If you are a high school student or a recent high school graduate, you do know about the tediousness of the college application process. There are plenty of things you need to prepare for but you might find it difficult while doing so. However, you need not worry about it so much. you can still prepare an excellent application if you take the right steps at the right time. So, here is a to-do list to help you prepare for your college application.
1. Start Forming Your College List
If you haven’t started doing this already, you really need to start narrowing down what colleges you are going to apply to. There are a number of factors that go into choosing which colleges to apply to. So, you must know the type of colleges you would like to get into in terms of its academics, scholarships, size, location, etc.
Doing this will help you focus only on the colleges that you feel are the most important one.
Also Read: How to Start Your College Application Essay
2. Keep Your Grades Up
When colleges look at your GPA and high school transcript, they may not care as much that you got all A’s as they care that you had an upward grade trend. In other words, they want to see that your grades have improved over time as you’ve adjusted to high school and have gained more knowledge.
Thus, they are crucial from an academic perspective as colleges are going to be scrutinizing your progress in your grades over the years.
3. Make Some Strides In Your Extracurriculars
By the time you graduate, you ought to have been in some school organizations and activities long enough to have some influence or even a leadership position. You should use this newly elevated status to do something meaningful for the organization.
This can be a large fundraiser, an internal restructuring of the organization, or any other project that would make a lasting impact on the organization and look good on your college applications.
These extracurricular strides will help to set you apart from other students in the college application process and give them some great talking points for their college interviews and college essays.
3. Finish Your Standardized Testing
Junior year in high school is probably the prime time for any college-bound teen to take the SAT, ACT and any other college entrance exams that may be required of them. After all, by Junior year, you will have learned most of the material that will be tested on these exams. Also, you will have plenty of time to re-take the exams if you take it this year and don’t do so well.
On the other hand, if a student waits until their Senior year to take their standardized tests, they risk not having adequate time to prepare and only having a limited number of opportunities to take the exam before their college applications are due. These circumstances are not conducive to effective, stress-free studying or a pleasant test-taking experience.
4. Look for Scholarships and Start Applying
Once you’re a junior, it’s not quite time to apply for need-based financial aid. That happens mostly during your senior year. However, you are free to start applying to merit-based scholarships and other grants as soon as you enter high school.
There are tons of merit-based scholarships that are open to high school juniors only, and the pool of applicants is usually smaller for those types of scholarships. Moreover, even if you come across a scholarship that is only open to seniors during your scholarship search, you can save it to apply to later.