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Prepare for College the Right Way With These Simple Tips
  • Sep 2021
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Prepare for College the Right Way With These Simple Tips

4th September 2021

College is the next big step for many high school students. The biggest part of this journey is preparing for college while in high school, and during the summer before your first year. Making sure that you are prepared can make or break your freshman year experience. Follow these tips to get a head start on making sure you're ready to go!

Research Universities

The most important place to start is researching what universities you'd like to attend. The right resource tool for college freshmen can prove invaluable in making this decision, so find a good one. What majors interest you? Where have people with those majors gone? How far from home would you prefer to go? 


All of these questions need careful consideration before deciding which university is right for you. Once you've narrowed down your choices, it's much easier to decide how to prepare yourself.


If you have your heart set on a certain major, then start preparing as early as possible. This means taking all of the math and science classes that are required for that particular major in high school. The more advanced classes you take the better prepared you will become for college time. Almost inevitably, almost every university requires some calculus to graduate, and this class is not always offered in all schools. 


By taking it early on, you ensure yourself a spot in calculus II or III at university. Even if your desired major is not math-related, the reasoning behind getting ahead still applies; taking any class that the average freshman wouldn't know about helps prove how quickly adaptable you can be when starting something new.


For some, the location of a university is more important than the major. If you're someone who doesn't want to live on campus and would rather commute, then research what universities are near enough to you that you could feasibly get there every day. 


If you hate driving, look into a university that has a good public transportation system or even better, is located close to where you live! This will save you so much stress beforehand knowing how far away from home you'd like to be before your first year even starts.

Financial Aid/Scholarships

Financial aid is one of the most important things to start applying for early in your senior year of high school. The earlier you apply the better chance you have of getting it. This is because many of the scholarships you apply for are not guaranteed, even if you have great grades and good extracurricular activities. If money is your biggest concern and keeping yourself at home during university isn't an option, this step is vital to making sure that happens!


Depending on your financial situation, working a part-time job during high school may be necessary to help pay bills or save up enough to go to college full time. Even though working certainly makes the summer before college hectic with balancing academics and responsibilities (aka work), it helps you make new connections in your field which can come in handy once you're looking for a job after. 


Even something like babysitting or walking dogs can help you get hands-on experience in a growing industry while simultaneously building up your resume for future employers.

Get Organized

This is the time to start thinking about organization and management. Not just of yourself, but also of school belongings and other necessary items you will need come college time. It's best to start early so that when it comes time to move out of your parents’ house, you're already set! This makes everything go smoothly the first year without any problems, which would be incredibly stressful during orientation week.


Regardless of whether or not you are an organized person naturally (or at all!), try getting into this habit as much as possible before moving away from home. If this isn't something you're used to doing, then start early and try different techniques. For example: if it's hard for you to stay organized with a planner, put sticky notes on the covers of your textbooks instead. 


Or, keep all loose papers together in one folder or notebook so that when it comes time to move out, everything is easily found and transportable.


Organization amongst the young generation begins with technology; whether it's updating folders on computers or making lists through smart devices (like an iPhone app), young people are forever reliant on phones, laptops, and tablets. If you struggle being organized with these modernized tools, then try setting up reminders using your phone's calendar feature! 


It may be time-consuming at first, but once it's all set up it will become much easier and ultimately save you so much time in the long run!

Make a Plan

Summer is the perfect time to decide which club(s) to join, what internships are available for students, etc. This way when school starts, you're not scrambling to find things that interest you because everything was already done beforehand.

Extracurricular Activities

If there are certain clubs or organizations at your university that you have been looking into (or waiting for an invitation), this is the best month to capitalize on that. During orientation/meet the teachers week, most clubs will be hosting booths outside of the cafeterias and student lounges; so take notice of these. These booths are there to inform you on membership procedures and help you become involved in your university community through networking. This is also a good time to find out which scholarships/internships are available at your school for students.


If you're not entirely sure what major you would like to pursue (or even if you know), this is a great month to start researching schools and majors that interest you or seem practical enough. By now, many universities should have posted their course catalogs online where current students can sign up for electives next semester. 


Take advantage of this opportunity by finding classes related to your intended major. You can also apply to be an assistant for any professors that interest you in the upcoming year, which will help get a foot in the door and develop professional relationships with people in your future industry or major.


If you're not sure what classes you should take next semester, talk to some of your friends who are already taking college courses. They'll have insight on teachers they like/disliked and probably tell you about some valuable electives that may help down the road.


Planning ahead is one of the most effective ways you can prepare yourself for college success. Juggling everything during orientation week will be stressful enough as it is; so don't wait until the fall semester rolls around to figure out what clubs or organizations you're becoming a part of, especially if this is your last summer as a high school student, so do it right and enjoy yourself!



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