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What to do while preparing for college?

High school senior

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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Parker’s Answer

Embarking on your college journey? Here's a roadmap to success!

First, find your perfect college fit. Dive into research, exploring colleges that resonate with your academic and personal passions. Think about location, size, the variety of majors, campus vibe, and financial feasibility. Make the most of college fairs, campus visits, and counselor consultations to make a choice that feels right for you.

Next, get a handle on your finances. College can be a significant investment, so it's essential to plan ahead. Look into scholarships, grants, and financial aid. Draft a budget to anticipate your expenses and consider part-time work to boost your income.

Get a grip on admission requirements. Understand what your dream colleges expect from their applicants. Keep track of deadlines, testing prerequisites, and necessary application documents. If exams like the SAT or ACT are needed, start your prep now.

Focus on your GPA. Your high school grades play a crucial role in college admissions. Prioritize your academics, stay on top of your tasks, and aim for excellent grades. Don't hesitate to ask your teachers for help and stay dedicated to your studies.

Challenge yourself academically. Sign up for tough courses that show off your academic prowess. Colleges appreciate students who've tackled rigorous coursework like AP or IB classes, which could also earn you college credits.

Build strong bonds with teachers and counselors. Their guidance can be invaluable, and their recommendation letters can boost your application. Share your college aspirations with them and benefit from their wisdom and support.

Create a standout application. Colleges appreciate well-rounded students. Get involved in extracurricular activities that you love and that highlight your leadership, teamwork, and dedication. Join clubs, play sports, volunteer, and pursue activities that align with your passions.

Pen a powerful personal statement. This is your chance to shine, to share your unique qualities and experiences. Start early, brainstorm, and craft a genuine, well-written essay. Seek feedback from trusted sources to polish your writing.

Look for scholarships. They can significantly ease the financial strain of college. Find and apply for scholarships that fit your interests, talents, and background. Remember, some scholarships have early deadlines, so start soon.

Visit your top-choice colleges, if you can. Attend information sessions, tour the campus, and meet with admissions reps. This firsthand experience can help you make a confident choice and picture yourself thriving there.

Prepare for potential interviews. Some colleges include interviews in their application process. Research typical interview questions, rehearse your answers, and fine-tune your interview skills. Dress professionally, let your personality shine, and show your genuine interest in the college.

Request recommendation letters from those who know you well and can write compelling letters. Give them information about your achievements, goals, and experiences to help them write persuasive letters.

Remember, everyone's college prep journey is different. Stay organized, seek help when needed, and approach this exciting time with positivity and enthusiasm. Here's to your successful college preparations and a bright future ahead!
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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Abby,

I am not sure what would be the best advice given the lack of context, but here are some generic things that you do can do while you await for the fall semester to start.

One, have you considered volunteering to expand life experiences and to build skills in areas that you're interested in? You know, I have personal experience with this—I was a web developer for more than a decade in my professional career and I only got my first web development position due to the skills I had built up while volunteering in college (which I was able to qualify for because of the few skills I had picked up in high school). On top of that, if your volunteering experience is anything like mine, you'll work with the nicest people who believe in kindness and empathy being the answer to make this world a better place.

Two, summer is a great time to brush up on your skills. Personally, I had cruised through high school and thought that learning just came easy to me. I was shocked in college as the relentless pace had me dazed. I was not used to the level of studying that was expected in college and if I could go back in time, I totally would study for the courses that I had signed up for, as a strong start would have helped me build some confidence.

Lastly, I would advise you to eat well and to build up a habit of exercise. As hinted at with the previous answer, college was tough for me—there were lots of late nights and lots of sick days for me. I strongly believe that if I was physically in a better state, I would have done better in college due to a stronger constitution. And, if you build up the habit now, when you go off to college, it'll be easier to keep it going.

Anyways, I hope this was helpful! I wish you the best!

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Dexter
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Alyssa’s Answer

The journey towards college may seem intimidating, but remember, you've got this! Just take a moment, relax, and breathe.

Kick-start your college preparations by studying for entrance exams well in advance. Understand whether the institutions you're eyeing require the ACT or the SAT. It's a good idea to prepare for both. Engage in pre-tests and focus on strengthening your weaker areas, either independently or through a preparatory course. Aim to take the actual exams by your junior year, at the latest, and be prepared to retake them. It's unusual for students to perfect them on the first try. Allow yourself ample time to enhance your scores, if needed.

If your academic performance in high school didn't start off strong, don't lose hope. College admissions officers appreciate an upward trend in applicants' GPAs, so good grades in your junior and senior years can help balance out earlier, less impressive ones. If you've maintained excellent grades throughout high school, don't let your efforts wane in your senior year. Some colleges may rescind your acceptance if your GPA drops below a certain level in your senior year. Moreover, maintaining a full course load will make your first year of college a tad easier as it keeps your mind and study skills honed.

Remember, college admissions don't solely rely on courses and GPA. Starting from your freshman year, engage in a few extracurricular activities that genuinely interest you. You don't have to do it all. A long list of random activities won't necessarily benefit you. Instead, concentrate on those clubs and activities you truly enjoy. Not only will they enrich your high school experience, but admissions officers also value students who take on leadership roles. If you can't find something that fits your interests, feel free to create your own club or organization.

Start researching scholarships early and then apply. There are countless scholarships available, but be ready to invest time in applying for them. Some require a simple application, while others, particularly the larger ones, may require additional submissions such as a portfolio, a business idea, or a video entry. Regardless, make sure you allocate enough time to do them justice!
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