Practical to-do’s for High School students to prepare for College Applications 1

When it comes to college, what you have to remember is that the question isn’t: “will I go?” it’s “WHERE will I go?”

There are many options available. Some people have great grades and go to ivy-league colleges and universities while others start off with community college and may choose to transfer to go to a 4-year college after they get their Associates Degree.

Not only is a college degree a requirement for more and more jobs these days, but the college experience itself can also be a time of much personal growth with the opportunity to create exciting memories and friends that will last a lifetime!

When it comes to preparing for college, there are just a few important things to remember,

  • colleges will be interested in your grades but many of them also want to know about extra activities like community service/volunteering, sports or other activities. Grades are important but you are more than a few numbers on a piece of paper
  • in general, most colleges like to see students who have taken a core base of courses: 3-4 years of Math, 4 years of English, 3-4 years of Social Studies, 2-3 years of Science and 2-3 years of foreign language
  • ideally, the college application process should begin in the spring of the 11th grade

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What grade are you in? Depending on where you are, there are different things you can do to prepare for college.

9th Grade:

  • at this point, focus on making sure that you are taking a strong core of classes and do your best to get strong grades

10th Grade:

  • at the beginning of Sophomore year, you should register for the PSAT/NMSQT Exam. You can take this test in the 10th Grade and in the 11th Grade. Doing well on this test in the 11th grade can get you a scholarship. The Test is usually in the beginning of October so be sure to study using practice tests during the summer and the beginning of the school year. When you are registering to take this exam, be sure to choose to have colleges mail you, this can be helpful later on. Fee Waivers may be available from your guidance counselor to help you pay for this exam.
  • continue to make sure that you’re taking a strong core of classes and of course, always try to do your best

11th Grade:

12th Grade:

  • take any additional SAT I and SAT II tests as early in the fall as possible. (You must register for the October test by the beginning of September)
  • in addition to college applicatiion activities, keep your grades in mind
  • attend college fairs and other college information sessions
  • if possible, try to participate in College programs/overnight visits for interested pre-freshmen if you are considering schools far away from home
  • fill-out your college applications
    • be sure to have someone review your essay to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward – that”s what everyone else will be doing

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CRCEC is offering advice to empower high school students with the information they need to take

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charge of their future. Our next college advising meeting will be on Tuesday, September 28th at 6pm at the Clarendon Branch of the Library (located at Nostrand-&-Farragut). See you there! Contact us at with College Advising in the subject line and we’ll help you, too.

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