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Tips for New High School Seniors To Get Them Ready For College



Starting your senior year of high school means you’ll soon be preparing for college. While that may feel like a scary proposition, you’re also one of the most prepared individuals to go to college as a senior. That’s because your responsibilities and obligations are at their peak as a high schooler. You’re probably taking challenging classes, meeting with advisors frequently and completing all necessary documents to graduate before June. Now is the perfect time to start researching colleges and creating that application. However, there are many details involved in applying to college. High school seniors have certain considerations they wouldn’t have if starting their first year of college. Some of these details include SAT/ACT score requirements, transcript recommendations, private student loans application to finance one at school, and secondary essay prompts, to name a few.


Create a checklist of everything you need to do

You’ll need a to-do list for every part of your life, particularly if you’re a high school senior applying to college. Keep in mind, however, that your list will change based on your college timeline. For example, your deadlines during your senior year will likely be different than those during your junior year.

Start by gathering the requirements for each college you’re considering. This includes GPA requirements, ACT/SAT score minimums, and essay prompts. You can apply for private student loans in case of a finance shortage.


Start early and be organized

Don’t wait until the last minute to begin your college application journey. Many universities recommend submitting your application at least six to nine months before the start of the semester. While that may seem like a long time, leaving enough time for the entire application process is crucial.

You’ll want to work on your application early if you are a high school senior. You’ll need to take the SAT/ACT, meet with an academic advisor to determine your course load for your last semester of school and get recommendation letters. You’ll also want to start researching the colleges you want to attend. Visit the college websites and read any FAQs or blogs they may have on their application process.


Research your colleges of choice

Particularly if you’re a high school senior, you want to ensure the colleges you’re applying to are a good fit for you. One way to do this is to visit their websites and read through the “about†page to learn more about the college’s history and curriculum. You can also check out the “about†page of the department(s) you’d like to major in.

Next, visit the admissions page to determine how early you can submit your application. Some colleges accept applications as early as October. This can be helpful if you’re a high school senior since you’ll have more time to complete the application process.


Don’t stress too much about the standardized tests

Some high school seniors may be stressing over the time left to take the SAT or ACT. While taking the test (or tests) to submit your application is important, you don’t have to stress about it. Colleges don’t look at these standardized tests as much as you think. Many universities only require the SAT or ACT if you apply to certain programs.

While taking the test is critical, don’t get too wrapped up in studying. Most test prep companies will tell you to do practice tests and not worry about the results. If you’re worried about the score you’ll receive, make sure to take the test during your senior year. The majority of seniors have already taken the test. In addition, the SAT has a “retake-ability†feature.


Get involved in extracurricular activities

High school seniors have the opportunity to take part in a plethora of extracurricular activities. While some of these activities may not relate to your major, they’re still important. Colleges look at extracurricular activities as a way to learn more about you as an individual.

If you want to be accepted into a competitive college, involve at least two extracurricular activities. These activities will be even more important if you’re interested in pursuing a scholarship. Check out scholarship websites to see what activities/skills are being looked for.

Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to participate in the same extracurricular activities your entire high school career. Try something new, get involved in your community or find something that interests you.


Meet with your school’s counselor—and an academic advisor

Your school’s counselor has likely worked with high school seniors for years and can provide sound advice on the college application. They may be able to help you decide which colleges to apply to and provide feedback on your essay prompts.

Ask your principal or another staff member if you don’t know your school’s counselor. Your counselor is most likely free if you’re attending a public high school. If you’re attending a private high school, meet with your counselor during office hours or find another way to contact them.

Secondly, make sure to set up an appointment with your academic advisor. Your academic advisor may or may not be the same person as your counselor. Regardless, meeting with them will allow you to get help with your course load and graduation plan. This meeting is also a great opportunity to ask questions about the college application process and receive advice.


Ask for recommendation letters early

The best time to ask for recommendation letters is when you have a specific application due date. While you may have time for your teachers to write you a letter, it’s best to get it done as soon as possible. Generally, recommendation letters should be written within two or three weeks of you requesting them.

The best way to ask for recommendation letters is to write a letter on letterhead paper. In this letter, ask your teachers if they’d be willing to write you a recommendation letter and when they can send it to you.


Create a resume and portfolio of work

As soon as you graduate from high school, you’ll want to start building a portfolio of work. This includes your extracurricular activities and other things you did during high school. You can also add any relevant volunteer work you’ve done.

Creating a resume and portfolio of what you’ve done during high school will help you stand out in colleges. Plus, you can use your self-created portfolio as a tool to show what you’ve done with your time during high school. Colleges are more interested in your ability to think critically and solve problems than your ability to take tests.


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