Top 10 Ways to Prepare for College

Stay involved…

…in school & community activities. Consider volunteering or being part of a club. It’s quality, not quantity that counts.

How to Get Involved

Organizations everywhere need volunteers. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Call programs based in your community and ask if they need help.
  • Visit your town’s website. It may list volunteer opportunities in your area.
  • Contact a local museum or other cultural institutions or get in touch with similar organizations that can point you in the right direction.
  • Ask libraries, religious organizations and community colleges if they sponsor any volunteer groups.
  • Check out the following websites to learn more about causes and to find volunteer opportunities near you:

Before You Volunteer

To get the most out of your experience, ask yourself these questions before you get involved with an organization:

  • What have I done in the past that I’ve enjoyed?
  • What do I want to do as a volunteer — and what would I rule out doing?
  • How much time can I commit?
  • What talents or skills can I offer?
  • What kinds of people do I want to work with?
  • What would I most like to learn by volunteering?

Click on the text to access resources:

Big Future Video & Article // is it quality or quantity that admission officers are looking for?

Research scholarships…

…you might qualify for and fill out the applications. Take time with the essays.

Click on the text to access resources:

Not sure where to start? We’ve put together our own list to help you figure it out!

Time Article // here are some tips to help you win the scholarships you apply for!

Explore challenging courses…

…High School is a great time to take advantage of courses that can prepare you for college, and possibly give you a head start on earning college credits. As an incoming high school student, be sure to check with your counselor to see what options are available. All of these options give students the opportunity to prepare for a successful college transition.

  • Honors courses can give students the opportunity to take a challenging program of study in the high school setting.
  • Advanced Placement (AP) courses are taught at the high school and offer year-end exams in which students can earn college credits with a qualifying test score.
  • Dual Enrollment courses are classes offered through a college and students can earn college credit while in high school.
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses through the West Shore Educational Services District, provide students with hands on experience with the most advanced technology, along with industry driven software to help them achieve their academic goals.

Click on the text to access resources:

To learn more about the Westshore ESD Career & Technical education program, click here!

Big future article // learn how to get the most out of your high school classes.

Here’s a list of free online classes you can take right now from design to coding!

Visit the campuses…

…of colleges you’re interested in. Narrow down your top choices to find the right fit for YOU!

Here are some things to consider when narrowing down your top college choices:

  • How far away is the college from home? How close to home is ideal for you?
  • Is your degree option a high priority for the college? Is it one of their specialties?
  • How much is tuition? Is it more cost effective to stay in a campus dorm or to stay in an apartment off campus?
  • What’s campus life like? Are there clubs or extracurricular activities/groups that fit your interests?
  • Where is the campus located? What’s the surrounding rural/urban area like?

Click on the text to access resources:

Don’t have time to visit a campus in person? Check here to see if your college or university has a virtual tour available

Here’s a map of Michigan complete with all universities & postsecondary options!

College Green Light. Get assistance finding colleges, scholarships, and filling out applications, all in one place.

Article: Want to know how to get the most out of your campus visit? Click here!

Keep your GPA up.

Your GPA is one of your strongest indicators of success. It is your evidence of how you have performed in coursework throughout high school. Take responsibility for your GPA the moment you step into high school for it is the door that can open you up to scholarships, college admissions, and careers.

Click on the text to access resources:

GPA Calculator – how to raise your GPA and keep it that way, as well as a calculator to help you define educational goals.

Finish college applications…

…as early as possible – don’t wait until the last minute!

Organize your application deadlines so you don’t fall behind. Some applications require that a counselor fill out a portion of the form. HOWEVER, even if your application does not include this portion, you still need to remember to tell your counselor that you’ve applied so that they can send out your transcripts and test scores.

ALSO: If your application requires a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor let him/her know as soon as possible so that they have time to write a thoughtful letter.

Click on the text to access resources:

Big Future Article: Tips on preparing the best college application possible.

Read this Article from the Princeton Review about crafting an unforgettable college application essay, so that you’ll always be bumped to the top of the list!

Explore careers…

…by identifying your skills and interests, job-shadowing, or taking online career placement tests. Consider job-shadowing to spend some time with current professionals within your field of interest. Also, take online career placement tests. While going into college unsure of what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life is completely fine, you should at least have a solid idea of what you would enjoy and what you’d like your major to be. Remember, that most people change their careers 3-5 times within their lifetime. Your college programming choice straight out of high school should be thought of as a first building block to your future higher education!

Click on the text to access resources:

Michigan Hot 50 Jobs: Outlook into 2024

Pure MI Talent Connect: Take this career skills assessment to get linked with the best possible career path for you!

Big Future Articles: a list of articles that range from how to explore what career is best for you personally and also what industries are the biggest & fastest growing.

Fill out the FAFSA.

Take practice SAT tests…

…so you can be better prepared for the actual test and get a better score.  Taking realistic practice tests, in realistic settings, can improve your SAT score!

Click on the text to access resources:

Here is a link to 6 different practice SAT tests that you can take, and then score with your phone!

Tips for effective, efficient studying! 

SAT Tips and Tricks!

Most importantly…

…connect with others! Talk about your plans & ask for help from school counselors, college, advisors, family, teachers, recent college grads, and other mentors in your life.

What Is "College"?

College is all post-secondary education including certificate programs, trade schools, community colleges and 4 year colleges and universities. Learn More