Believe it or not, everyone begins their college application journey their freshman year of high school. Now, you might be thinking “Not everyone starts the college process so soon”, but the college application process has as much to do with high school as it does with college. Your high school course choices set the tone for your future interests, and some even allow you to earn college credits. In that way, the first step of the college process is selecting your freshman year courses. In my next post I will discuss the typical types of courses available, as well as my experience with each.
There is not a necessary year in which to begin the college process, but in general the earlier you start, the better. Beginning the college process is as simple as planning out how you are going to go through the process. Drafting up a plan is very helpful as many aspects of the process must be completed prior to your junior year of high school, such as standardized test preparation. Below, I will outline and explain how I went through the process during my four years of high school. Remember, there is no one way to go through the process! My outline is meant to provide you with ideas and inspiration for your own plan. 🙂
My freshman year, I discussed course options with my counselor, and chose to take Pre-IB classes and other accelerated courses. During the summer before my freshman year, I became a volunteer at my local hospital. I loved it so much that I continued volunteering once per week up until August 12th, 2015. Being a part of that community for five years has changed my life for the better. In the fall of both my freshman and sophomore years I took the PSAT through my school in order to assess where I needed improvement. During my sophomore year, I took an SAT/ACT exam preparation course. Not only did this course help me to prepare for these exams, but it made me prepare for them. Without a structured course, I probably would not have studied nearly as much as I did with one. I also visited out-of-state colleges and continued these visits through my junior year. During my junior year I took the official SAT and ACT exams, and completed all of my elective courses so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them my senior year. When my senior year came, I completed my applications before winter break and before I knew it it was time to make the big decision!
My school also offered access to a program called Naviance Family Connection. This program allows you to explore your interests and career matches, as well as colleges and scholarships. Many high schools offer programs such as Naviance to their students for free! I encourage you to see what your school offers, as this is an excellent way to start figuring out what type of schools and careers are best suited for you!
Though everyone’s college process journey is different, I hope that this post has given you ideas for when and where to start your own process. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them below!
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