It's All About Adjustment
The transition to high school can be a challenging one and students often have enough to worry about without having to focus on college. Questions like ‘What classes am I going to take?’ or ‘Will I have the same lunch period as my friends?’ or even ‘Will I be able to get all the way from my locker to Spanish class in five minutes?’ are likely more important to a freshman than ‘Where am I going to college’? And they should be. Freshman year is all about adjustment.
College Prep Tips for High School Freshman
- Paint a Vision for College
- Meet Your Guidance Counselor
- Get Involved
Paint a Vision for College
Make sure you understand that if you want to go to college, there WILL be a way for you to get there. As a parent or as a student, don’t couch your conversations about attending a university with “Well, if we can afford it.” Remember, if there is a will, there is way.
Another part of painting a vision for college is seeing what college life can be like. Find or create opportunities to visit colleges. If you have a favorite team or are interested in your parents’ alma mater(s), ask to go to one their games. As a parent, you can take a Saturday afternoon with your freshman to stroll around a local campus or maybe visit a nearby university while you’re on vacation.
Meet Your Guidance Counselor
Once you’ve settled in a bit at high school, make an appointment to visit your guidance counselor. During your conversation with the counselor, make sure you let them know you hope to go to college and possibly what you are considering studying when you get there. They can review your class schedule with you and ensure that you are on a good college prep track and help steer you toward those classes which are relevant to your possible major.
Find one or two extracurricular activities that interest you and get involved in them. It is a great way to meet new people, have some great high school experiences, figure out what you really like and what you’re really good at. Don’t feel pressure to get involved in too many extracurriculars or participate in things you think universities would like to see on your resume. Our experience has taught us that colleges aren’t as interested in what the activities are or how many you actively participate in. Rather, schools are far more interested in the activities you perform well, have a passion for, and take a leadership role in more so than the sheer number of activities.