Preparing for College Success in High School
t’s never too early to start preparing for your college years. U.S. colleges/universities (hereinafter referred to as colleges to encompass both) look at many factors in determining your possible acceptance. This differs from the admissions process in colleges in other parts of the world where there may be only one test that determines if you get into a college. In the United States, students are evaluated on their top ten strengths and experiences. This means that you must focus on these when thinking about applying to colleges. • A rigorous high school curriculum • An upward or consistently high grade point average • Solid SAT and/or ACT scores • A consistent record of achievement between standardized test scores and grades • Extracurricular activities with demonstrated leadership • Letters of recommendation
that support the rest of the application • An insightful and well-composed essay • Unique talents, experiences or interests • Intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm • A flawless application Again, it’s never too early to prepare. In fact, preparation in as early as the 9th grade can reap extraordinary benefits. Here are some areas that I talk to my students about to help them be prepared for applying to college while they are in high school. Prioritize Many times students will overcommit to activities and even to scholastic work. That’s right, even to scholastic work. The key is to balance what is good for you; with emphasis on the word ‘you’. What is good for you may not be good for someone else and it is you we are concerned about. Keep a calendar and task-list either on your computer, in a calendar book, or in a PDA that you back up regularly. This calendar and task list should be your source of organization. You should note not only when you have an assignment due but the dates when you would like to have various parts of the assignment completed. By writing things down you can leave your head free for other important work. Be Passionate I don’t believe in the word lazy to describe students. It simply refers to those who have not found their passion, their raison d’être. When I work with students, I give them personality and interests inventories and I discuss with them the things they do that make them smile. When this is highlighted, students should discover what clubs and activities can help them to get involved in these areas.
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