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How do I prepare for college applications as a freshman?

I'm a 14-year-old freshman and I want to get a head start on preparing for college. I want to and most likely will get into tOSU. I already do Cheerleading, Cross Country, Tennis, Diversity Committee, and am on track to get on NHS. I'm also doing CCP in my sophomore year. Is there any other way I should prepare?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Richard’s Answer

Aby, I think everyone's path towards college and any type of higher education is going to be unique to their interests and the skillsets they are looking to develop. While it's important to emphasize academic performance, standardized testing, volunteer roles and so on, you are looking to tell the colleges you apply to a story of who you are and where you want to go - or perhaps more importantly, how you plan on getting there.

This will be entirely subjective and only the admissions offices that you apply to will be able to tell you exactly what they want, so please keep asking this question to form your own roadmap. You're doing that now and that is a great first step! From my experience applying, as well as watching those before and after me get into a wide range of schools, the most successful are those that tell a story of what they want to do with their education. It is similar to when you begin applying for your first job and you not only have to convince them of your qualifications, but typically you will want to communicate exactly what you can provide for the business - to demonstrate that you are a valuable asset.

You should frame what you do during your time in high school around the industries and activities you are most interested in, not just those you think would look great on a resume or may overwhelm you, leaving you with no time for yourself. This way you not only enjoy what you are doing, and are willing to put more time into it, but you will make it easier to shape the path you are hoping to go down through college and your career. You also shouldn't feel that you have to be involved in everything and be president of every club and so on, rather be dedicated to a few that are special to you. Leadership in those areas will come more naturally and that will be a great boost for your resume.

Essentially, build yourself up in the areas you enjoy and find opportunities to lead where you naturally feel confident - that will give you a great shot at finding the programs you want to be a part of most as well as giving you a head start on figuring out what type of career you want in the future!
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Rafael’s Answer

To prepare for college applications as a freshman, focus on maintaining good grades and participating in extracurricular activities that you enjoy and show commitment to. Look for volunteer opportunities to give back to your community and pursue your interests outside of school to develop your skills. Build relationships with teachers and mentors who can support you, and research colleges, including OSU, to understand their requirements. Stay organized and keep track of important dates and deadlines. Remember to enjoy your high school experience and make the most of the opportunities that come your way!
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Aby,

As a 14-year-old freshman, there are several ways you can prepare for college applications beyond your current extracurricular activities. Here are some suggestions to help you get a head start:

Academics: Focus on maintaining a strong academic performance by consistently working hard in your classes, challenging yourself with advanced courses when available, and developing good study habits. High grades and a rigorous course load are essential for college applications.

Standardized Tests: Start preparing for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT early. Many students begin studying during their sophomore or junior year, but starting in your freshman year can give you an advantage. You can use resources like Khan Academy, test prep books, or online courses to help you prepare.

Develop a Hobby or Passion: Colleges appreciate students with diverse interests and talents. Consider developing a hobby or passion outside of your current extracurricular activities. This could be anything from learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, volunteering, or participating in a local club.

Leadership Opportunities: As you progress through high school, seek out leadership positions within your extracurricular activities or start new initiatives. This demonstrates your ability to take charge, make decisions, and work effectively with others.

Volunteer Work and Community Service: Engaging in volunteer work or community service shows your commitment to giving back and developing empathy. Look for opportunities in your local community, such as working with a non-profit organization, participating in a charity event, or mentoring younger students.

Research Colleges and Programs: Begin researching colleges and programs that interest you. This will help you understand the specific requirements and expectations for each institution, as well as the types of extracurricular activities and experiences they value in applicants.

Networking: Start building relationships with teachers, counselors, and mentors who can provide guidance, support, and recommendations for college applications. Attend college fairs, information sessions, and other events to meet representatives from various universities.

Develop Good Time Management and Organization Skills: Balancing academics, extracurricular activities, and personal life can be challenging. Developing strong time management and organizational skills early on will help you stay on track and manage your responsibilities effectively.

Reflect on Your Goals and Interests: Regularly reflect on your goals, interests, and strengths. This self-awareness will help you make informed decisions about your high school course selection, extracurricular activities, and potential career paths.

Stay Open-Minded: While it’s great to have a goal in mind, such as getting into tOSU, keep an open mind about other colleges and universities. There may be other institutions that are an even better fit for your needs and goals.

By focusing on these areas, you can create a strong foundation for your college applications and increase your chances of success.

GOD BLESS,
James.
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