound good when applying for a job.
# What are other privileges I may have as a college/university student?
If not all, most schools should offer you:
* Free tutoring at your school
* Advising help to choose your classes
* Help to choose your major and career
* Access to Internet
* Access to fitness center/gym
* And much more
As out of the school you may be eligible to get discounts to movie theaters and when going to public places such as museum, parks, and other places for just showing your college id.
You may also qualify for a good student discount on your car insurance when you have a 3.0 or higher GPA.