Last week, I told you about the nine things you could do as a high school junior to prepare for college. But guess what? Those were only the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve come up with eight more important steps you can take this school year to make a successful transition to college life. Everyone at your high school might be all smiles now, but believe me, competition for those coveted spots at the school of your choice will heat up quickly.
It’s time for you to take the gloves off. Read on for eight more tips you can put into effect to prepare yourself for college, and more importantly, prepare your college for you.
Missed part 1? Then click here for nine more tips that could help you succeed.
1. Find a Favorite Teacher and Become Their Favorite Student
You’re going to need a few amazing recommendations for any type of college or scholarship application, so this is the time when it pays to be a teacher’s pet. Teachers receive tons of recommendation requests each year, but if you can stand out, you’ll get more than a bare-bones summary of your student record. The more they like you, the better your recommendation will be.
And here’s one more hint: put in your requests early, before dozens of other people have gotten to your teacher of choice first.
2. Become a Fashionista (or just look decent)
The t-shirt-and-jeans-look might work when you’re with your friends, but not so much when you’re checking out colleges or even going in for an interview. It’s not that looks matter. What matters is how you carry yourself, and there’s truth to the “dress for success” mantra. Leave everyone you talk to, be it a counselor, teacher or admissions team member, with a better impression of you than a tie dye tank top would allow.
3. Talk to Strangers
You used to hear the opposite, but you’re older now and talking to strangers (in the right circumstances: think college meet-and-greets rather than darkened alleys) can actually pay off. Network whenever you get the chance. Opportunities are everywhere if you know where to find them. Leave an impression on someone now and they might be your next employer or offer you some insight into college that you never would have expected.
4. Start Reading Again
Whether it’s a newspaper article or the latest book from your favorite author, comprehension builds with every single thing you read. You’ll be reading a lot in college, so it’s good to get into the habit now. That way, you don’t become mentally exhausted later when trying to keep up with your college assignments.
5. Leave the House
Camps related to your prospective career. College visits. Volunteer opportunities. This is the time to get out there in the world. You don’t learn much about yourself from binge-watching or playing videogames, so take this chance to see what kinds of activities you respond to. You’ll meet awesome people, have great stories to tell on your admissions applications and figure out what kind of career is right for you.
6. Reevaluate Relationships
Can you think of any friends who might be bringing you down rather than supporting your college ambitions? It might be time to distance yourself from those people. Instead, surround yourself with people that have a common goal. You won’t be so stressed about high school drama if the people you’re with are focused on the same things as you.
7. Get your GPA Up
I’ve said this before but I can’t stress it enough: first impressions count! While it might be just one number, your GPA is a representation of your overall high school academic accomplishments. Many colleges have a minimum GPA that you’ll need to meet if you want to even be considered for admission. With two years left, this is the time to get your GPA precisely where you need it to be to set yourself up for college.
8. Murder Procrastination
Get a calendar. Set alarms. Write notes on your refrigerator. Learn how to annoy yourself into getting work done that you might otherwise put off. Visualize how good it feels when you’re done with whatever projects or assignments you’ve set for yourself.
“Later” can become a synonym for “never” when you’re in high school and the choice becomes working on an admissions essay or hanging out with friends. Don’t fall into that trap, as it will leave you scrambling to complete your applications on time and even become a habit that sticks with you throughout your life.
So there you have it. Take these tips to heart and don’t wait to begin looking into and applying for college. You might be surprised by just how straightforward the journey becomes.
Ready to get a jump on campus visits? Keep track of everything you love and loathe with our College Visit Worksheet: