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How should I start preparing for college?

Following my previous question, I would like to know how I can prepare for college. I am a third-year high school student who is indeed outside the loop of college preparation. I am wondering how I can plan ahead and what I can do to make it easier for me to apply to colleges. What are the things I need when applying to colleges and what do I have to accomplish this year and next year before I graduate? I come from a second generation immigrated family, so least to say, nobody in my family knew what is required during the transition from high school to college. My older brother, who is four years older than me, struggled during his high school years because nobody had told him that he had to take the SATs! Please let me know how I can prepare for college so that my advancement to college is much easier for me. #college #high-school #sat #preparation #college-readiness

Hey there! What I can advice you to do is just to work extra hard now that you coming to the end of your high school. Just stay focused and study more start training yourself to have a reading culture you know. I'm going to my secon year of College; college is not a simple thing to deal with so you got to work very hard. If you want to go to a good college you have to get awesome grades for the school to accept you. Also your gpa has to be at least from 3.3. Don't be scared, stay focused: Best; Ashleigh Ashleigh T.

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Natalia’s Answer

Hi Karen!

I would say start to research the SAT and ACT exams and figure out which one you want to take. From there, start studying as early on as possible and don't be afraid to take it multiple times- many colleges will "super score" meaning they will take your highest scores from the X amount of times you took the SAT.

Make sure you keep your grades up during the college application process, just because you've sent in your application doesn't mean your grades don't matter anymore.

Start thinking about what you want in a school, and from there make a list of colleges you want to apply to. Take into account: cost, distance from home, majors offered, size of the school, average size of classrooms, and make sure you visit campuses!

You should apply for financial aid as soon as you get your acceptance, and on that note, start applying for scholarships as soon as you can. There are so many scholarships for different things- scholarships for women, certain ethnicities, first generation college students etc.

I would also speak with your school counselor and teachers to see if they will write recommendation letters for you (I would get about three letters from different academic subjects).

Hi Natalia! Thanks for your advice! If it weren't for you, I would be terribly unprepared for the high school-to-college transition! Karen P.

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Shakti’s Answer


The first step according to me would be researching the colleges you want to apply to. Make a list then see what are the requirements for each one. Broad requirements for college are:
-Applying for scholarships
-Preparing for tests (SAT, ACT, etc...)
-Considering teachers you'll ask for recommendation letters
-Planning college campus visits

In terms of timelines, its never too early to start but once you do your research and gather a list of things you need to do to be admitted, you'll have a better idea of how much work you have ahead and hence when you need to start.

Hope this helps!

Hello Ms. Sanspeur! Thank you for all of your suggestions. Hopefully this will help me on my journey to college! Karen P.

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Rachel’s Answer

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Collegeboard.org is a great resource for this! I poured through the pages of universities all over the U.S. when I was a senior in high school. Collegeboard was my go-to site! They put all of the information in one place and it is very easy to use. They even have various filters you can apply to see only colleges that have programs you are interested. To determine academic rigor, look at the admissions requirements, G.P.A. of past admitted applicants, SAT/ACT scores, class rank etc. This will give you an idea of what scores and grades you need to be accepted. However, don't be discouraged your application will be reviewed based on the full picture! College-board will help you get an idea of what is most important to the specific school you are applying to.</span>

This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Chat with your Guidance Counselor</span>
  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Create a Collegeboard.org account</span>
  • <span style="background-color: transparent;">Start using CollegeBoard as a resource to look up schools.</span>