30 11 / 2011
I was recently asked where to begin with getting into college. I answered the question, and realized that this is probably good information to put out there, because I’m sure lots of you have these questions!
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the SAT and ACT tests. I definitely recommend taking those tests this year, if possible. Talk to your counselor at your school and see if they offer fee waivers or help to pay for them, and pick up a study guide or two. They really help. The difficulty of these tests are different for everyone, especially if you’re not a good test-taker, or you have difficulty with reasoning. That’s where the study guides can really help. Also check online for SAT/ACT preparation, or practice tests. Utilize whatever tools you have available to you! Along with that, I also recommend that you start to build your resume now, if you haven’t already done so. Your counselor should also be able to help with this, since this can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. (Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions! That’s what they’re there for. :D) Your resume helps schools see what you do and what you’re like outside of the classroom. Take a look at grades, work experience, and extra-curricular activities. All of this can help you plan out your senior year so that you can build yourself up to be the best you can be. Once you do that, you can begin applying for scholarships. Lots of scholarships are available to begin applying as a junior in high school, and will give you a leg up on the competition. This can entail essays, letters of recommendation, or certain merit requirements, but they help so much and it’s worth every bit of effort. Again, your counselor can help you with these and they’ll know what local scholarships would be available to you. (Don’t be afraid to ask your favorite English teacher to proofread any essays you write for scholarships or college applications. They want to help you, and if you show initiative, they’ll probably write you a great letter of recommendation, too!) And of course, start looking into schools and careers. No rush to make your decision this year, but maybe begin narrowing it down to three or four broad fields, or maybe 6 or 7 schools, depending on what you’re looking for. If you’re not sure what you want to do yet, take a look at schools. If you have no career in mind, aim for schools with lots of fields of study, and check out their locations, prices, etc. If you know what you want to do, look into schools with those programs, and do some research into which school would best suit your goals. E-mail current professors at those schools, or make plans to visit their campuses during your senior year. (Some high schools will give you days off of school for campus visits; ask your counselor!) These things should be a good start for your college preparations, and would put you way ahead for your senior year, and hopefully make the college application process a breeze! Best of luck to you all!