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What Should I Be Doing to Prepare for College?

It’s never too early to start preparing for college. In fact, high school students should start thinking about college as early as their freshman year. The earlier you start preparing for college, the easier the application process will be your senior year. 

Here are 10 ways you can start preparing for college now: 

  1. Participate in extracurricular activities.This not only is a great way to explore your interests and make new friends, but it also shows colleges that you have strong time management skills. Getting involved shows colleges that you are able to manage your school work while also attending club meetings and sports practices. Once you get to college, time management is a vital skill necessary for success. So try out for a sports team, join Spanish club, or even see if you can start your own club!
  2. Take on a Leadership Role.
    While joining extracurricular activities, try to become involved in a leadership role. Colleges look for leaders, they want to admit students that have leadership skills and are dedicated and passionate about something. Taking on a leadership role goes beyond just being involved in extracurriculars, and will help you stand out in the college admission process.
  3. Consider if taking AP classes will help you.
    A great way to communicate to colleges that you are ready for college is by showing them – and one way to do that is by electing to take AP courses. Taking courses that offer college credit may also save you from taking some elective courses your freshman year. However, it’s important to note that it’s not worth it to sacrifice your GPA for rigor so don’t take something like this on if you think your other studies may suffer.
  4. Volunteer in your local community.
    Volunteering is another great way to show colleges that you would be a great addition to their student body. Becoming a regular volunteer shows colleges that you are involved in your community and want to make a difference. The more involved you are in your local community, the more likely you will become involved in your college community. See if your high school offers any volunteer opportunities, find an organization that you’re passionate about, and try volunteering there once a week.
  5. Meet with your guidance counselor regularly.
    Your guidance counselor will be a major resource during your college search. The earlier you meet with them, the better. They can answer any questions you may have about your college search and admissions process. Their job is to provide you with all the right resources and information to help you get accepted into the college of your dreams!
  6. Master your study skills and notetaking skills.
    College classes are different from high school classes. Your tests will cover more material and you might even have to learn some course information on your own. Your studying and notetaking skills need to be top notch in order to succeed. Don’t wait until college, change your habits now. To make an easy transition to college classes, start developing good study habits and taking clear and effective notes while you’re still in high school.
  7. Brush up on your writing skills.
    Being a strong writer is a great skill for anyone to have, especially college students. You’re going to be writing a lot of papers in college. The better writer you are, the more prepared you will be for college. Start putting effort into improving your writing skills while you are still in high school. Also be sure to save your favorite essays, you never know one might inspire a topic for your college admissions essay.
  8. Visit college campuses.
    This is the best way to get a feel for what kind of college is the right fit for you. Do you see yourself at a big school or a small school? Do you want to go to a school in a city or in a more rural area? These are all important factors in your college search process that you can figure out by visiting as many college campuses as possible.
  9. Keep a running list of colleges you are interested in.
    High school goes by fast. Before you know it, it’ll already be time to apply for college. Keeping a running list of colleges you are interested in will help you — and be prepared. This way when the time to start college applications comes, you’re not scrambling last minute to places to apply to.
  10. Reach out to family and friends that are currently college students.
    College students and recent college graduates can be a great resource for your college search. They will be able to answer all of your questions about college life and can even give you insider information about their college experience. Students are very passionate about their college experience and would be more than happy to share it with you!

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