Whether you’re a 1st grader or a senior in high school, there are steps you can take to better prepare yourself for college. Here are some tips for you:

 

 

  1. READ, READ, and READ SOME MORE! Reading is so important in college. You will be required to read large amounts of material and are expected to understand it and apply it to course work. Reading from an early age can build your vocabulary and comprehension skills. This is especially important if English is your second language. Practice makes perfect, and reading will force you to practice your English language skills. If you don’t understand a word, look it up in the dictionary! Get used to reading for both enjoyment and for your homework.

2 Work hard! Study hard and get good grades. Academic performance will help you get into college and stay in college. If you feel like you are not a strong student academically, don’t give up! Sign up for tutoring, ASK questions in class, and don’t be afraid to speak with your teacher after class about tough material. You are going to school to learn, and you can’t do that if you’re too afraid to ask questions. There are also free online study tools to help you. For example, EdReady is a free online tool to help build English and Math skills (click the link and scroll down to ‘Learners’).

 

3. Develop good study habits! Train yourself to develop good study habits which will help you in college. This can include developing your time management skills so that you do not procrastinate on your assignments. If you need help, ask your teacher or your guidance counselor. There are even free online study sites and tutorials you can use such as Khan Academy that can help improve your study habits.

4. Sign up for extracurricular activities! You can grow your interests and passions at a young age. Extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs will help you develop leadership skills, teamwork skills, and can also lead to scholarships and other opportunities down the road. This will also look good on your college applications!

 

 

5. Sign up for college related events/opportunities! Many schools offer college campus tours or host college information nights. Sign up for these opportunities and involve your family! Going on college campus tours can introduce you to campuses that you might be interested in attending. You can also ask campus representatives specific questions about the college. Attending college nights at school with your parents and family will also show your teachers that you are motivated to go to college. This gives your parents an opportunity to learn about how they can help prepare you for a higher education. If your school has college prep programs such as GEAR UP, TRIO, or AVID, take advantage of them.

 

6. Choose your high school classes carefully! The foundational classes for college include English, Math, Social Studies, Sciences, and a foreign language as a basis. Make sure that you are taking all the classes you need to graduate from high school. If you already have an idea about the major you want to pursue in college, try taking classes that relate to that major. For example, if you want to be an architect and plan on majoring in architecture in college, try taking a woodshop class in high school.

Did you know? Many bachelor’s degree programs require you to take a second language course to graduate. If you already took a second language in high school, or already speak a second language at home, you can take a placement exam for the language. Your results can either fulfill your language requirement so you don’t have to take a second language class, or it can place you in a higher level of the language class so that you can finish the requirement faster.

7. Get to know your guidance/college counselor! Your guidance counselor is a great resource for you to turn to for college help. The counselors are often the ones who will advise you on college options, and they are also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to scholarship opportunities and college admissions information. If you don’t know where to start, just take the first step: Go to their office and introduce yourself. Explain that you are interested in going to college and ask them to keep you in mind for any college related opportunities. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from them! Guidance counselors are also great resources for letters of recommendation for college or scholarship applications.

 

8. Surround yourself with good friends- There is a common saying that goes, ‘You are who you surround yourself’. This basically means that you tend to behave and end up like the people who you choose as your friends. Make sure to surround yourself with good people who can help you to learn and grow. Choose friends who are not only kind and friendly, but who also share a commitment to their education so that you can help each other to succeed.