Getting ready for college is a daunting task and it requires an enormous amount of effort if you want to do it right. Of course, you want to be able to enjoy your high school years without constantly stressing about getting into a good college, but you should be considering your college preparations as early as your freshman year. During this year, you mostly just want to be thinking about your course load and keeping your grades up. Although, once you get into your sophomore year it’s time to start doing some research. Here is why early college prep is important.
You Don’t Want to Retake Your SAT
There is a lot of pressure put on high school students these days to perform well on their SATs. As unfair as it may seem, it’s just a reality that you are going to have to accept. In which case, the only way to truly ensure that you won’t cave under the pressure at the last minute is to prepare yourself as well as you can. You should take some kind of SAT prep course during your junior year – possibly even your sophomore year too – and plan to take your PSAT at least once.
Your Course Load is Essential
College admissions officers aren’t only going to be looking at your GPA, they’re going to be looking very closely at your course load. If you have a 3.8 GPA and happened to take several honors and AP courses, this will demonstrate that you were willing to challenge yourself more than another student with the same GPA and no honors or AP courses. Also, taking more than the required two years of foreign language, science and math also demonstrates a more serious commitment to your studies than a wide host of electives or free periods.
You Have a Lot of Colleges to Choose From
With so many colleges to choose from, you are going to need to do a lot of research to determine which one is best for you. Not only do you want to find the schools that are more likely to accept you, but you want to find the schools that are going to be most compatible with your learning style. If you live in Baltimore and want to stay there, you’re going to want to know the differences between University of Baltimore and University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Filling Out the FAFSA Takes Time
Not only do you need to have a lot of your tax records and financial information in order before you can fill out the FAFSA, but you and your parent will need to register separately for FSA IDs in advance. This can take about 3 days, so you definitely don’t want to wait until the last minute.
You Will Need a Sufficient Amount of Time to Write Your Essay
Writing your college admissions essay – or essays – is not something that you can slap together over night. You want to do a lot of research on all the schools you’re applying to and make sure that you know what they’re looking for in their students. This way you can incorporate those same principles in your essay.