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How to Prepare for College When You’re Still in High School

If you’ve decided that you want to go to college, you may wonder what you can do now to get ready. One of your first steps should be a visit to your high school counselor’s office. They may be able to provide you with information on schools, applying for financial aid, and other tips. Next, you need to take college prep classes, research, and start applying.

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The Right Classes

It’s important to try to take as many classes as possible that will prepare you for college and to do well in them. What that means specifically will vary depending on your current high school, where you plan to go, and what you plan to major in. If you’re planning to study math or science, you definitely need to take calculus if it’s offered, but you can probably get away with skipping it if you want to study English. Foreign language classes are required for many majors. AP classes can expose you to college curriculum and give you the chance to exempt some credits.

Consider Costs

As you start looking at colleges, don’t be discouraged when you see the price tag. It is smart to compare costs, and some students will decide that it makes more sense to attend an in-state public school than to go out of state. However, if there’s a college that you have your heart set on, you may still be able to afford it with a combination of scholarships, grants and loans. You can take out a mix of federal and private loans or just one type, depending on your eligibility and needs. Even if you are going to school part-time, you can take out loans. For some students, this is the best option since they are able to work and earn money while going to school.

Research

Before you can begin applying to college, start investigating colleges that interest you. Consider whether they have the program of study that you want to pursue, what their admission requirements are and lifestyle factors, such as where they are located and what the campus culture is like. See what their reputation is within the field that interests you and whether graduates tend to go on to jobs in their field. Visiting campuses is great if you can do it, but it’s not always practical or affordable. In that case, find out as much as you can online.

Apply

lt’s best to apply to at least a couple of schools, a dream one that’s a bit of a long shot and a safe school that you’re reasonably certain about getting accepted to. However, you can apply to more than that as long as you can afford the fees and have the time. Stay organized, making sure that you allow for plenty of time to gather recommendation letters, complete any testing, or write any required essays. Stay on top of deadlines. If you aren’t accepted to a school that you really wanted to attend, consider taking some classes at a community college or another nearby school and reapply later.

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