Flashback to high school freshman me when I was care-free and living life on the edge. I’m just kidding. The way I saw it was that freshman year of high school was the beginning of my college career. Huh? I know that sounds weird but freshman year is when things start to matter more and your decisions have a bigger impact on your future, including college.
Here is how I prepared for college throughout high school
1. This is a big milestone in your life and you should definitely take it seriously. A lot of people make their worst choices and decisions during their freshman year not thinking only to regret it when they are seniors. You need to take your classes seriously at this point. Get good grades and learn how to adapt to the high school curriculum.
2. As a freshman you should be exploring career paths or things that interest you and researching ways to turn your passions into careers. Start deciding what you want to be when you ‘grow up’.
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3. Get involved in clubs or sports you are interested in because colleges look at your involvement just as much as your academics to see if you are a well rounded person. Choose things that can relate to your career choice or things that can help you gain skills that will help you in college such as speech and debate.
1. Your second year things will start to get a tad bit harder and at this point you should start studying more (even if you think you don’t need it) so you can get into the habit of studying for classes. You should also start exploring things that work and don’t work for you when it comes to studying and note taking. Do you work well from hand written notes? Are you good at taking notes during lecture? Reading from your book? Do you study well just re-reading your notes? Do you need a study buddy? Do you like flashcards? Are you a good test taker? Figure out the answers to these so you can adjust your studying and note taking techniques to make things easier for you and help you out in the long run.
2. Also at this point you should be closer to choosing career path and starting to think about colleges you are interested in. You can also start discussing with your parents the financial situation surrounding your college career, weather or not they will be helping you, if you will need to take out all loans, etc. This is also why you should be taking your academics seriously because your good grades freshman and sophomore year will help you get more scholarships for college!
4. You can start looking into ACT and SAT studying sites and materials to help you for when you will take the test. Look into the colleges you are interested in and see what scores you need to be accepted.
1. Junior year should be more about establishing a routine and getting into the swing of things academically. You should know by know how you study and how you learn. You should also start meeting your academic advisor to talk about your plans for college to see if the can help you with scholarships or pointing you in the right direction of colleges or other people to talk to for more help.
2. You should start choosing more difficult classes such as AP or Post Secondary classes if you can to get as much college credit as possible your junior year. This will mean less classes in college which means less to pay for! Start taking classes that in your interest or ones you may need background or credit in for college so you knock those out of the way while you’re taking them for FREE! Also, keep studying for ACT and SATs and keeping those scores you need in mind.
3. Become more involved in your clubs or sports and really take them seriously if you are interested in receiving scholarships for them or if they are relatable to the major you are interested in (such as speech and debate for a political science major).
4. Think about teachers you loved that also liked you so you have a list you can reach out to for recommendation letters that are sometimes needed on college applications. This is a good reason to stay out of trouble and to help your teachers and be involved as much as possible so you can make a good impression on everyone you come into contact with. This will make the process of finding a recommendation letter that much easier and they will say very good things about you.
1. Make sure you have all of your credits needed to graduate and talk with your academic advisor as much as possible for updates on new scholarships to apply for. Talk to them about the colleges you are applying to so they can send your transcripts to them. You will be applying to colleges either near the end of junior year or right at the beginning of senior year depending on how ahead of the game your school is. Since you are applying to college before you even get any senior year grades back you must have astonishing freshman, sophomore, and junior year grades to make up for it. So DO NOT slack off your first year, it matters!
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Helpful Tip: If you find out you are accepted your senior year to your dream school don’t take that as meaning you can slack off and relax the rest of the year. That college can still deny you if you slack off and your senior grades drop and your GPA suffers because of it.
2. Keep working on your GPA and continue to take AP and Post Secondary classes including classes geared toward your major choice to enhance your transcripts.
3. Take the ACT or SAT multiple times throughout your senior year and even during your junior year to work to get the best grade possible because colleges base your admittance on these scores as well. Many colleges have a minimum ACT or SAT score you need in order to get accepted to be sure to know that score and shoot for higher than that so you can compete with the other people applying to the same college with near the same scores and grades as you.
4. You want to stand out to colleges so be sure you were involved throughout high school. Refrain from getting suspended, detentions, and in trouble as much as possible. Reach out to some of the teachers you loved for those recommendation letters for your applications early enough so you are not missing application deadlines because you are waiting on a recommendation letter.
5. Start on your college applications early and try to make that early admittance deadline so you have a better chance of getting accepted. You also want to start early so you can take your time writing a good essay, as most colleges require as apart of their application.
All that’s left to do after applying to your dream school is to wait. But like I said before, don’t slack off. Keep working hard all senior year and graduate!
There is a lot you can be doing through out high school to get ready for college. This is just a small list of things I would suggest focusing on during each year so you can spread the things you need to do over a 4 year period instead of rushing to do everything senior year. Be prepared and take high school seriously people! Don’t make silly mistakes and choices that can prohibit you from going to your dream school.