If you are a high school student prepping for college, you have plenty on your plate. Along with deciding which college to attend, you are also applying for financial aid and figuring out your major. But while you are doing all this, it is still important to pay attention to what you are doing in high school, since this can impact whether or not you get into the school that is your first choice.
Importance of Preparing for College in High School
There are a number of reasons it is important to use your time wisely during your high school years to prepare for your college education. First and foremost, any colleges you will be applying to will pay close attention to your grades, since this will be a strong indicator of how committed you are to being a great student. In addition, prepping early on will allow you to learn about various types of financial assistance. In fact, should your grades be good enough, you may earn a scholarship. Also, starting your college prep plans as early as possible while in high school gives you the chance to check out many different schools, consider different types of majors and careers, and get advice from teachers, school counselors, coaches, and others you know who want to see you succeed.
Tips for High School Students to Prepare for College
Now that you know why it is important to prepare for college while in high school, here are tips you can use to be as well-prepared as possible.
Determine if College Is the Path You Want to Take
First, decide if college is indeed the path you want to take. In some cases, students decide they want to attend a trade school, enter the military, start a business or enter a family business, or simply get a job straight out of high school.
Maintain a High GPA
While it can be tough to do, maintain a high GPA during your high school years. If you do, you will have more schools than you ever imagined sending you acceptance letters, offering you a scholarship, and much more.
Take Classes That Will Prepare You for College
If you decide college is the right path for you, take classes that will prepare you for the educational journey ahead. For example, if your career goal is to be a doctor, emphasize science classes such as biology and chemistry. Also, since today’s society is more and more diverse, consider taking foreign language classes. In fact, the more diverse your classes are during high school, the more prepared you will be for college in general.
Engage in Extracurricular Activities
Along with being fun, engaging in extracurricular activities will impress any college to which you apply. Whether you are on a sports team, debate team, are a member of your school’s band, or are active in numerous clubs and organizations, participation in activities such as these will demonstrate you are motivated, self-disciplined, eager to try new things, and able to manage your time well.
Research Colleges and Majors
By researching colleges and majors, you can make wiser decisions regarding your future. For example, do you want to attend a local school, or one far away? Also, which schools have the best programs for your major? By starting as early as your freshman year, you can target specific schools and find out what you will need to do to be accepted.
Connect with Your High School Counselor
If you have not spent much time talking to your high school counselor, now is an excellent time to connect with them about your plans to go to college. In doing so, your counselor can give you advice on which classes to take, what areas you may need to work on to improve your grades, and which colleges may be best for your career plans.
Take the SAT or ACT
Prior to filling out any college application, take the SAT or ACT if you are applying to a school where these tests are required. Should you get a high score, this can go far in helping to catapult you past the competition and get you into the school that is your first choice. But before taking the SAT or ACT, spend plenty of time taking practice tests.
Attend a College Fair
When you attend a college fair, you will be able to learn about many different schools at once. Also, each school usually has counselors, professors, or even students there to answer your questions about majors, financial aid, and the college experience in general.
If you really want to get to know a particular college, schedule a campus visit in person. When you do, you will usually be given a tour by student representatives who are knowledgeable about everything associated with their school. While you are walking around campus, you can get a feel for the area and the students to envision if you see yourself as part of the campus community.
Research Financial Aid/Scholarship Options
Unfortunately, if you want to attend one of the best schools in the United States, it often costs a great deal of money. Therefore, it is crucial you spend plenty of time researching financial aid, grants, and scholarship options. While you may assume these options are limited, they are anything but. In fact, once you start researching your options, you may find more than you ever thought existed. Also, use this time to fill out a FAFSA form and submit it, since this will give you a good idea of how much financial aid you could expect to receive.
Finally, apply early to the schools that are at the top of your list. Since thousands of students apply to these schools each year, getting your name in early on can help showcase your academics and other talents.
While it takes lots of work and determination, putting these tips into practice while still in high school will pay off in the long run. Before you know it, you could have a college degree in your hand from the school you always dreamed of attending.
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