Here, you’ll find some helpful steps you can use as a guide to create a plan that will help you put your best foot forward as you apply to your college choices. You’ll also find additional resources linked from this page below.
But first, here are the basics you need as you plan your college roadmap.
Step #1: Get Good Grades
Your grade point average (or GPA) averages your grades from all of your classes over your high school career. This number can range anywhere between a 0.0 to a 4.0, with a 4.0 being the highest standing.
You want to keep a high GPA, as it is one of the first things colleges look at. The good news is that it can be raised depending on your dedication to studying and the courses your high school offers. Specialized classes like Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors courses can also raise your GPA above a 4.0.
Step #2: Join Extracurriculars
Joining extracurriculars, like sports, clubs, and other community-oriented programs, are one of the best things you can do as a high school student.
Doing so not only shows an Admissions office that you’re active in your school and community, but it also allows room for growth by exposing you to certain interests and skills. Extracurriculars can help you develop essential qualities like leadership, organization, and teamwork that can help carry you through college.
Step #3: Think About Your Career Interests
Before applying anywhere, it’s wise to take a moment and think about your potential career interests. Even if you don’t know what you want to do professionally, it may be time to let any of your interests, skills, and values translate into a potential major.
Step #4: Consider Financial Aid
No matter your economic background, it’s wise to look into financial aid options. One of the first places you should start is with FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to see if you qualify for government assistance. Some other popular options are:
No matter what route you decide on, college is expensive, and having extra help can go a long way while obtaining your degree. In fact, nearly 90% of college students across the board receive some type of financial aid. So, before you begin searching, ask what your family can afford and any potential scholarships you qualify for.
Step #5: Take the SATs or ACTs
Although all colleges do not require them, taking the SATs or the ACTs can be a good move on your part as a student. Each year, colleges receive thousands of applications—but having good test scores can help you stand out among others. While the SATs and ACTs are different tests, most schools don’t have a preference since their scores are both used to gauge college readiness.
Having a plan in place is one of the best ways to prepare applying to college. Below, you’ll find more information and resources that are specific to your interests, choices, and financial situation before applying to college. Learn more on how you can better your application process moving forward.