The key to apply to colleges is to get started early. Here are some tips to prepare you for the college process.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO: <!–more–>
- First and foremost, look up the graduation requirements for your high school. After all, how can you go to college if you don’t graduate first?
- Next, look up the high school courses that your state’s universities require and those that they recommend for admission.
- Private schools also have their own course requirements and recommended course loads so if you are interested in a particular private school or schools you should look up this information for them as well.
- Once you’ve gathered all of this information, grab your high school’s course catalog and map out a rough schedule for the next four years, fulfilling all of the requirements and as many of the recommendations as possible.* By planning ahead and making yourself aware of the requirements that need to be met you eliminate the possibility of being stuck in summer school because of a required class you didn’t know you had to take. Such planning sets a goal to fulfill, providing a central path to follow throughout high school.
*You should also consider exploring the Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and or honors classes offered by your school. By loading up on these advanced classes you increase the level of difficulty of your course load, demonstrate intellectual curiosity by pushing yourself and showcase your smarts on the highest level available to you; all things that colleges look for in applicants. The more of these you are able to take and do well in the better. A 3.7 GPA with five advanced courses is considered better than a 4.0 with only one advanced class. If your school doesn’t offer AP, IB, or honors classes look to your local community college for options. Taking extra courses outside of school on the topics that interest you shows real initiative and passion that is sure to impress the admissions office come application time.
- Start researching universities. Visit local schools to get your feet wet and keep browsing. Another plus to beginning early is all of the time you will have to figure out what type of school will be best for you. Searching for your dream school is much easier and more enjoyable without the pressure of application deadlines. Starting earlier can allow you to make a better, more informed decision in the long run.
As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” While some may be able to skate by last minute and still manage to succeed at getting into the college of their choice, those who prepare for the application process in advance will find themselves with a distinctive advantage when the fall of senior year rolls around. Rather than rushing around confusedly trying to get things done you will be calm and organized knowing exactly where you stand and what to do (we’ll get to the specifics later).
If such a significant leg up was available, why wouldn’t you take it?