How to get ready for college

College may seem far off, but for seniors it is just around the corner, but there are even steps freshman should be taking to get ready for college.

Freshmen are just starting off high school, but one thing to start doing is really caring about your grades because colleges look at all of your high school grades including freshman year. Also you should start a list of clubs joined, and accomplishments.

Sophomores should consider preparing for the PSAT (Practice SAT). Start to consider going into advanced classes or taking a PSEO class for college credits.

Juniors will be taking the PSAT and this starts the most significant college tests. Then students should be registering for the SAT and the ACT. Along with practicing before the test. Start to also look into a job to start saving up money, and to start getting job experience.

Senior year is when this all starts to become real. In the summer seniors should be planning college visits and start to narrow down colleges you want to attend. There are always early decisions or early action programs. A 2019 state of College Admission Report by NACAC stated that colleges report that the acceptance rate is higher for early action and early decision applicants compared to those who are closer to the deadline.

This year the FAFSA opened on October 1st, the FAFSA is how the government decides how much financial aid you qualify for with your history. It also is a way to access grants, federal student loans and work study funds. All schools require the FAFSA to be done, and it is required for each year you attend college.

All schools are different, some require two letters of recommendation, some none, either way it is nice to have one or two on hand. During the fall you should be requesting letters of recommendation about 30 days in advance of when you need them.

You also need to request transcripts which should also be requested earlier then needed. You will need to work with your high school counselor to get an official transcript from school. Also check in with the counselor that you met the graduation requirements.

In winter you should be finishing submitting scholarship applications, along with finishing making and changes or corrections to the Student Aid Report, this will be done after the FAFSA, the Student Aid Report is really just a summary of the FAFSA that is needed.

Finally in spring, you should finish visiting colleges and start to think about acceptances from colleges. Compare the financial aid packages offered, and make a decision. There are deadlines for accepting an acceptance letter, but typically it is done by May 1st. Then onto making decisions on student loans.

This is only the testing and application part of getting ready for college. There is also the packing, living on or off campus, choosing a roommate, and so much more. So be ready for an adventure when you are getting ready for college.