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Preparing For College While in High School

High school is a time for crazy parties, learning to drive, and finally starting to be treated like an adult, right? Of course it is. But, even though you might not agree, it should also be a time to try to receive the best education and college preparation possible.

The journey to a college education begins in high school. After all, it's your high school records that get you into college or get you rejected. So it's important to lay a good foundation early on. Trust me, you'll thank yourself later on. I've taken the time to create a little planner that you can use while in high school:

Freshman Year

-Challenge yourself and keep your grades up. If you think you can handle an honors class, don't take a different class that would be too easy for you. And be sure to keep your grades up...a bad start in high school can be hard to recover from later on.
-Get involved. Freshman year is the time to start joining clubs in school. Find some that coincide with your particular interests and sign up. Not only do they look good on college apps, they also give you great experience and, believe it or not, can actually be fun!
-Read a good book. Reading is a great way to prepare. Chances are that you'll be doing a lot of it in college so get used to it now. I recommend reading The Winter of Our Discontent. Great book?

Sophomore Year

-Don't get in trouble. I know, this sounds stupid but it's very true. When you first get your license, you're given countless new freedoms. I've watched a lot of friends do a lot of stupid things and I suggest you think before you act. Last thing you need is to get hurt or get a criminal record (which wouldn't please colleges).
-Take writing classes. Sophomore year is a good year to perfect your writing skills so be sure to enroll in some writing classes, even if you're an "expert" writer.
-Notice your interests. With college just two more years away, you should have a good sense of what you like to do and ask yourself "would I want to do this for the rest of my life?".

Junior Year

-Enroll in challenging classes. This is probably the most important year. After all, when you send in your college transcripts, they'll likely end with the last semester of your junior year. So this is your time to shine by getting A's in difficult classes.
-Take your ACT's and SAT's. Be sure to take your ACT's and SAT's your junior year. In fact, I suggest you take each of them more than once because your highest score will be kept.
-Go to college fairs. These are great times for you to chat with some colleges you're interested in attending.

Senior Year

-Apply to colleges. This is your time to put all of your stuff together and present it to the college. Fill out your college applications early in the fall and have an English teacher read through your essays to get their opinions.
-Apply for scholarships. Here you go...it's time to apply for scholarships. A lot of people choose not to because it can be a very time-consuming task and you're not guaranteed to win one. But think about it this way...if you apply for 10 and get just 1 of them, isn't it still worth the time?
-Don't screw up! A lot of people begin to "slack" their senior year after they've been accepted to college. Don't do that! You still have to send in your transcripts at the end of the year and you can actually be unaccepted!

I hope this helps out a little with your preparation. Don't just blow college off by saying "oh, it's still three years away...I don't need to worry about it yet". A good, healthy start will pay off when your senior year comes.


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