If you’re like most high students, you’re currently writing several college essays, cramming for the SATs, and trying to figure out how you’re going to pay for college.
Then, you realize that going to the college of your dreams may not be realistic and you start to panic. If this sounds like what you’re doing, then realize that you’re not alone.
With that said, are you worried that your college preparation is off track? Do you want to learn some helpful tips for applying to colleges? In this college preparation checklist, we’ll explain some college application tips you can follow to plan your future.
How Difficult is It to Apply for College?
If you think college is out of reach because the application process is too complicated, we have some good news for you. The college application process has gotten easier in recent years.
There are now many college application portals that allow students to fill out one application and send it to multiple colleges. This means that you don’t have to fill out a different application for each college you’re applying to.
What’s more, is that there are plenty of resources available to help you navigate the college application process. You can find college counselors at your high school or even hire a private college admissions consultant.
Why is Preparation So Important?
The college application process is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to preparing for college. There are many other factors to consider, such as choosing the right college, applying for financial aid, and picking a major.
It’s important to start preparing for college early so that you can make the best decisions for your future. By taking the time to research your options and plan ahead, you’ll be more likely to succeed in college and beyond.
How Should You Prepare in Your Freshman Year?
In your freshman year, you should start by taking the right classes. This means enrolling in college prep courses like English, math, science, and social studies.
You should also start thinking about what kind of college you want to attend. Do you want to go to a large university or a small college? Do you want to stay close to home or go far away for school?
It’s important to start exploring your options early so that you can make an informed decision about where to apply.
How Should You Prepare in Your Sophomore Year?
In your sophomore year, you should continue to take college prep courses and start to think about your extracurricular activities.
What kinds of activities are you involved in outside of school? Do you play sports, participate in theatre, or volunteer in your community?
Your extracurricular activities will be an important part of your college application. They can help you stand out from other applicants and demonstrate your interests and passions.
One impactful extracurricular activity is participating in the National Honor Society. Read more here about if this option is right for you.
How Should You Prepare in Your Junior Year?
In your junior year, you should start to prepare for college entrance exams like the SAT or ACT. The SAT and ACT are college entrance exams that most colleges and universities require applicants to take.
The SAT is a standardized test that measures college readiness skills. The ACT is a simpler standardized test that measures basic English, math, reading, and science skills.
You should also begin working on your college essays. The personal statement is a key part of your college application. It’s your opportunity to show colleges who you are and what you’re interested in.
Your college essay should be about you as a person, not just about your academic achievements. What should you write about in your college essay?
There are a few college essay prompts that are popular among colleges. One prompt is to write about an experience that has shaped who you are.
Another common prompt is to write about your career aspirations. You can also choose to write about a personal challenge you’ve faced or a time when you’ve taken a stand for something you believe in.
How Should You Prepare in Your Senior Year?
In your senior year, you should continue to work on your college applications. You should also start to think about how you’re going to pay for college. Are you going to apply for scholarships? Are you going to take out student loans?
If you’re worried about how to pay for college, don’t worry. There are many financial aid options available to help you pay for your education.
One option is scholarships. Scholarships are a great way to finance your education because they don’t have to be repaid. You can search for scholarships online or through your high school guidance counselor.
Another option is student loans. Student loans are a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. You should only take out as much as you need to cover your costs.
You can also apply for grants and work-study programs. Grants are a type of financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid. Work-study programs allow you to work part-time to help pay for your education.
Our College Preparation Checklist at a Glance
To recap, here’s a college preparation checklist for high school students:
- In your freshman year, start thinking about the college you want to attend
- In your sophomore year, take college prep courses and start to think about your extracurricular activities
- In your junior year, prepare for college entrance exams and begin working on your college essays
- In your senior year, continue to work on your college applications and start to think about how you’re going to pay for college
Regardless of where you are in the process, it’s never too late to start planning for college.
Learn More About College Preparation for Juniors
Spending your entire high school senior year preparing for college is never a good idea. When you begin high school, you’re better off starting the process right away to give yourself some peace of mind when it’s time to submit college applications.
Overall, our college preparation checklist should give a complete rundown on how to prepare for college the right way. For more college preparation tips, check out more articles from our blog.