The key to avoiding
those sleepless nights and caffeine-high all-nighters is to be one step ahead of
the game – by starting in your freshman year of high school.
Take small steps
every day from that first year on and you’ll be able to enjoy your senior year
while everyone else is cramming in their rushed essays and barely meeting
The key to college
preparation success is organization and devotion.
Freshmen year is
full of new beginnings, opportunities and a chance to get lost in the depths of
your high school’s hallways.
Although your mind
may be wandering towards the endless array of extra curriculars, or simply just
trying to survive in the sea of upperclassmen, college should be slowly seeping
into your thoughts as well.
Freshmen year is a
great place to start planning for the future. Set up a meeting with your school
guidance or career counselor.
It’s their job to
aid you in the process of selecting courses suited to your field of interest, to
help you with your college applications and reduce any anxieties you may have
about high school or college.
This leads to
building your resume. Tailor your extracurricular plan according to what you
enjoy, rather than what would look good on your resume.
energy and time into such an important component of your college application is
much easier to do when you’re dedicated to what you’re doing.
implementing a new recycling program with the eco team, or arguing up a storm
with the debate club, an extracurricular should never be treated lightly.
Don’t stress too
much about college in your first year of high school. It’s better to focus on
developing good relationships with your teachers, taking advantage of what your
school has to offer, maintaining ideal grades, and deciding which standardized
tests are suitable or required for you to take.
In sophomore year,
it’s ideal to have a clear sense of which career path you plan to pursue. It’s
essential that you speak to your counselor about standardized tests, because
most colleges require scores from SATs or ACTs.
Sophomore year is
also an excellent time to visit college campuses.
Many colleges offer
class sit-ins that provide you with a real sense of the learning experience at
that particular school.
This can help you
pick which colleges you’d like to apply to, as some won’t work with your
particular learning style.
In sophomore year,
you should earnestly consider AP or college preparation courses to further
challenge you. I cannot stress how impressive AP courses would appear on your
resume or college application, especially when applying to a highly selective
An often overlooked
component of your application that many colleges do take into serious
consideration is a part time job. Colleges are looking for highly motivated and
committed students, and maintaining a part time job helps show that.
The main idea is to
get your foot in the door in the college application process, in order to impose
less stress on yourself later on.
Relax and enjoy
your high school years, but don’t forget your responsibility to your own future.
High school is a
time to learn about yourself, and to develop your own personal voice and unique
characteristics. Allowing your personality to shine through in your schoolwork,
personal relationships, resume, job and extra curriculars will exemplify a
strong character and positive work ethic in your college application.