How Soon Should I Start to Prepare for College?
In a way, you are always preparing yourself for college as a student – even if it doesn’t feel like that at first.
Every step along your educational journey is going to build towards the next one, giving you the foundational education you need to succeed moving forward. At the same time, it is important to really drill down and focus on college preparation at the right time so that you give yourself every chance for success in the future.
Everyone’s Educational Journey is Different
As highlighted above, each of us are going to go along our own educational journey that’s going to prepare us in a roundabout way for college – but there are certainly things you can do to speed up, accelerate, or streamline your preparation, too.
For example, it’s never a bad idea to take advantage of Advanced Placement (AP) and College Preparatory (CP) classes whether they be offered in middle school or high school. It’s also not a bad idea to take advantage of pre-SAT and pre-ACT tests as soon as you have a chance – the earlier, the better!
Preparing in Middle School
You don’t necessarily have to have your entire educational career mapped out by the time you hit middle school, but the more concrete you can make your life goals going forward the better prepared you are going to be for sure.
Middle school is when you’ll want to start discussing your career aspirations and your educational goals with the important and influential adults in your life. It’s not a bad idea to try and get as much experience – real-world experience – in those areas as possible in the early stages, too.
This will help you know if the path that you’ve envisioned is really right for you or if it’s time for a course correction before you get too far down the line to start all over again.
Preparing in High School
High school is when college preparation should begin in earnest.
This is when you are going to want to start speaking to your guidance counselor and your educators about challenging yourself, taking advantage of advanced placement courses whenever possible and really doing your level best to excel and differentiate yourself as a student.
Around your second year in high school you’ll want to start thinking about taking pre-SAT and pre-ACT tests and examinations, too. This will give you a better feel for how you would place when you take the “real deal”, but it also gives you a better feel for how these tests are laid out, how to strategize your studying around these examinations, and how to make sure you are as well prepared for them as can be.
Junior year in high school is when you’ll want to start thinking about visiting college campuses, potentially sitting in on college classes at the schools you are hoping to be admitted to, and really polishing up your admittance essays.
At the end of the day, all of this early preparation will pay off and go a long way towards helping you get into the school of your dreams – and that’s the first step towards achieving the career and calling you’ll want to dedicate your life too!