If attending college or university is on your future, there are things you can do to get ahead. Here are tips on how to prepare for college while you’re in high school.

It’s a question everyone has been asked when they were little: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For some people, the answer changes every time the question comes around; for others, the answer remains the same well into young adulthood.

Whichever the case may be for you, it’s not a bad time to start seriously thinking about your plans. College is the next logical step after high school, and if you’re not ready for it, you could spend four (or more) years regretting it. To help you avoid that, here are ways to prepare for college while you’re still in high school.

Ways to Prepare for College When You’re in High School

Ways to Prepare for College When You’re in High School

1. Have a game plan
Going to college is a big step, and it’s a decision that could influence the rest of your life. So really take the time to think about what you want to do. Consider the following questions:

  • Do I want to go to college right away?
  • What do I want to major in?
  • Where do I want to study?
  • Which university offers the best program for what I want to study?
  • Am I financially ready to take this on?

It could be overwhelming to think about all this, so make sure you have someone to guide you through these decisions. If you wish to speak to someone impartial (because parents have their own motives), try reaching out to your school counselor.

2. Develop useful habits and skills
College is a completely different environment from high school since you’d be expected to be more independent and proactive. So, as early as possible, it’s wise to develop the right habits, such as effective studying, organization, and discipline.

Now is also the best time to improve essential skills, such as writing, speaking, and interpersonal relations. But remember to branch out and develop new skills too.

Getting out of your comfort zone may help you determine exactly what you want to do with your life and what career you want to pursue. Having an array of extracurriculars, internships, and relevant skills couldn’t hurt your college applications, either.

Ways to Prepare for College When You’re in High School

3. Research your prospective colleges
Once you have at least an idea of what you want to study, it’s time to start researching about prospective universities. When you do this, consider looking at reviews for the program that you’re eyeing.

You could also come up with a set of criteria to help you figure out the best university for you. Singling out a few university options also helps you check their requirements for students, which could help you prepare more precisely.

4. Visit campuses
After narrowing down the list of potential schools, go ahead and join their campus visits. It’s best to do this in your junior year.

Not only will you get a feel of the campus life, but you might also learn things you didn’t already know about them. Try to visit as many campuses as you can – yes, even the ones that aren’t at the top of your list. They might surprise you.

Ways to Prepare for College When You’re in High School

5. Prepare for tests and smooth out your applications
Doing well on standardized tests can help give you an edge, especially for the top universities, so make sure to take these seriously. However, keep in mind that most traditional colleges will not just focus on your grades.

In the applications they require, essays are typically included as well. So, as mentioned earlier, it’s important that you improve your writing skills.

6. Set short-term and long-term goals
Your preparation for college doesn’t end when you send your final application. You should also think about the goals you want to achieve once you’re actually there. Do you want to focus on your academics, or do you want to branch out more? By setting goals, you’re making sure that you’d get the most out of your college experience.

It can be difficult to know exactly what you want to do with your life at such a young age. Even though you’re not completely sure about your plans yet, the best thing you can do is prepare yourself for whatever’s to come. Hopefully, these six tips have given you some insight.

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