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.