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    Things You Need To Do To Make Sure

    Moving on to high school is an exciting time in anyone's life. You're going to meet new people, make new friends and have many fun experiences. You'll also do a lot of growing up along the way. However, you need to keep your eyes on the prize. High school can be a great time, but it is also a time to prepare for the end goal of getting into college. I've assembled some tips to help you reach that goal.

    1. Keep your grades up
    A surefire way to make sure colleges want you is to keep your grades high. No one's saying not to have fun, but the main reason to go to school is to get an education. Make sure all your work is handed in on time, make sure you take the time to study and get help if you need it. Our School Counselors are at your school to help you with any problems you may have. Remember, these grades determine how the rest of your life goes, so buckle down and do the best you can!

    2. Start looking at colleges ASAP
    You can't wait until senior year to worry about college! It's best to start as early as possible. Consider what you want in a college by thinking about what kind of environment allows you to meet your goals. Do you prefer lots of people in a class or a smaller group? Do you want a big campus environment or a few buildings clustered together? Would you rather be close to home or go far away? You need to find the place that's best for you. Visit college campuses to get a feel for campus life and the environment you'd be working in. Set up a list of schools you definitely want to apply for, some schools that you probably won't get into but will apply for anyway ("reach schools") and some schools just in case you don't get into the ones you want ("safety schools"). Starting to do this early means that you'll be prepared while your classmates are scrambling later. Also, make sure to look into financial aid and scholarship options to apply for so the cost isn't too high.

    3. Get ready for college exams
    Tests like the SAT and ACT are what colleges look at in addition to your grades to see if they want you to attend their school. In order to make a good impression, you need to make sure you have the best score possible. There are plenty of PSAT, SAT and ACT prep courses out there for you to take advantage of, including our own, as well as prep books with examples from previous tests. Also, don't be afraid to take the test more than once to improve your score. You can send out the highest one for colleges to look at, so learn from your mistakes and come back for more!

    4. Perform extracurricular activities
    Another way to impress colleges is to do something outside of schoolwork. Colleges love to see that you've taken the time to join a club, do some volunteering to help out your community, or even get an internship at a local business. So instead of going straight home after school, take a look at the clubs that your school offers and consider joining. See if there's a volunteer opportunity nearby and spend some time helping others. Look up internships in the area and pick one that interests you. Not only will this make you more attractive to colleges, but it's also a great way to try something new or get better at something you already enjoy doing. You'll also meet interesting people and maybe even make new friends.

    5. Take AP classes
    In order to make the best impression possible, colleges like to see that you've done more than just basic schoolwork. Try to challenge yourself and take an AP or Honors course in a topic you excel at. A great benefit of AP courses is that they give you college credit in that subject, which means that you'll have less courses to take in college and can graduate with less stress.

    In summary, we said:

    • Keep your grades up and go to your teachers or School Counselors if you need help
    • Start looking at colleges ASAP and organize a list of which ones you want to go to
    • Get ready for college exams like the SAT and ACT
    • Perform extracurricular activities like clubs, volunteer work or internships
    • Take Honors or AP classes if you can