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Sep 27, 2016 08:43 AM EDT

Here's What High School Students Can Do From Freshman To Senior Year To Prepare For College

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High school students should start thinking about their college plans as early as their freshman year. One of the ways to stay in line with your goals is to create a to-do list.

U.S. News shared the things that high school students can do from their freshman to senior year in order to stay on track. As soon as you start your high school career, make sure that you do all you can to prepare early for a good start in college.

Freshman Year

  •  Map out your classes carefully. Be sure to plan your schedule well since your grades are important.
  •  Read, read and read. Build your vocabulary by looking up unfamiliar words.
  •  Aside from doing well academically, freshman year would be a great way to develop your talents and interests outside the classroom.

Sophomore Year

  •  Define your route. Look to what courses you should take in the 11th and 12th grades.
  •  Be open to challenges but, at the same time, don't overtax yourself. Ask for help when you need it.
  •  Identify what testing strategy works for you. There are practice materials available. Getting Advanced Placement classes would also help you know what to expect.
  •  Create a resume. Start taking note of your hobbies, jobs and extracurricular activities to easily keep track of your accomplishments in the long run.
  •  Make your summers productive. Aside from enjoying the break, work, volunteer, play sports, travel or even take a class as well.

Junior Year

  •  Evaluate how you're doing to make sure that it's still effective. If you need a new approach, you can ask your teachers, parents or friends.
  •  Engage in class. Share your thoughts when asked. This will help you in terms of recommendations.
  •  Plot your testing calendar. Ask for advice from your parents and guidance counselor.
  •  Build your college list once you've received your test scores. Make a list of target schools, reaches and safeties.
  •  Visit campuses to get the feel of the college life. Joining college fairs are helpful as well.
  •  Write your college application essay. Ideally, first drafts should be done by Labor Day.

Senior Year

  •  Early fall test dates will not only give you time to apply early, it's also helpful when you need to retake the tests. Complete all graduation and course requirements for your target colleges as well.
  •  Ask two teachers for their letters of recommendation. Choose teachers who know you and can effectively communicate your academic and personal qualities.
  •  Fill up the application form. Ask for feedback on your application essay.
  •  Check with colleges about specific financial aid application requirements.
  •  Visit the colleges where you've been accepted. Once you've made your choice, send in your deposit.

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