Start em’ Young: Teaching High School Students About College Prep

    Preparing for college can be a stressful experience for a high school student. There are so many major decisions, and early preparation can ease some of the pressure.

    When Should You Start Thinking About College?

    Your Sophomore year is an excellent time to start considering your options. 

    Here a few tips to help you with college preparation:

    • Take the Right Classes: There is a lot of competition for getting into good colleges. In your sophomore year, you can begin to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes to give you a competitive edge and credits for some college classes. 
    • Start Researching Colleges: Don’t wait until your senior year to start taking college tours. There’s more to a school than the courses on offer, the tuition fees, or the location. Find a college that is right for you by signing up for as many tours as you can to narrow your options.
    • Be a Well-rounded Student: Colleges like students with more than good grades to offer. You need to take part in plenty of extra-curricular activities, like holding a leadership position at school or in the community. It all gives your resume a boost.
    • Start Thinking About Finances: College can be expensive, and you need to have candid conversations with your parents or guardian about what is possible for you. Inquire about scholarships and financial aid, and compare gas prices, rent, and transport costs as part of your college planning.

    Some Things You Want to Consider

    Are you struggling to choose a major? Keep these aspects in mind:

    • Ability: Are you good at sciences? Perhaps, a career in biotechnology would suit you. If you are the star of the debate team, you might make a good lawyer. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is an essential part of career awareness.
    • Passion: The most rewarding career is one where you do something that excites or challenges you. If there is a cause or hobby you see yourself doing all your life, you can look for a major that aligns with that interest or passion.
    • Earning Potential: You want to pursue a career with an attractive, if not a competitive salary that will open new opportunities for you to grow and prosper. Consider upcoming new fields that have the potential for high rewards, for example. Another factor to consider is if there are opportunities for advancement in this career line. 
    • Values: Besides money, finding a career that aligns with your moral and spiritual values can give you job fulfillment. Some people join the army or become nurses, but if you have a calling to serve your community or country, you’d be happy to know that several careers offer that same opportunity. 
    • Personality: Psychologists say that your personality can influence how suited you are for a specific career. If you are interested in your personality type, there are several quizzes you can take online, which include suggestions for suitable jobs.

    Survival Tips to Survive First Year of College

    So, how do you get through that critical first year of college?

    • Learn to Budget: A crucial part of college readiness is learning how to manage your money. Students are often on a tight leash and learning how to budget makes it easy to meet all your bills and still have some money left for entertainment. Cut costs whenever you can, like cooking at home or switching to the cheapest gas Columbus, Ohio, can offer.
    • Maintain a Supportive Social Circle: The friends you make in college play a significant role in your experience there. Find friends with similar values, goals, and interests. Motivate each other to excel and support each other to stay focused and responsible.
    • Get a Job: Taking on some responsibility, such as a part-time job, helps you prepare for the real world. You can earn extra money to pay for your expenses. College jobs also help you create valuable references for your resume. 
    • Have Fun: College is supposed to be fun—find cheap sources of entertainment, such as a game of apples to apples with your roommates. You don’t always have to spend money to have fun.
    • Use Your Resources: Take advantage of college resources to make the most of your experience there. Use the library to do assignments or eat in the cafeteria instead of at expensive restaurants. All these things save you money.

    College is one of the most important stages of your life, and it is never too early to start preparing for it. Do your research, plan, and remember to start being independent.