College Planning for the High School Freshman
Today, a record 20 million are expected to attend college this fall – that’s 70% of all high school graduates. This means that for students aspiring to attend elite colleges, competition is higher than ever. Ambitious high school students know how to prepare during their sophomore, junior, and senior years. Unfortunately, however, most seem to be completely in the dark on how to prepare during their freshman years.
The first year of high school is universally acknowledged as the easiest, but that doesn’t give you license to coast. Most high schools do not allow freshmen to take Advanced Placement, Accelerated, or Honors classes, so don’t worry if your GPA freshman year is unweighted. Instead, use your easy course load to keep your GPA up, and use the inevitable free time left over to participate in school activities like sports and extracurriculars. Although colleges always look at a student’s GPA and SAT score first, extracurricular activities are important as well. Look into what your school’s strengths are and get involved with those activities in particular. For example, some schools have a strong Key Club (a club dedicated to community service), or Robotics Club. If you don’t find anything suited to your interests, start your own club.
Freshman year is also an ideal year to complete the necessary community service hours in order to graduate. Make sure not to procrastinate on this – in order to go to college, you need to graduate first. Look into nonprofit organizations that reflect what you’re passionate about, or your future career goals. For example, if you’re interested in the medical profession, volunteer in a hospital (but those spots go fast, so apply as soon as possible). A good place to start is www.volunteermatch.org. Remember, this is important not only for college applications – if you plan on applying for a job or an internship later, you can put this volunteering job on your resumé.
If you’re thinking about preparing for the SAT 1 Reasoning Test freshman year, don’t. The test is designed for juniors and seniors. If you start prepping now, you’ll forget everything by the time the test actually does roll around.
Another looming fear when it comes to college is the rising costs of tuition. How can your family begin preparing now? Come to my next College Funding Workshop! I’ll provide steps you can take right now to start planning ahead.
Remember not to overburden yourself by worrying too much about college. You have three years to go, and if all you’re focused on is getting into college the entire time, you’ll not only regret it, but also stress yourself out.
Photo by Jimmy Harris
Ready for your own success story?
If you’re a typical parent with college-bound students, you’re probably overwhelmed. You want to help your sons and daughters make the right choices and prevent overpaying for their education. You’re not alone! We’re here to help. Schedule your free consultation today – click below to get started!
Catch our free, on-demand webinar:
How to Survive Paying for College
Join Beatrice Schultz, CFP® for our on-demand webinar, where she provides parents with the exact steps that often greatly lower the cost of college, even if there’s little time to prepare.