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High School Students Planning for College: It Is Extremely Important That You Start Early and Prepare for Success

August 6, 2016

 

Are you a High school student?: Thinking about college? There are things you can do to prepare for the next step as early as your freshman year. Start planning properly as soon as possible regarding the steps you will need to have the best chance of getting into a college/ university.

 

Plan Early

Although it's important to focus on getting the most out of your high school years, there are a few things you can do from day one to help you be ready for the next big step: College.

 

Develop good study habits

Even if school comes easily to you, it's important to get into good habits now. These will serve you through high school and into the more difficult challenges you'll face in college.

 

Pursue extracurricular activities

Colleges are looking for well-rounded applicants who succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. Look for extracurricular activities that suit your interests - these should be fun! - and also demonstrate positive qualities such as leadership and social responsibility.

 

Volunteer

Volunteering is another good way to show prospective schools that you're more than just a grade point average. This can also help you fulfill your high school's service learning requirement if it has one.

 

Staying on Track

It's important to keep your college goals in mind as you continue through your sophomore and junior years. Here are a few additional things you can do during these years.

 

Pursue advanced courses

Always challenge yourself by pursuing the most advanced classes within your ability, including Advanced Placement (AP) courses. This will not only help you get the most from your high school experience, but also impress college admissions officers and help prepare you for college-level coursework. AP courses may even lead to some college credit.

 

Study a foreign language

Many colleges have a foreign language requirement. Get a jump-start on this requirement and improve your study abroad opportunities by taking foreign language classes in high school.

Prepare for college entrance exams.

 

The beginning of your junior year is a great time to start thinking about what your strengths are in testing and how you can most effectively prepare for college entrance exams. Most students take the PSAT early in their junior years and you'll need to take the SAT or ACT either late junior year or early senior year in order to have time to retake it if necessary. (Note: The PSAT is not a college admissions test, but a high score can lead to certain competitive state scholarships.)

 

Stay active

Keep up either your extracurricular activities or your volunteering service, or both if you're really ambitious.

 

Research colleges