Over the course of your high school career there are steps you can take to prepare for higher education. The more informed decisions you make as you start high school, the better chance you have of being accepted into the institution of your choice. Here is a year by year look at choices you can make in high school to get ready for college.
Start out strong. Work hard to get good grades. You cannot undo any grade you get in high school, so don’t wait to get into the game. Explore your interests. Try out volunteering with various organizations, join clubs and try out for sports teams. Now is the time to discover what you enjoy and what interests could lead to a career.
GreatSchools.com suggests you register with www.collegeboard.org. They will send out test dates and you can register to take the tests online. Take the PSAT; you can earn scholarships and prepare for the SAT. Decide what extracurricular activities you enjoyed and choose a few to pursue. US News points out that college admissions tend to accept students who go deeper and make an impact in a few areas rather than being minimally involved in a lot of extracurriculars.
During the spring and summer of your sophomore year begin to look at colleges. Find the colleges that rank well in the programs you might want to pursue. Use time during the summer to visit colleges. Find out the admissions requirements for your favorite institutions so that you can prepare appropriately in the coming year.
Decide what exams you will need to take and begin preparing for these. You will want to take the SAT or ACT in the fall or spring of your junior year. This will provide at least one more opportunity to take the tests before college applications are due. You may want to consider taking a prep course to prepare for your exams.
Choose a few subjects to go deeper in at school. You don’t have to take all advanced course, but you should choose a few AP or advanced classes in subjects you really enjoy. Colleges will look for depth and diversity in your course selection. Keep in mind many universities like to see four years of a foreign language and a full breadth of math classes from geometry to calculus.
During the summer you can study for the SAT or ACT, if you intend to take it again. You can also visit more schools and work on perfecting your essays for your college applications.
Now is the time to apply for schools! Be sure to send your application to several schools. Even if you are not accepted to your first choice, you will probably find a program where you will thrive. In the fall of your senior year work to achieve leadership roles in your extracurriculars. College admissions will look for evidence of leadership skills and commitment.
Once you have decided what institution you will attend you can apply for financial aid and scholarships. Be sure to look for independent scholarships, as well as scholarships offered by your institution. Your guidance counselor can help you with this process. You may also want to consider job shadowing someone with a career in your field of interest. Practical experience may help you choose your major or introductory courses in the fall of your college freshman year.
There can be a lot of things to think about and consider when it comes to applying and being accepted to college. When you have a plan you will be more likely to be accepted to your first choice institutions. Being prepared from the beginning of high school will help you make the right choices to succeed in a very competitive college application process.
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