High school freshmen: It is time to start planning for college!
You are just starting out in high school, but the path to college starts now. It may seem like a long time from now, but four years will fly by, and there is a lot to do in those four years to get you ready for college.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Meet with your guidance counselor early. The sooner you meet him/her, the sooner you can develop a good relationship that will allow for more personalized attention in the future with regards to class choices, college admissions assistance and academic assistance, and they will be able to write a more personal college recommendation for you when the time comes.
Let them know right from the start that you want to go to college and want to make sure you are doing everything possible to put yourself in the best position for college admission.
Make sure that you are taking a strong college prep curriculum right from the start. Strength of program is important to colleges. If you qualify for an honors class or two, take them!
Your grades count right from the start, so make sure you are taking the time and making the effort to do well in your coursework.
With many athletic and other extracurricular programs being put on hold due to COVID-19, it is a great time to focus all your attention on your schoolwork and start your high school academic career strong.
As you progress through the year, think about what classes you like the best. Which ones come easier to you, and where you need a little extra help?
Do not be slow to ask for help, as the more you fall behind in a subject, the harder it can be to catch up. Check out whatever resources are available to you at school through your teachers or counselor.
Explore different extracurricular activities now. This may be harder right now, but there will be opportunities available.
It may mean that you have to be more creative in the long run, but colleges like to know that you can think out-of-the-box and come up with your own ideas.
Talk to your parents about the financial realities of college and how that will impact your family financial situation.
Do your parents have money set aside for college? Will you want or need to get a part-time job to help with expenses?
The best thing you can do right now is to excel in your academics to put you in the strongest position for academic scholarships.
Do not be discouraged by lack of immediate funding, as most colleges offer substantial financial aid packages to the strongest academic candidates.
It is best to have this conversation early, so that expectations are appropriately set.
If you already have a strong leaning towards a certain major or career, speak to your counselor about what kind of classes you should be taking.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t already know, and don’t limit yourself to one path only so early on.
A lot will change in the next four years.
Branch out. Think about meeting new friends, being on new teams and exploring new clubs and activities.
Even during a pandemic – especially during a pandemic! – it is important to have a strong support system in high school.
Early planning is key to the success of the college application process, and now is the time to get started.
Best wishes to all of you for a fun and productive start to your high school days!
Maryanne Hogan is an Independent College Admissions Consultant working with students on Maui. Visit her website, thecollegeauntie.com, for more information or to make an appointment.