How Freshmen and Sophomores Can Prepare for College

Going to college is an exciting part of life and can be really beneficial. You might think, as a freshman or sophomore, that you don’t need to start preparing for that time yet, but you do. While you are still a couple of years away from going to college, getting ready early might be helpful. A lot of students don’t start preparing for college until the end of their junior year, and this can really hurt you in the long run. While everyone else is enjoying their last year of high school, you will be stressing about last minute applications, grades, and finances. To help you be better prepared, here are some things you should do during your freshman and sophomore years to get you ready for college! 

Talk to your Guidance Counselor

Guidance counselors are helpful for a number of reasons, but the main reason they are going to be useful to you is for the college admission process. Make sure to meet with your counselor every year, so you can make sure you are taking the best classes you can. Taking the right classes is important because these will help you look your best in your college applications. 

Get Good Grades 

Just because you are four years away from college doesn’t mean that your grades don’t count. Colleges start looking at your GPA beginning your freshman year, and getting good grades now will help you build good study habits and a good base for the rest of your time in high school. Starting out with a good GPA will help you maintain it through the hardest year of high school, which is usually your junior year. 

Look for Extracurricular Activities

Extracurriculars look great on college applications, and they are also fun to participate in! But don’t take so many that you are overwhelmed. In high school, it can be really easy to over-exert yourself with too many extracurriculars and get bogged down in the middle of the year. While it’s good to look like a well rounded student, sometimes it’s more impressive to show that you are really good at one or two things. For example, instead of having four extracurriculars that you are kind of into, have one or two that you are really invested in. It’s good to show that you are committed to your activities and want to do your best in them.  

Sophomores, Take the PSAT

We know that nobody likes taking standardized tests but unfortunately they are a part of the college admission process. While it may be too early to take the SAT or ACT, it’s never too early to start thinking about the best ways to prepare for them. It can help to take the PSAT as a sophomore to practice for taking the bigger tests. It helps you become familiar with the standardized testing format, so you know what yo expect. Also, the PSAT will determine whether or not you are eligible for a National Merit Scholarship! 

Get a Summer Job

Maybe getting a summer job is not how you would like to spend your summers, but doing this might help your future self out a lot. Working during the summers in high school is going to help you save a bunch of money for college. College is not cheap. Doing this for several summers in a row is going to take a lot of the financial stress off of you and your family when it comes time to pay for tuition, room, and board. 

Taking small steps in your college preparation process your first two years of high school is going to help you out a lot once you get into your senior year. While most of your preparation will happen in your last year of high school, you shouldn’t wait until then to start. If you follow these tips, you will be on track for success in your college applications! 

Maggie is an editorial intern at Potential magazine and a senior English major at Birmingham Southern College. She enjoys reading and writing articles and blogs and is excited to share some of her college experiences with Potential readers.

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