If you’re a high school senior this fall, then you’re only one small step away from college. If the thought of attending a university is still tucked away in the back of your mind, it’s time to bring it to the front and start thinking seriously about it! There’s a lot of things to figure out and prepare for ahead of attending college, besides actually making the decision to go to university. But no matter what you decide, there’s plenty that you can do to prepare yourself for making the leap into adulthood. Here are a few of my tips to prep for college!
Come up with a plan - Your senior year is going to be hectic as it is, so you’ll be able to practice this tip pretty well during your last high school year. Organization is key in college, because the workload will be much more than you’re used to now. The best plan of action is making a list of everything that you need to do, both now and for when you’re enrolled. Things like: applications, essays, a system for keeping up with coursework, extracurriculars you’re interested in, who you’ll ask for recommendations, etc. Make good use of a calendar or filing system to get a head-start on your organization, and if you have a smartphone, use it for any daily reminders you’ll need. Stay organized, and you’ll always keep your head above water.
Don’t procrastinate - I know, I know, why waste your freedom on the things that you can do later? Well, if you’re anything like the rest of us, you’re going to be tempted to always take the easy way out of things, and in turn only half-heartedly focus on the things that you need to get done - and your grades will show it, especially in college. Of course, it makes much more sense to procrastinate when there’s beach trips, nights on the town, and a good book vying for your attention, but trust me, you’re going to want to avoid procrastination in your last year of high school as much as you can. Don’t kill the fun, but don’t kill your future, either.
Complete your college list - Depending on what you plan on majoring in, there most likely will be a ton of options to choose from, so a lot of the work you’ll be doing in high school will be narrowing down your list of colleges. In your senior year, get those visits and tours out of the way sooner rather than later. Because some may require you to do a bit of traveling, the best time to do it might be during spring or summer break, and because you won’t have school, you could make a fun trip out of it! Bring some friends along, and make it something to remember.
Collect application materials - No one has the time to put together transcripts, test scores, supplementary materials, and recommendations while we live such chaotic lives. But gathering up everything that you need to apply for college and organizing it early will only set you up for success. While you can’t get everything done now, you can start preparing by asking your teachers for recommendations, and even making a list of potential extracurriculars to aid in your planning. The more you get done now, the more open the doors will be.
Do something productive - I know the allures of binge-watching while snuggled up on the couch all too well, and while there’s absolutely a place for that, don’t let it be the go-to thing after you get home from school! You can prepare for college now by getting a part-time job in high school, because, well… college is expensive. The more you can earn while in college, the less you’ll owe! Use some of your creative thinking, and do something that matches your own passions and interest. If you’re interested in journalism, try to intern with a newspaper, or if you’re into medicine, ask around to see if you can volunteer. You never know how your career will be made!
College is wonderful, but it takes some work to get there! Take the ‘easy’ road, and prep before you enroll. Trust me, it’s worth the effort!