1. Start Early
Do not wait until your senior year to begin preparing for college. You can utilize all four years in high school to begin preparing for your future. The earlier you begin preparing and planning, the more confident you will feel when it comes time to begin the college search and application process.
2. Get to Know and Form Positive Relationships with your Teachers, Coaches, Administrators and Counselors
Not only are they excellent mentors to assist you in mapping out your future plans, they can also assist you with letters of recommendation when it comes time to begin applying for colleges and scholarships.
3. Get Involved
Join clubs, groups, activities and take advantage of as many volunteer and community service activities as you can. Your grades and test scores are extremely important, but your involvement in activities both in and outside of school will assist you in standing out on college and scholarship applications.
4. Read Daily
Numerous studies have shown that reading on a daily basis can help improve your test scores. It will also assist you in improving your general language and writing skills which can also be beneficial when writing essays for college and scholarship applications.
5. Have a Solid Idea of What Career Path you Want to Take
This will help you when it comes to deciding which college is right for you. Look into opportunities for job shadowing to test out different career options. Research information about careers you are interested in to help narrow down your choices.
6. Thoroughly Research all of Your College Choice Options
Create a list of things that are most important to you when it comes to choosing a college or university, and narrow down your choices based on that list. Make sure they offer the programs classes you want to take or may be interested in. Research how each college choice aligns with your budget. Look into what student activities each school offers.
7. Research College Admission Requirements for all Schools you may be Interested in
Doing this early on will help you to align your goals to meet the requirements for your school of choice.
8. Create a College Budget Plan and Apply for all Scholarships and Financial Aid Available
Do not rule out a school simply because of the cost. Most schools have numerous resources to assist students from all backgrounds with affordability.
9. Go on as Many College Visits as Possible
This will help you become more familiar with your college choices and assist you in deciding which school is right for you.
10. Take Dual Credit Courses in High School if Possible
Typically dual credit courses are offered at a lower price, and can help you get a head start on your degree. However, before you sign up, make sure the credit will transfer to your college of choice, and make sure it is a class you actually need to take for your chosen major. Do not take dual credit courses before you are ready. Make sure you are well prepared for the course to ensure that you enter college with the best GPA possible.
11. Pay close Attention to Application Deadlines
This is important for college and scholarship applications. Keep in mind that sometimes deadlines can change, so you should check them often to make sure you have the correct dates. Ensure that you are submitting all college and scholarship applications well before the deadline. Double check to ensure that your applications meet all requirements and contain all necessary documents and materials
12. Do not be Afraid to Ask for Help
College planning can be stressful, and it is more than okay to ask for help. Work with a trusted source to proofread all college and scholarship applications.