Applying for college is the biggest thing you are going to do in your life as it leads to the rest of your future. No pressure! Thankfully, you have a long time to think about where you want your life to go and how you’re going to do it. It’s not as simple as just filling out a college application, but it takes time and consideration to get there! Here is everything you need to do before applying to college, starting with your freshmen year of high school!
This being your first year of high school and graduation is still 3 years away, you don’t need to be worrying too much about college or your college application at this point. The things you should be considering are what school subjects you like the most and what piques your interest. For example, if you love all of your science classes are want to work with people, you should take some honors sciences classes and study a little more for these assignments!
Starting from this point, everything matters. Your grades, extracurriculars, and resume are all going to be looked at once you send in that college application, so you want to start building it up in your freshmen year. These will be things that you remember after high school and of course, look great on a college application, so take the extra step and join the science club and try out for soccer if you like it!
Make good study habits starting now so you can take them into the rest of your college career. You want to have time to be with your friends and family, so stay on top of your homework and study for good grades, but also make time for good memories with your fam!
You survived freshmen year! Yay! Onto the next. During your sophomore year, you want to start thinking about possible schools you would want to attend. Are you going to want to leave the state to go to school or do you want to stay pretty close to home? Is there a school that specializes in what you want to learn more about?
Start researching and taking notes about specific programs that the schools have that sound good to you! See if any of these schools offer scholarships or grants and what the due dates are for these!
You should still be taking extra steps during the school year to build up your GPA and academic resume with lots of extracurriculars, volunteer opportunities, and of course, lots of studying! For many, this will be the last year that school won’t be absolutely crazy with college prep, so take it easy and enjoy the simpleness of this school year!
Junior Year: Fall Semester
Hang on tight because it’s about to get a little crazy! Typically, the junior year of high school is the toughest out of all of them for many students due to the particular academic load and college prep. You should have already established a study plan that works best for you so you can take those same tactics into this crazy semester.
Even though this school year is going to be hectic, you should think about possibly participating in different volunteer hours. Some scholarships and grants require you to have the experience and hours, but it is also good on a resume and good for you as a person to serve your community!
Make sure that you schedule your SAT or ACT at this time! Most schools require one or the other for your acceptance with your college application. Take advantage of the teachers you have and ask for any advice for applying to schools or how you can better your academic experience. They are there to help you and it can never hurt to ask for a little help on your college application!
Junior Year: Spring Semester
So close to your senior year! With just this semester to go, you need to get serious about applying to college, and your game plan for how to do it! At this point, you should start to narrow down on what schools you want to apply to. On top of this, you should also see about booking a college tour to see this school’s campus.
Some schools hold special campus days where you get to experience campus life at the university! Check on these dates and sometimes your school will excuse your absence for this reason.
If there are any scholarships you want to apply for your freshmen year of college, check on the details of getting this particular college application. Sometimes you will need a minimum GPA, work experiences, recommendation letters, and other things that need to be taken care of in advance.
Senior Year: Fall Semester
The last year is the best year! At this point, you need to keep an eye out for college application deadlines depending on when you want to hear back from the school. If you want an early acceptance, you should send off your application in the late summer or early fall. You will eventually send a final transcript to your new college after you are accepted so don’t check out too fast from school!
You should spend the summer and the first part of this semester preparing your college application to make sure it is perfect. If you need required essays, take this time to write them and edit them before sending them out!
Senior Year: Spring Semester
Right about now, you know where you’re going to college and you’re super excited! There are still a few things that you will want to do before graduation and heading off to college. The FAFSA is due around this point and if you need financial aid or grants, you’ll want to fill this out!
For most schools, you need to apply for housing so note these due dates and find a fun roomie for your freshmen year! (Here’s some packing help!) Enjoy the rest of your time in high school and appreciate how hard you have worked to get here!
How did you start preparing for applying to college? What is something you knew before filling out a college application? Let us know in the comments below!
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English and Media Strategies student at Texas Tech University, lover of coffee, running, and houseplants.