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All too many high school students think that college seems a long way off.
It’s closer than you think, and there are many things you can do to prep yourself for college while still in high school. Getting on the right track toward building an impressive student record in your first couple of years of high school (and beyond) will pay off when college application time rolls around!
Many students have the option of taking honors, advanced, AP, or IB classes as college prep early in high school. Taking the challenging college prep classes is a surefire way to impress college admissions counselors.
This doesn’t mean you have to be fantastic at everything.
It’s important to emphasize your interests and strengths. You could be a complete math dunce but love English — so take honors English and AP English courses as college prep. Odds are you’ll be applying to liberal arts colleges and universities, and they’ll be excited by your excellent AP English coursework!
AP and IB level classes are valuable because admissions committees recognize that students who have taken these high-level courses are able to handle the rigors of college-level classes. AP and IB courses are also useful college prep because they can potentially exempt students from taking certain first-year introductory courses in college, saving you time and money.
Taking challenging classes and getting good grades isn’t the only bit of college prep high school students can do. Participation in extracurricular activities for college preparation is essential. This shows college admissions committees that you are a well-rounded individual. The activities you choose make you unique.
Any type of extracurricular activity can be considered great for college prep, whether it’s running on the track team, playing in the orchestra, singing in the choir, or joining the Model UN club. A balanced mix of extracurricular activities can help you stand out from other college applicants.
A word of warning when it comes to extracurricular activities and college prep: be careful of simply filling up your student record with as many activities as possible. While college admissions committees like to see diversity, they also like to see dedication. Picking one or two activities and sticking with them will impress admissions committees more than pages of random extracurricular activities.
It might seem overwhelming to think about college prep while you are still a freshman, sophomore or junior in high school. It is important to prepare, but it is also important NOT to calculate every move you make in high school as part of some college prep plan.
You should challenge yourself by taking difficult classes, and pursue your interests by participating in extracurricular activities that you enjoy. If you get involved in what you are interested in, work hard, and do your best, you’ll automatically be building a solid student record that will make filling out a college application much easier.
It isn’t too soon to start thinking about college prep in high school, but it shouldn’t dominate your entire high school career. Don’t forget to have fun, too!