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College Tips for High Schoolers

March 18, 2014
By Christian Jones of South Houston High School



We're now in the spring semester, almost to the end of our school year. Many may think that this is the time to relax and slack off, however, underclassmen should be using this time to their advantage. This article is especially for the class of 2015, whose senior year is right around the corner.

 Summer:

  • Start looking at some colleges that you're interested in. Do you want a school that's affiliated with your religion? Is the cost convenient for you and your family? Do you want somewhere that's close or far away from home? These are all important questions to ask yourself. Try to have at least five colleges in mind, with your favorite as your first choice.
  • Try getting a summer job in order to pay for application fees, graduation items, and college related expenses, such as tuition and books. It will take off some of the burden you will feel once you've receive your first bill.

Fall/Winter:

  • Take the SAT and/or ACT in the early fall (South Houston offers free prep classes). If you do this, you will be able to meet the early applications that some colleges offer, and they'll give you an earlier response on your admissions decision. Also, if they offer you their early application, they usually waive the application fee, so you'll save money!
  • Start visiting the colleges you've applied to, or thinking of applying to, in order to see if you could see yourself spending the next four years there.
  • Apply for scholarships. They're not all based on academics and sports. There are scholarships for people under 5'0, for your ethnicity, if you are left-handed, etc. Anyone could get a scholarship if they have the mind to.

Spring:

  • Fill out your FASFA, immediately after January 1st. Your FASFA is so your college can offer you financial aid such as grants, loans, and scholarships. It also lets you know your EFC (estimated family contribution), which lets you know how much your family is expected to pay for your education.
  • Choose which college you’re going to if you already haven’t.  You need to start turning in your deposit, thinking of meal plans, and applying for housing to secure your spot for the upcoming school year.
  • Continue to fill out scholarships!
  • Keep your grades up. Don’t think that just because you’ve gain acceptance that you’re officially in. Colleges can revoke your acceptance if they think that you’re slacking.
  • Graduate! I know this seems obvious, but there are situations that can prevent you from walking across that stage (too many absences, disciplinary issues, poor grades, etc.) Your colleges will require you to send them your final transcript so they can ensure that you’ve graduated.

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