Juniors in high school who read this will be far ahead of the competition when it comes to getting into prestigious universities and state colleges. Here is a comprehensive guide and college prep checklist for getting into college. Read on to learn about what you need to do to give yourself an edge over the competition.
Take the first step. Determine who your high school guidance counselor is and make an introduction. You have two more years at this school, and your senior year will most likely be with the same guidance counselor. Get a head start on everyone else by setting the groundwork today and starting the conversation about your desire to attend college. Set up a meeting. There will be many of your fellow students fighting for your guidance counselor’s attention, and he may not be able to help them all. He will, however, make every effort to assist youngsters he knows who wish to attend college.
Decide on the parameters that you and your family will use when you search for colleges in order to prevent having to hurry at the last moment for your top choices. Would a huge public university or a tiny liberal arts college make you more satisfied? What role does financial aid play in your college decision-making? Would you rather attend a school near your parents, anywhere else in the country, or perhaps the rest of the world?
Become friends with a few teachers. While applying to colleges, you’ll need recommendations, and great recommendations come from the teachers who know you best.
Participate in something. You’ll need certain materials for your college CV. Join a club related to your major, even if you have only a hazy concept of what you want to study in college. Colleges value appropriate extracurricular activities on resumes.
Set up your meeting with your guidance counselor. Make sure you’re taking the correct classes and making good use of your time. Ask about potential majors and institutions that could be a good fit for you.
Register for the PSAT, which will be administered in mid-October. It’s important to study and take it seriously, but it’s not worth getting worked up over. The exam is intended to accomplish two things: 1) They collect your name and address so universities can start sending you stuff in the mail, and 2) they see what areas you need to improve on when you take the real SAT. It’s not always a horrible thing, but that’s what it is.
You can be certain that schools will be eager to learn everything there is to know about you. What characteristics and activities define your individuality? Why do you wish to pursue your chosen major(s)? How, from childhood to adulthood, have you demonstrated growth?
Begin considering the answers to the above questions and write down what you feel are the best answers based on your favorite subject areas and activities. Make a master list of your strongest points and the reasons you are passionate about them.
October, November, and December:
Go through some of the college-related mail that is starting to arrive at your door.
Check your PSAT results. The score will show you the areas you need to improve.
Make another appointment with your guidance counselor. Examine your PSAT score. Inquire about how you might obtain assistance in areas where you are lacking. Inquire about your classes for the coming school year. Make sure you’ve signed up for a demanding course load.
Begin studying for the SAT or ACT. Choose the test your ideal school favors and concentrate on taking it. Several schools are SAT-optional, which means they do not require SAT scores. Take them nonetheless. You don’t have to submit them if you blow it. It’s something to consider.
Enroll for the ACT and/or SAT in the spring.
Continue studying for the SAT and/or ACT.
March and April:
Start going through all of the mail that your preferred universities or colleges have been sending you.
Determine which institutions are the best fit for you and what major you are interested in.
Take some virtual school tours.
Start looking into scholarships and financial assistance opportunities if you need them.
Set-up some college visits. Do each of these four things:
- Instead of a campus tour, plan an overnight stay. It’s the most effective approach to acquire a sense of the school.
- Search for indications of college life. You won’t grasp the essence of student life if you come when students are not around or in class.
- Because much of college life revolves around food, find out where the students eat and go there. It is here that you will get a sense of who the kids are.
- Setting up an appointment with an admissions official is one of the most significant aspects of your campus tour. The admissions process is personal, and if the admissions officer can add a human face to your application, you’ve just enhanced your chances of admittance dramatically! If you can truly make that admissions officer “actually recall” you, your chances of admittance skyrocket!
Take the SAT, ACT, or both tests.
June, July and August:
Try volunteering or engaging in a charitable service activity throughout the months of June, July, and August. Admissions officials value leadership and commitment in extracurricular activities outside of school.
Speak to your parents about the institutions you’re thinking about attending.
Read other college prep checklists to make sure you’re on top of everything.
Have a good time! It’s about to become interesting!