You are about to enter the next chapter of your life! No matter if it is a college or university, you are going to have the best time of your life. However, every beginning is hard and scary, and you may be really nervous about everything that is coming with that. So, you better start planning and preparing right now!
Everyone goes through that stage, so it’s not something that you won’t survive and after you are done with this part of your education, you will realize how amazing it was.
To be prepared to the maximum and to make sure you are going to have the time of your life we prepared some guidelines and tips for you. Some of these you can even use in your life after college.
Start in High School
To prepare for college, you need to start thinking about it while you are still in high school. There are some decisions you will make that will affect your future. Let’s talk about the things you need to do while you are still a high school junior.
The first thing you need to know that when you come to university, you will need to take the SAT or the ACT. Because of that, you need to focus on studying all of the years while you are at school.
Try to maintain a high grade point average. This is for every year. Before being accepted in college, they will review your grades from each year in high school. To make things easier for you, think about your majors and the extracurricular activities.
If you are not the type of person who has a high GPA, then you need to really excel at extracurricular activities. You may ask why you need them, and here is what you will gain from them.
- Social Opportunities – and with this, personal development
- Great-looking Resume – this is something you will need when you look for a job, the more things listed, the better
- Stand-Out College Applications – you want to be accepted in the college, right? Well, with a good list of extra-curricular activities, you will stand out
- You will make new friends
- You will get a break from studying and you will be doing something productive
There are so many things you can do that will count as extra-curricular activities, starting from internships up to joining a sports team. You will definitely be able to find something you are interested in and that will bring you joy. Let’s see some of the most common activities students choose.
- Community service and volunteer work
- Peer mentoring
- Debate team
- Part-time job
- Performing drama, arts and/or music
- Culture club
- Academic clubs and teams
- Student newspaper
Senior Year in High School
These are serious tips now. Until now you’ve prepared for college, but you have to really start thinking about your options now.
Narrow the list of the colleges or universities you are interested in attending. Make a list, go through it several times. After you’ve found your top 5 or 10, get the brochures and review the websites. It would really be helpful if you know someone who’s already attending these places.
If you have a low SAT or ACT score, you should know that you can re-take the test. CollegeApps.com suggests that you should get study guides or try and enroll in a preparation course. You should know that these tests don’t just increase your admission opportunities, they will also improve your chances of earning a scholarship.
The next thing you need to do is visit the campus. There are many universities and colleges that will allow high school students to sit in during the lectures and you can also receive a tour from the current students. Make a list of questions you have and ask them. If you don’t feel comfortable asking them in a group, you can ask the current student, professor or any other representative from the college to answer them for you.
You should know that you need to start submitting your applications by October. Most places offer early decision deadlines, so the sooner you start, the better.
Check to see if you have all of the required financial aid forms. Different schools have different deadlines and requirements. The next thing you want to do is to fill out a Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You can find this online or at most community libraries and high schools. Once you’ve filled it, you need to submit it as soon as possible. Your parents will need to provide information about their annual income, so file taxes as soon as possible.
After you’ve done all that, you need to start watching for your Student Aid Report (SAR). It is usually available about a month after the FAFSA has been completed and returned.
The next thing you need to do is see what schools will admit you. Review the aid awards you will be receiving and make your decision based on that. When you decide where you want to enroll, you will need to inform the college or university.
You can also apply for a student loan, and you will need to submit a final copy of your current school transcript to the place you want to attend.
Don’t forget to inform the other universities or colleges that offered you admission, that you won’t be attending their school.
What do you think about this? Have you already started preparing for the next chapter in your life? Make sure you focus on your education and on making friends after you enroll in the desired place.
Some of the friendships you are going to make in college will last your whole life. Because of that, you need to choose a good place where you are going to study. Focus on the things you like and the things that interest you.
There are a lot of young adults that get overwhelmed because they need to make these decisions now, decisions that will affect their whole lives. Just breathe and find something you think you will be good at. At the end of the day, if you realize you don’t like your profession in the future, you can always choose something else.