5 Things You Should Do To Prepare for College
A few weeks ago, one of the guidance counselors from our school came to talk to our sophomore Ethics class. The lecture was about preparing for college and what it takes to get there. Let’s face it: college is tough. It’s all new things, you will be doing everything alone, and everything is expensive. It’s a whole new world. So why not start now and be ready when those college applications come your way. Here are some helpful tips on starting to prepare for college…
1. Begin Planning Sophomore Year
People often say that you should start to think about what college you want to go to junior year. That’s wrong. If you want my honest opinion and the same opinion the guidance counselor gave our class, start planning sophomore year and possibly even freshman year. Despite all of the negative things been said about the dwindling power of a college degree, the college you go to will most likely determine the job you have, where you live, and what you do for a good portion of your life.
So, If you want to write, check out schools that major in writing. If you want to be a director, look at decent film schools. If you want to be a physicists, look for schools that have a strong science program (You get the idea). All the research you do beforehand will help you in the long run. Therefore you should decide or at least start thing about what colleges you want to go to around sophomore year. It will make a big difference when you and your parents take that college visit trip.
note: If you haven’t started looking and you are in your junior year don’t worry. Just start looking ASAP!
2. Your GPA Starts FRESHMAN Year
This is a given to all students but I want to address it because it is so imperative to know in college preparation. The moment you enter the doors of that dreaded place called high school, your grades begin and colleges start racking up the points. If you are smart, keep your grades up. If you are not that smart but aspire to go to a really good college, get a tutor. You want your grades as high as possible.
note: Getting an F in spanish isn’t a deal breaker nor is not having a perfect G.P.A . There are many things college admission committees look for. The interview and application process are perfect times to explain growth and or past obstacles.
Everybody wants to do something different in college** so everyone goes somewhere different. When you are planning, it is important to research the colleges you want to go to. This way you can know which colleges will best support the classes/major you want to take. Research is also helpful because college websites will tell you the criteria they look for when accepting students.
The number of credits they expect, the estimated GPA requirements, and the SAT/ACT range of the current freshman class can all be found on the college site or even on collegeboard.com. You can always visit colleges and, if your city has one (it does), you can attend college fairs which are great ways to look at different colleges and the classes they offer.
**Just remember that it is important not to declare a major your freshman or even sophomore year of college.
4. Find A Mentor
Have a head start in the game and have a bit of experience under your belt by the time college comes.
Finding someone within your family or friend circle who has experience is key. If you want to write, talk with a writer. This could be as simple as talking with one of your local newspaper columnists or even your English teacher. If you want to get a job in the field of art, talk with an artist. It could be someone local who draws cartoons for your paper. There are people out there everyday living right next to you who are just as experienced as the famous people who you probably will not get a one-on-one with. It all depends on what you want to do but do it early. That way you have a head start in the game and have a bit of experience under your belt by the time college comes.
Related: Why Does College Cost So Much?
5. Take Classes That Appeal To Your Aspirations
If you research the colleges you want and know what kind of field you might want to get into, then by all means take classes now in high school that will help you attain that goal. Acting and theatre are good ways to get into the film/TV game even if you don’t take these classes at your high school. You could take them at your local theatre or community center. Taking art or drawing is a good way to get into the art field. Photography and journalism make a great combo towards a writing/journalism career. If you want to be a doctor, take an EMT class at your local volunteer fire station.
If it turns out that you don’t like these classes when you do them, then pull out and do something else. There are plenty of classes to take and plenty of colleges. Trust me! With patience and perseverance you will without a doubt get where you are going.
So don’t wait until senior year to start planning. Begin NOW!
Matthew Maddock | Bright Futura Staff Writer