Ready for College?
10 Tips for College Preparation
- Start early - the transition from middle to high school is important. Middle school is not too early to start mapping your plans for college!
- Have a plan - your plans for education should be started as early as possible. Freshman year is a good time to plan for course selection, standardized testing, considering teacher recommendations, and anything else critical to your future.
- Freshman year matters - set your foundation for the rest of high school. Success in freshman classes can determine your "track" for your remaining years, especially in math and science.
- Focus on the right "fit" rather than the name - consider your learning style, geographic preference, school size, areas of major study and other characteristic factors when choosing colleges. Studying in a location you love is much more beneficial towards your learning than attending a school that's famous in its name where you aren't happy.
- Be organized - use organizational tools such as calendars, spreadsheets, and checklists. Keep folders with information of each school you are applying to. Keep your information accessible and easy to find.
- Depth of involvement matters more - being affiliated with, but not involved with 5 or more clubs or activities is not as important as being deeply involved in 2. If possible, move into leadership roles as officers or project leaders. Dedication is key.
- GPA is not the only criteria - while it is important, most selective colleges (including UCs) select more students with GPAs lower than a 4.0.
- Challenge yourself with rigorous courses - college admissions looks to see if a student has challenged themselves by taking honors and AP courses. Take calculated risks and push yourself to take these more difficult courses that will also prepare you for college level coursework.
- Show your "highlight Reel" via college essays and personal statement - This is the opportunity for you to personalize the process and distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd. It leaves the Admissions Officer with an impression of your character other than numerical data about you.
- The college preparation and application process is a Family Affair - both parents and applying students have their own roles in the process. Parents, let your child drive the process while supporting them throughout. Students, remember that your parents are trying to support you. It's a tense period for the entire family, so try to figure out a fair compromise.