Opinion: High school seniors, prepare for your college future

Margene Walz

School is once again in session.  For many of you, this is your last year of high school.  College is just around the corner.  Expectations and the stress level for seniors and their parents are going to increase.

Are you ready for college?  Have you taken the most difficult classes your high school offers?  Are you getting the highest grades possible? Have you taken the needed standardized tests?  If you plan to attend a highly selective college or university the answer to these questions should be “yes.”  Visit your counselor’s office to insure you will have completed all courses and taken the appropriate tests required for admittance to the school of your choice. Ideally, the college process should start the freshman year.  If this hasn’t happened then it should start as soon as possible.

Not only are colleges looking for students who are academically prepared to enter their institution and succeed, but they are also looking for mature, self-motivated, independent students.  Taking the most difficult courses available at your high school and getting good grades show you are ready.

Seniors, you must remember, this is your future.  It is time for you to take charge.  If you are intending to stay on campus your parents will not be there to assist you.  I know it is very easy to delay and procrastinate when confronted with a situation you don’t understand, but it is imperative you move forward with your planning.

Listed below are several tips to get you started on your final year of high school.

  • Find out what needs to be done throughout the year.  Prioritize! Keep a calendar available at all times.  It is difficult to juggle school, homework and activities.
  • Make a list of your interests.  Research which schools fit the majority of them.  The goal is to live at this institution until you graduate.  You want to enjoy staying there.
  • Organize the college information you receive.  You will have applications, letters of recommendation, financial aid, scholarships and housing information for each school.  Keep it organized!
  • Find out when you must make your college deadlines and keep them.  One reason that students lose out on the college of their choice or financial aid is missed deadlines.
  • Respect those who are giving their time to help you.  Your high school counselor and most likely your parents have gone through this process.  They are there to assist you but not do your work.  If you are requesting letters of recommendation please give each person plenty of time to complete them.  And always, always thank the people involved with your college selection process.  They sincerely have your best interest at heart.
  • Do not get “Senioritis!” Colleges notice if your grades have dropped during the last semester.  When you allow this to happen, colleges feel you are not mature enough to attend their institution.  Stay focused!

College is a huge step toward your future.  Being prepared to take that step is your responsibility.  Becoming organized, keeping track of your deadlines and paperwork and insuring all needed information for your application is completed, will prove you are going in the right direction.

Work hard, be prepared and most of all have fun!!  This is the advice I give to all college bound juniors and seniors.

Information for this article was collected from www.act.org, a Web site dedicated to assisting and advising college-bound students.

Margene Walz is an Athletic and Academic Counselor for Quest College Counseling located in Los Alamitos.  For more information, call (562) 280-0460.


Opinion: High school seniors, prepare for your college future