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College Readiness Your Freshman Year

Hector Leal, Freshman Writer

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As a freshman, I know it seems a bit early to start thinking about college. I mean, you’ve got three years left, right? Actually, those three years can feel like three months before you know it. Trust me, you do not want to slack off throughout high school or else you could find yourself in a sticky situation. College is very competitive, and it is important to prepare yourself and do your best in high school so that you can attend the college of your choice or best fit. I’m here to provide you with tips on how to take advantage of high school to your benefit your college career. It will take a lot of hard work, determination, and perseverance, but in the end it is completely worth it.

1) Focus on the Numbers: Academics, GPA, Test Scores, and Grades

Today, just a great GPA will not cut it anymore. GPA’s and ACT or SAT test scores are just things used to filter people out. For example, if you are applying to a competitive school, not meeting the minimum GPA or test score can automatically filter you out because of how many people are applying. So, it is extremely important to maintain the best GPA possible for your school in mind. With that being said, having just the desired GPA and test scores for your desired school is not enough. Schools want to see people that stand out.

2)  Create the Big Picture: Extracurriculars, Academic Competitions, Sports, and Student Involvement

To be a well rounded student, you need to add more food to your plate. Yes, it is hard. And, yes, it is gonna be a lot of work. However, this just makes your college application and high school transcript that much more unique. Besides maintaining a high GPA, you need to involve yourself in several clubs. Pick your favorite: chess club, speech and debate, robotics club, you name it. Colleges want to see that you are willing to do the extra work. They want to see you do more than the minimum or what is required. Another great extracurricular is student government, Get involved with student council, or become an ambassador.  Sports are also a promising path for scholarships. Schools are very willing to compensate you for playing a varsity sport, especially if you are talented. Therefore, if you normally play club or travel sports, then play that sport in high school if offered.

3) Think about a Challenge: Rigorous Course Loads, Honors, AP, and IB

Now, let’s be honest, if you compare a student with a high GPA with all regular courses, and you compare that student to someone with a high GPA in all honors and AP, then it is obvious that colleges will favor the second student. Colleges want to see you work and push yourself.. So, what does that mean? Of course, not everyone learns the same way. However, if you know you can handle a course by putting in the hard work, then go for it. Register for honors and AP when available. Or, if you do not want to do AP, then apply for IB if your school offers it.

4) Help Out: Community Service

Lastly, get involved in your community. Showing that you care about your community and are willing to make a change is important to colleges. This can be as little as serving in a soup kitchen, or serving in a senior’s retirement home. Many high schools today have community service hours as a graduation requirement, but doing more than what is mandated will not hurt either.


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College Readiness Your Freshman Year