If you’re an incoming high school freshman with plans of going to college in the future, you’re probably curious about college prep. When talking about college prep, many think building the college list is the first stop. However, college prep includes a lot more than just deciding what college to attend. College prep for freshmen is all about doing well academically and building your resume. Choosing colleges can wait. The most important thing for new high school freshmen is to ensure they are on the right academic path for college. Here are six things high school freshmen should focus on as they enter high school.
Meet your school counselor
Your school counselor will be a wealth of knowledge and a great resource throughout your time in high school. You counselor can make recommendations for classes, extracurricular activities, and volunteer experiences. They can also give recommendations on colleges when the time comes. In addition, it is great to get to know your school counselor because in a few years they will need to write a letter of recommendation for your college applications. Counselors who genuinely know their students have an easier time writing an authentic letter in your favor.
Review your academic schedule
You probably already selected your classes for your freshmen year. You may have received some guidance or you might have selected your classes based on what your friends were taking. Make sure you are in the right classes for your college prep. Discuss your class schedule with your counselor and look into taking more academic classes. Take honors and Advanced Placement classes if you are up for the challenge. The classes you take your freshmen year will dictate your courses through your senior year. Make sure you are on track to take the most challenging classes because grades and course selection can play a huge role in the college admission process.
Join extracurricular activities
Extracurricular activities and volunteer activities can give you a boost in college admission. Students who have a history of quality activities will have an advantage over students who did not participate in anything outside of the classroom. Freshmen year is a great time to explore activities, we well as getting to know your passions and interests. As you spend more time with an activity you can work your way up to a leadership role later in your high school career.
Go outside your comfort zone and try things you have never tried before. Take elective classes that can help you explore your interests. Participate in an extracurricular activity that doesn’t involve your friends, but is something you really enjoy. Get to know yourself by exploring all of the opportunity your high school and community has for you.
Do well academically
There is a myth out there that admission officers do not care about freshman year. That is far from the truth. If freshman year is included on transcripts, admission officers will see it. If students have poor grades freshman year, admissions officers will question it. Use freshman year to build good academic habits and learn to ask for help when you need it.
Search for scholarships
Another myth out there is that students can’t start applying for scholarships until their senior year. While it is true most of the scholarships are only open to high school seniors, there are some for younger students. Start applying for scholarships now. You can start by checking out my list of scholarships open to high school freshmen.
Students who do well academically and are involved in quality activities will have many opportunities. This is why it is important to focus on doing well academically and getting involved in outside activities. Building your college list can wait! You will have the opportunity to learn more about colleges during your time in high school, but first make sure you will be on the best path to get admitted to the colleges you will soon discover.