You’re walking through the hall when you overhear a group of seniors talking about where they’re going next year. And at soccer practice, your junior friends are talking about the colleges they are visiting next month. It reminds us of a fun quote: “college is the reward for surviving high school.” Yes, you too will be researching and visiting colleges, but you’ve been told it’s not your time yet. There’s good reason for that, as we will explain below. However, there ARE things you can do now to make the college process easier later, and increase your chances of being accepted. Read on!
Why the wait?
As a freshman or sophomore, you’re well aware of that college is on the horizon. It seems to be a popular topic of conversation among your parents, teachers, friends, classmates and neighbors. You know that you want to go to college, so why can’t you start planning now? The reason is because so much can change in a short time period in high school. What you may think you want to study in college now may change in a year or two. You may think you want to stay close to home but change your mind later and decide to apply to colleges father away. It can be a complete waste of time to be focusing on specific colleges.
What CAN I do now?
The most important part of your college application is your transcript. It’s very important to do your best in your classes. Make sure you take courses that are appropriately challenging. If you are struggling in a class, talk with your parents and teacher about how you can improve. If you aren’t feeling challenged, talk with your teacher or school counselor about the possibility of moving up a level in a subject area.
It’s also important to get involved in activities that interest you. Sports, clubs, jobs and community service are good areas to explore. Being involved in activities outside of school shows colleges that you are well-rounded and have a lot to offer. It’s also good to take on leadership positions when available. Show colleges that you don’t shy away from a challenge and can step up and take the lead.
If you are really excited about college and can’t help but do some research, focus that research on you. That means, start thinking about the qualities of a college that would be best for you. Would you prefer a small or large college? What areas would you like to study? Do you want to play sports in college? Where do you want to be located? These are the kinds of college topics to think about for now.
Campus Bound counselors help guide students and families through the entire college process. We can take underclass students on as clients and create a personalized timeline so students and parents know what to expect. We can also advise you on course selection, extracurricular activities and more. We are there for you at the beginning of junior year, when it comes time to start thinking about specific colleges, through the entire application process and even in May of senior year when you decide which school to attend. It can be a big relief for a family to know that a counselor is there every step of the way.