How to Prepare for College 5 Years in Advance

Most people view high school as a blissful period devoid of responsibility. However, this is a dangerous mindset to adopt since it can have long-lasting detrimental effects on one’s future college admission options. Standard educational requirements and mandatory service hours aside, high school is the time to begin exploring options as well as figuring out what professional niche most appeals to you. Fortunately, in this day and age there are opportunities available to high school students even in the smallest and most remote districts to help guide them towards making an informed decision about their career choice.

Regardless of whether you plan to enroll in college, high school is the best time to take inventory of your aspirations, interests, strengths and weaknesses and consider which of these can work for you. A precise career plan is not required right away, but during the first two years of high school, you will want to begin to think about your education and employment options upon graduation.

Setting goals regarding grades, standardized test scores, and overall involvement is important as it boosts motivation and commitment. Another good idea is to scout the local ads for work experiences related to jobs you find relevant to the field you’re interested in. While it’s good to be paid, volunteering is a way to gain valuable insight into how businesses and different not-for-profit and governmental organizations operate. People who are still choosing between various courses of study may want to consider participating in a wide range of student experiences to narrow their interests down to a few and make an easier decision.

Most students believe that the college application process is not something that begins until the senior year of high school, but it actually begins much earlier. Research shows that freshmen who start prepping for college admission tests do better on interviews and are generally more aware of what is expected from them.

College admission officers consider the courses a student takes in high school as a way of measuring the student’s level of ambition and commitment. Are they signing up for advanced classes, honors sections, or accelerated sequences? Are they choosing electives that really put their mind to the test and help them develop new abilities? Or are they doing the bare minimum?

Colleges are more impressed by good grades in serious, challenging courses than by outstanding grades in easy ones. They also match your high school course selections to the knowledge you’re expected to demonstrate on your SATs. For students who excel on these tests, a lack of AP classes or an overall direction may be red flags to admissions officers.

Always sign up for classes on the recommended list for college preparation. Consult with your counsellor as often he or she will give you the most up-to-date and valuable information to be prepared.

Taking advantage of all the freely available testing information is very important as it gives real feedback on all the areas you need to work on. Examine your scores and take extra courses or get tutoring assistance if necessary. Lower grades don’t necessarily mean you’re inept at a subject. Too often people play only to their strengths instead of working to develop new ones.

A career counselling program can help students explore careers through research and experiences, but the internet is still the most valuable tool you will ever have in your search for information on education and career planning.

Generally, the best time to take a college entrance exam is during your junior year as it provides enough time for correction and addressing all areas in which you’ll need assistance.

If you feel your skills aren’t quite up to speed for college, don’t give up on applying. Take time to prepare yourself in smaller steps, maybe through a summer or night school class.

Finally, don’t get sloppy once you’ve been accepted by a school. This is a decision with potentially catastrophic results, as colleges tend to watch their prospective students and can withdraw their offer of admission at any given time. Dropping college prep classes or earning uncharacteristically low grades is something that will put you on the radar.