How to Prepare for College in High School – Are You Doing It Wrong?

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Many students across the country, as well as parents, are unclear on how to properly prepare for college in high school. Whether it’s course selection, grades, test scores or extracurricular involvement, all the things that you do during those 4 years has an impact on your future as it pertains to college.

In fact, many families are misguided and given outdated information as to what colleges look for in prospective students. College admissions is an ever-changing thing, so each year should be treated differently depending on what school(s) you are looking to attend.

So with that, let’s take a look at a few of the most important factors to help you best prepare for college in high school.

Grades and Test Scores

The first, and most obvious factor are your grades and test scores. Specifically, they will be looking at your grade point average (or GPA), Class Rank, and ACT/SAT test scores.

A combination of those 3 factors is usually used by the college admission reps to determine if you’ve met their academic requirements for admission. If you are on the borderline, they will look further into your background to see if there is anything else they need to consider before accepting or denying you. But what are those “other” factors?

Extracurricular Involvement

Yes. In addition to your academic record and classroom tendencies, colleges want to see involvement in clubs, activities and/or sports. This shows that you are a well-rounded student who is willing and able to take on more than just schoolwork. You also display your time management skills by participating in clubs or sports, and colleges love these type of students!

As an insider’s tip: If you are trying to help out your chances for admission by joining a club, make sure that you take on some sort of leadership role in that activity. While college admission reps like to see involvement, they are really looking for leaders, and what better way to show them but by being President, Vice President or Treasurer in that club?

High School Coursework

Different than grades and test scores, high school coursework is basically the level of classes you took in high school. For instance, did you enroll in a regular, college-prep level class when there is an Honors or Advanced Placement (AP) level available?

Colleges are looking for students who challenge themselves with upper level courses, especially the elite and highly selective schools! If you are able to achieve A’s and B’s in regular level classes, that’s great! But, the college admissions reps want to see higher level achievement, so make sure you’re challenging yourself in your coursework.

A word to the wise: Don’t bite off more than you can chew with Honors and AP courses. Colleges like these, but they’d rather not see a C on your transcript. So, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into if you opt for the higher level classes.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when talking about how to prepare for college in high school. Hopefully, this information has given you some basic information to get you on the right path to college!

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