By Ashley Melech // AOIT Intern Class of 2023
Preparing for college can be stressful and overwhelming, but using these tips can make it easier.
Look into colleges that interest you. A great way to gather information is to use the college’s official website, college fairs, forums, and blogs. Important information about a college is the majors offered, requirements, tuition, location, living expenses, demographic, population, etc. Some sites that are helpful for college research are College Navigator and Niche. Put together a list of schools that fit you and what you are looking for. After, visit the colleges on your list for tours and open-houses to get a feeling of the culture and atmosphere of a college.
Meet with your counselor to work out a four-year plan that caters to your needs while also meeting college requirements. Use your strengths and weaknesses to pick classes that will challenge you, but also assuring you can succeed. Having a competitive transcript is crucial to helping you get into college. To build a quality transcript it is beneficial to take honors, AP, and dual enrollment classes, while maintaining good grades.
Research potential college majors. Having an idea of what you are interested in studying and knowing what your career goals are is super important for picking the right college for you. Counselors at school can also help you figure out your passions and possible career paths.
Get involved in extracurriculars. Participating in activities in your community and school is essential for college. Joining clubs, playing sports, volunteering, obtaining internships, taking part in theater or band are all great ways to be part of your community. Click here for a list of clubs you can get involved in at Apex High.
Test prep is also important. Taking the PSAT and PreACT is a great way to help improve your scores on the actual SAT and ACT. There are also resources on the internet that can help you prepare or even classes you can take through test prep programs. A few credible test prep programs are The Princeton Review, Kaplan, PrepScholar, and Khan Academy. After, take the SAT and ACT multiple times to achieve the best score possible.
Build strong relationships with your teachers. Many colleges during the application process require or advise having letters of recommendation from counselors and teachers. Communicating with your teachers, asking questions, showing effort or interest, respect, and doing well in a class makes a teacher more willing to write you a letter of recommendation.
Figure out the financials. College is expensive; building a college fund, exploring scholarships, researching financial aid programs, and applying for FAFSA make affording college easier. A couple of sites that help you find scholarships are Fastweb and Unigo.
Muniz, Hannah. “How to Prepare for College: 31 Tips to Get Ready.” PrepScholar Blog, 3 January 2020, https://blog.prepscholar.com/how-to-prepare-for-college. Accessed 9 August 2022.
Own Your Future. “12 Tips to Prepare for College.” Own Your Own Future, 6 June 2022, https://www.ownyourownfuture.com/how-to-prepare-for-college/. Accessed 9 August 2022.