College Prep Tips for High School Students

Originally published 08/19/2010

Metro Editorial Services (MS) — High school students, particularly seniors, anxiously anticipate their next step after graduation. With the freedom and excitement of college just around the corner, it’s no wonder they often catch a case of “senioritis” during their last year. With university acceptance letters already in hand, many seniors might relax somewhat and enjoy their waning days of school with friends. Following certain tips may help teens gain entry into the college of their choice and possibly, financial aid.

These are a few: Consult a guidance counselor High school students may not have found it necessary to consult their guidance counselor during their first two years, but it can be useful to get their advice at the beginning of junior year. School counselors can help students choose the right courses, give them advice on which standardized tests certain colleges require for admission and tell them which schools they should consider. Study for standardized tests High school juniors are sometimes worried about SAT or ACT exams. While taking the tests early in the senior year is usual, students should begin studying for standardized tests no later than their junior year. Bookstores sell exam preparation- materials and their school may provide preparatory classes.

The more familiar a student gets with the format of the SAT or ACT exams, the more comfortable he will be when the time comes to take the actual test. Early admission decisions typically come in late fall, so students who have not taken standardized tests in time might not qualify for admission if the test scores are not available by the early-application deadline. Visit schools High school students sometimes have no idea of what to expect from college. So, it can be difficult to choose potential schools. Juniors can remove some of the mystery by visiting schools; on-campus visits and open-house events provide a glimpse of college life at different schools.

Students who cannot make a campus visit can access the schools’ websites and fill out requests for information on areas of study that might interest them. Research different loans, grants and scholarship opportunities High school juniors might be surprised to learn of financial assistance available to them. Oftentimes requirements for the awards can be very specific. Students should research such prerequisites to ensure they have a chance to earn the scholarships, grants or loans that could help reduce the financial burden of attending a college or university.

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