If you are a high school student at this exact moment, this means high school is basically mandatory that you attend, while your grandparents may have experienced high school as an optional higher education route. Yes, back then, high school was a way to help students prepare to get a job in the real world, whereas for you, college fills that same purpose. For you, the extracurricular sports, volunteering, clubs, etc. are your involvement in a part of your life where it prepares you for being part of society and as a college student. As soon as a student begins high school, the action plan to get into college and figuring out all of the details of college interests, should take place. Granted you may be thinking about college and your parents may have been prepping you for higher education as soon as you were born, here is a practical way to approach your four years of high school, preparing for college.


Freshman Year

You’re just entering high school, and you want to soak up all of the excitement and joy this new chapter in your life can bring. By now, you’ve probably already spoken to someone about interests in college. If you haven’t, you can always begin now. Whether you’ve come up with a plan with your parents or mentors already, it’s a great idea to speak to a counselor that you can be consistent with for the next few years. Your counselor will be able to help you align with what your interests are in college, to helping you schedule your classes in high school to match with them the best as possible. A counselor can help you pay attention to your GPA and give advice on when it’s the right time to take accelerated classes if you are looking to have the best resume for college applications. This is now the time to also learn commitment – Whether it be joining in sports, clubs, part-time job, your involvement in anything throughout the next few years will definitely stand out in your college applications.


Sophomore Year

At  this point, you’ve had a taste for what high school is all about. You have a groove that you’re comfortable with, and can now dive deeper into your college plans – Choosing the colleges you want to apply for. You can still make regular visits and talks with your counselor regarding this and how your high school career is going. Continue to be a part of the community showing your dedication to improving yours or others’ lives outside of yours – This will stand out to college admissions. You do not have to join a lot of different clubs, however picking a couple of the ones you are genuinely interested in will be just right. At this time, you should be researching financial planning for your college years – Costs of living, living on or off campus, average textbook costs, parking permits, etc. You want to be prepared as much as possible before this next venture in your life, and you’ll still have a couple of years to figure it all out if you start now.


Junior Year

At this point, it is possible for some students (depending on the regulations in your state) to begin taking standardized tests. If you choose to wait until senior year, you’ll have this whole year to prepare for them. You’ll want to know what you’re going to be doing senior year, so that the last year of high school for you isn’t caught up in a frenzy and can be focused on enjoying your time. By now, your choices for colleges can be narrowed down and ready to prep to send college applications to. You’ll have a nice resume stacked up thus far when it comes to your current GPA and extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in for the past three years. If you have not already, it is  a good time to search for scholarships within your community and further out. Many more scholarships will be ready for you by senior year, but it’s good to check out what’s available now and get a head start.


Senior Year

By now, you’ve done an immaculate amount of prep work. If you have not – You still have time to get it all done and still get into a college of your choice. Most of the prep work is over and done. Now, you should be registering for the ACT/SAT tests – Tests that you must register for at least one month in advance. Now, it is also time to send in applications to your colleges. Sending applications in early is highly recommended, as it gives you time to make sure you get all documents required before deadlines. Now is also a perfect time to get in on sending those scholarship applications out as well – At the same time, you need to get going on the FAFSA applications so that your funding for school will arrive on time to pay for your tuition. And finally, you wait! You wait until you receive your acceptance letters and make your final decision on which college you go to. Your final decision can be based on location, college interests, college tuition costs, etc.