Preparing for college can seem pretty overwhelming, but if you take the time to work on your approach, you can easily get into the college of your choice. Here are 10 suggestions that will help you successfully prepare for college.
1. Get excellent grades in high school
High schools important. Your academic performance during your junior year is especially noteworthy. If you want to make sure that you can go to your number one college choice, then you need to make the grades in high school.
2. Take college prep courses
Getting good grades is important, but having excellent marks in college prep courses is truly the way to go. When you take Advanced Placement (AP) classes, then you can boost your overall GPA. If you get decent grades on your AP tests, then you can avoid taking certain classes (i.e. Writing 101) in college. College Prep courses improve your academic skills and pump up your transcript.
3. Engage in extra-curricular activities
Your college application needs to illustrate more than just academic aptitude. You need to show admissions officers that you are a well-rounded applicant. Consider joining a sports team or school club. Do some volunteer work or take an internship somewhere. Have a part time job, become a photographer or learn a musical instrument. Whatever you do for a hobby, spin it so that you look like the busiest, most productive student in the country.
4. Apply to multiple universities
Be sure you apply to more than one school. Have at least one safe pick a guaranteed sure thing. Apply to a couple of places that you think will accept you, and choose at least one or two schools that may appear out of your reach. You just never know.
5. Visit the universities that you are considering
Make sure you visit the places you are considering. Check out the layout, the student body and the surrounding city area. If you have a specific geographical requirement (i.e. you want to go to school by the beach or near a major metropolitan city), make sure that the school you’re considering can provide the learning and living atmosphere that you’re looking for.
6. Secure as much free cash as possible
Apply for financial aid early and annually, and make sure that you fill out applications for every grant that you are eligible for. Look for scholarships until you find one that caters to your specific situation. There’s so much money to be claimed out there. Make sure you collect all you can.
7. Consider the career implications of the major you’re considering
While it’s always a good idea to follow your interests, be sure that you’ve explored the career choices that your degree will open up to you. If you have dreams of being a Nobel Prize winning physicist, then Painting is probably not the major that’ll get you there. College is an investment. If you are looking for a particular return on that investment, then you need to know what you can do with the specific degree that you’re considering.
8. Consider attending a community college and transferring to a four-year university
You can save a ton of money by taking your general education requirements at a local community college. Transferring from a city college to a top-notch four-year university is solid strategy (especially if you didn’t get into the school of your choice the first time around).
9. Be true to your own education and career goals
Don’t pick a college because you like the football team, or because your parents attended the same university. Pick a school that suits your own academic and professional goals. College is an intensely personal experience. It’s a time to mature and to be exposed to new things. You are the one who is ultimately in control of you future, both in college and beyond.
Don’t stress yourself out too much. College is important, but it’s only a fraction of your life. Your college experience will mold your future, but it will not set it in stone. Life changes regularly. Don’t think that your entire existence hinges on where you go to get your degree.
If you take the time to prepare, you will notice the results. If you start planning your college preparation today, you will enjoy the options that you have tomorrow.