Preparing for college starts the minute you walk through those front doors on the first day of high school. The classes you take not only affect your GPA, but affect what schools you can apply to and how prepared you are when it comes to deciding on what you want to do for the rest of your life. Here are some tips for those going into and currently in high school to prepare for college:

1. SAT Scores

The dreaded test many of us spend three of our high school years stressing over and preparing for may not be as intimidating as you think. Yes, SAT scores are important, but if you don’t do well on them it doesn’t mean you won’t get into college. Of course, some schools such as Ivy Leagues are extremely competitive and require high SAT scores in order to get accepted, but there are more and more schools that are starting to realize that judging a persons’ academic skills based on one single test is unfair. If you’re not a good test taker, look into these schools! Many schools no longer require SAT scores as part of the application at all, but even those that do are starting to weigh them less heavily. Coming from experience, I can say that whether you have extremely strong SAT scores or not will not directly impact your acceptance to most schools, however it does impact the grants you receive. The higher your SAT scores, the more money your school is willing to give you as far as academic grants go!

2. Dual Enrollment

Though not all schools have dual enrollment programs, more and more are starting to add them. Dual enrollment classes typically give you college credit through your community college as long as you pass the class; no test required. They’re free and a great way to gain college credit! Though not all colleges will accept them as transfer credits, many do and it looks great to have college classes under your belt when applying to schools regardless! These classes can end up saving you tons of money and don’t necessarily have to be harder than any other class you’d take in high school.

3. Honors/AP Courses

Yes, honors and AP courses are extremely helpful when it comes to getting accepted into a majority of schools, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all. If you don’t feel as though you’ll do well in these courses, don’t stress yourself out. Instead focus on doing the absolute best that you can in the classes that you’re in to get the highest GPA that you can. If you’re willing to take on harder courses, I can’t stress how important it is to start your freshman year. Your classes will be your easiest then, and they can really boost your GPA. Don’t slack off just because you think you have four more years to get your grades together. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

4. Your Schedule

Your guidance counselors are most likely to tell you all about the importance of taking challenging classes in order to look more appealing to colleges, but what they don’t tell you is that taking diverse classes are just as important. Yes, it looks great to take that Honors Algebra 2 class or that AP Environmental Science, but it looks just as good to have Theater and Sculpture on your schedule. Colleges want to see diversity and that you’re able to balance a variety of different things and excel in them.

5. Extracurricular Activities

As I said above, diversity is key. Colleges love seeing that you’re in National Honor Society, but they love seeing that as well as your involvement in the spring musical and basketball and writing for the school newspaper. Colleges want diverse and unique students to come to their campus in hopes that you will bring that diversity to their campuses!

Overall, enjoy your four years because as corny as it sounds they fly by! Have fun, be yourself, and pursue your passions.

Image: Flickr


Summers are underrated. Relaxing under the sun, hanging out with friends, seeing movies whenever you feel like them, and worst of all desperately attempting to avoid work all lead down a high speed road until you’re plopped back into the fall at work or at school and wonder what you’re doing with your life.

For me personally, I am staring the inevitable death of summers right in the face, as I prepare for my senior year of college. But no matter what situation might bring you towards your last summer vacation, what’s important is that you make the most of it.

Here are some ideas for how to make the most out of any summer, and avoid that downhill tumble into September:

1. Make fitness a priority.

The hardest part about exercise is getting it into a part of your daily routine. The dog days of summer are the perfect time to set yourself up for the busier seasons ahead by installing an exercise plan throughout the week. It feels like work, but after awhile the habit will kick in. You’ll want to go for a run rather than need to. Whether it’s to stay in shape or just to keep your mind sharp, exercise is a valuable asset to any go-getter’s arsenal.

2. Mix up your environment.

You’ll have the rest of your life to work in a typical office experience. While getting any professional experience will be incredibly valuable in the future, try to find it in an avenue that’s possibly more of a peripheral interest, or that’ll challenge you in ways your aspiring career might not. I’ll give you a personal example.  During my last summer, I have spent my days as a Creative Writing Intern for a small video game company. Though I’ve always enjoyed both writing and video games, I had never fully combined them into one workday until this experience. I feel like its really broadened my preexisting skillset, and opened a door to a potential career field I hadn’t initially thought about.

