Apr   2017



5 Ways to Get a Head Start on the College Admission Process

CollegeXpress Student Writer

It’s always a good idea to be thinking about your college applications. Even if you are a freshman or sophomore in high school, there are a lot of things you can do that will pay off immensely in the long run. Here are just a handful of ideas to get your feet off the ground!

Related: Should I be worried about college as a high school freshman?

1. Get involved in extracurricular activities

Not only are extracurriculars fun, they look phenomenal on college applications. Plus, there are endless options. Do you want to have a more active role in your school? Participating in student government not only ensures that you help plan all of the awesome events that go on, but it will help showcase your leadership skills to colleges. Volunteering in your community is a spectacular way to feel good and serve others while impressing admission boards. Really, if there is anything you love, it’s almost guaranteed there will be some sort of activity to help you simultaneously enjoy yourself and boost your résumé.

Related: How to Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities in High School

2. Study for the PSAT/SAT

These tests are a pretty big part of college admission, so studying for them is crucial. In some cases, it may be the final decision between two students. Not only that, but you are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship depending on your PSAT score. (And we all know scholarships are a huge help!)

Related: Re-Examining the SAT: How It’s Used Beyond College Admission

3. Look for scholarships

Speaking of scholarships, it is never too early to start hunting for opportunities to save money on college. There are so many options available for all high school students, not just juniors and seniors. Many companies offer essay competitions or have random drawings, and websites like CollegeXpress will send you regular e-mails informing you of upcoming scholarship deadlines [thanks for the shout-out, Zia!]. One quick tip when searching for scholarships is to narrow down your search options to fit your interests. It makes the process a ton more fun!

Related: Scholarship Search Best Practices

4. Practice writing college essays

One of the toughest parts about applying to colleges is the admission essay. A simple five-paragraph paper is fine and dandy, but there are going to be a lot of papers just like that. Colleges are looking for students who stand out, so use your essay to show your individuality. Many books and websites have examples of prompts and responses and offer tips on how to shine through your writing.

Related: How to Write a Great College Application Essay

5. Schedule campus visits

College is a big deal. You spend four years of your life there, learning and making memories. Therefore, you need to find a school that feels perfect. Scheduling visits will give you an early glimpse of campus life and gives you a better feel of what you are looking for. It seriously makes it easier to pick schools when filling out applications.

Related: Campus Visits: Your College Search Secret Weapon

There you have it! Five little tricks to help you get a head start on college applications. Let’s hope they help! And you can find even more application advice in our College Admission section.

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

About Zia Sampson

Zia Sampson

I am a senior at Brentsville District High School, where I serve as Managing Editor and Business Manager of The Roar, the school paper. I will be attending Loyola University New Orleans in the fall, where I will be majoring in Mass Communications, both Strategic Communications and Journalism, and minoring in Sociology. I will be in the University Honors Program and the Social Justice Scholars Program. In my free time, I like to watch Netflix (my current obsession is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), sleep, and read. I am a big animal lover, with four cats and two dogs, and I have two older brothers and a twin sister. 

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