On Preparing for College | Teen Ink

On Preparing for College

December 28, 2021
By WillC2021 ELITE, Winfield, West Virginia
WillC2021 ELITE, Winfield, West Virginia
147 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
Never give up! Put in the hard work and efforts to achieve your ambitions and goals!

High school is one of the most important parts of an individual's life. As with any major stages, a good knowledge of all available resources, tips, and opportunities is highly crucial for success. Many 8th grade students enter high school with barely any to nonexistent information concerning how high school function and what to do during their high school years to prepare effectively for college.

During the months prior to their freshmen year, students should be discussing their course selections with their parents as well as consulting with the high school counselors assigned to them. A building cannot last without a good foundation, the same can be said of education. Without a careful course selection and meticulous consultation with parents and counselors, any student can become easily lost in a maze of information. Furthermore, freshmen year should be taken advantaged of to the highest degree. For instance, this is the year to get started on the PSAT prep (an exam-based selection for the NMSQT Scholarship in the junior year), getting to know their counselors, work on discovering their passions and get into depth with extracurricular activities (sports, band, clubs, volunteering services, etc.).

In the following sophomore year, students should be continuing their PSAT prep, it would be greatly ideal to get started with standardized test prep in either the SAT or ACT as well. By their sophomore year, most students would have likely adapted to high school life and let their academic guards down. Working harder does not always equate to corresponding rewards, it is to the students' best interests to work smarter at the same time. This is the year to perfect their time management skills in the classroom setting and consider taking a few AP courses that interests them as a challenge to their intellectual development. Simultaneously, extracurricular activities should not be abandoned but rather pursued wholeheartedly in a few spike areas (a couple activities that a student particularly likes or have an aptitude for). By possessing extracurricular activities, students are doing a great favor for themselves by sowing the seeds of potential essay topics to write about during the college application months in the senior year as well as providing a window for college admission officers to see who they are as a living human being outside the classroom.

In the penultimate junior year prior to their graduation, good habits developed in the previous two years should be carried over intact. It is advisable for students to become close with their counselor and a few teachers who know them well. After all, if students are applying to colleges, chances are, some are going to require recommendation letters. College admission boards want to know you as a person, not statistics on a paper, recommendations are one of the fewest ways that colleges can get to know you on the personal level. As the junior year grinds on, this year probably is also the year when students can finally become the leader in whatever activities they are in. Take advantage of your seniority status; be an impactful, inspiring leader! Furthermore, don't forget to take the PSAT (usually offered at high schools); however, personal preparations should also be made by the junior fall for the SAT or ACT. Always register ahead of time for the SAT or ACT for a practice and study over the areas that you are not proficient in.

Finally! The senior year has arrived! Before the school year actually starts, it is recommended that students have already started and finalized their college lists (list of colleges that a student wants to attend), brainstormed on how to write college application essays (personal statements, supplementary essays, etc.), as well as the scavenger hunt of scholarships. Usually, students apply to colleges through the Common Application; however, students can wait for state college representatives to come to their school as well. It is essential to keep track of the application deadlines of the colleges that you are applying to as well as sending in all the correct documents seamlessly. The senior fall is especially momentous, be sure to talk to your counselors concerning the FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) and ask for letters of recommendation months prior to the actual deadline when applicable. Let's face it, teachers are busy, students need to accommodate to their teachers' conveniences. If a teacher hesitates when asked to write a letter, chances are, you should probably find another who can speak positively on your behalf unwaveringly.

When all is set, and that acceptance letter came, you know that the efforts that you have put in during the past four years were not in vain! Enjoy this moment and transition the best aspects of high school into college. Another step closer to realizing your ambitions!

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