Gear Up for College!

Posted on July 26 2012

Are you excited to walk along the hallowed halls of your chosen college? Are you just raring to graduate high school and move on to a higher level of learning? It’s never too early to think of ways to prepare yourself for college. Planning ahead will always pay off. Remember, going to college can prove to be a valuable investment. Preparing for it can make more opportunities for you to achieve your educations goals.

Here are some ways to help you prepare for your college application (and if opportunity allows, your financial aid application):

Know yourself. Whether you plan to go to college or not, it will be good to take stock of how you stand, as well as what you dream about. Have a thorough and honest evaluation of yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, your aspirations, your abilities. At this time, you also need to have an idea of the kind of career you want to pursue. Take a closer look at the

Beef up your transcript. Work towards earning not just the basic required courses but career-related objectives. If the courses you are interested in are not offered in your school (or if you are homeschooling), you can look into the over 100 high school courses offered by The American Academy. The American Academy provides quality online high school credits you can get at your own pace 24/7 to make for a more impressive transcript. Take note, colleges do not just look at your grades but also the kind of courses you take.

Get active. Learning is not just about academics. Find an extra-curricular activity or two that captures your interest. This can be student government, the school paper, sports, your high school dance team, the arts club, whatever best fits your talents and interests. Aside from school clubs, you can also look at civic and volunteer activities in the community. Developing a well-rounded skill set can help you get ready for college. With your list of extra-curricular involvement, your application will be more attractive to colleges who are always in the lookout for students who can add color to the campus.

Work with your counselor. Your school guidance counselor can help you chart the path towards graduating high school early. The counselor can help you determine how much work you have done and still need to do so that you can finish all the necessary course work and move up to the college of your choice. Here are some questions you can ask your counselor:

  • How will the advanced courses work with my schedule?
  • What elective courses should I take?
  • Are there any materials you have (guides or college handbooks) that I can look into?
  • What things and activities can I do during my free time to help me prepare for college?
  • Do various colleges require a certain level of grades? If so, what?
  • How can I apply for financial aid in college?
  • How does my transcript look like? Is there anything I need to do to improve it?

Develop good study habits. This involves learning how to organize your self – your schedule, priorities and knowing how to set goals. Getting online high school courses can help you develop that discipline since you work independently and at your own pace. Discover what makes you study more effectively – does music help? Or would you rather study in a quiet room? Do you do better with a group or by yourself?

Read. Reading, both for learning and entertainment, can strengthen your mind. As they say, “the more you read, the more you know.” Practice discernment in your reading as you not only take in other people’s opinions but also form your own opinions about various subjects. Read books, magazines and newspapers.

Strengthen your writing skills. You do not need to only learn how to read effectively, but to write effectively as well. Writing is a good skill to develop, not just for college but throughout your life.