3. Keep an idea journal.

One of the most powerful things humans have are ideas. Keeping a journal of your day-to-day ideas keeps them under your control and in your hands. Big or small, easy or difficult, all ideas should be saved. You never know when an idea will come, or when the timing is right to seize on it. Write it down.

4. Take advantage of a flexible schedule.

The last summer also presents the ominous prospect of potentially leaving your home or your hometown. Take some time to revisit landmarks from the past,and to discover new places and possibilities too! The flexible schedule of the summer will leave you with some space to get out of your house and your comfort zone. Sleeping in is always an incredible option, but when you’re young and the world is this old, you gotta take advantage of all it has to offer.

5. Set away time for fun.

At the end of the day, this is still summer vacation. I know it’s hard to remember that second part. But it’s still there! When the waning summer days start to get hectic, give yourself the space to recharge in whatever outlet you find best. Binge a television show you’ve always wanted to binge. Read. Sometimes the best thing you can do to further your professional goals is to achieve your recreational ones. You should love the work you do, but don’t forget to love your life, too.

How have you been making the most of your summer?

Image: Jay Mantri


“Whether things are going really well or not so well you just want to play one play at a time and stay in the now.” — Russell Wilson

russell wilson seahawks

 As Seattlelites, we are huge Seahawks fans. This season has been a great one for the Seahawks, and as they head into the Playoffs this month, we will be supporting them every step of the way. If you’ve ever seen a Seahawks game, you’ll notice the incredible teamwork and passion on and off the field. One player in particular that stands out for his passion, skill, and leadership is the quarterback, Russell Wilson. Watch this video of Russell Wilson from to watch his leadership in action – it is seriously impressive and admirable. From this video, the dozens of games we’ve watched him play, and his interviews, Wilson demonstrates the qualities of a strong leader and a devoted team player. Just from watching Russell Wilson play football, these are seven leadership traits he possesses:

Russell Wilson Leadership Traits

1. Maintain a Positive Attitude. If a play doesn’t succeed, Wilson does not let that affect his positive attitude. Instead, he looks at the bright side and uses encouraging words to pick himself and his teammates back up. Wilson praises his teammates and gets his team excited and re-energized.

2. Know your Goals. Leaders should have goals – for themselves and their team. Ask Wilson what his goals are and he doesn’t even take a moment to hesitate. He has four: be dominant, be consistent, be clutch, and be healthy. Know your goals at the top of your head so that they will always be a part of your every action.

3. Admit your Mistakes. If a poor pass is made during the game, Wilson is the first to acknowledge his mistake. By admitting what he did wrong, Wilson can then take the necessary steps to improve and not make the same mistake twice. It is not weak for leaders to make mistakes; in fact, your team will appreciate that you aren’t trying to be a hero or a faultless leader.

4. Separation through Preparation. Wilson stands out on and off the field by preparing and being as ready as he can be for game day. Wilson is incredibly focused and will spend hours and hours studying film that will help him better understand his opponent and how he can move better on the field. By taking the time to prepare, Wilson is ready to handle anything that comes his way on the field.

5. Pay Attention to Details. Wilson focuses on the little details, which in turn help him improve his game and skills.

6. Set the Tone. Before a practice or a game, Wilson sets the tone by arriving early to work and leaving late. Wilson remains composed and confident – on the field and during press conferences. As a leader, setting the tone for your team or group will establish a solid foundation for expectations and how you intend to lead and treat others. By showing up early, prepared, and ready to improve, others will follow suit.

7. Leave a Legacy. Wilson frequently visits the Seattle Children’s Hospital on his days off and he is the National Ambassador for the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association. When he is not in-season, Wilson hosts the Russell Wilson Passing Academy, a youth football camp that teaches the fundamental skills of being a great football player.

What leadership traits have you learned through watching sports? 

{Image via, Russell Wilson, Seahawks}