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College Planning

College Planning Center
What is “Academic Preparation?”

What is “Academic Preparation?”

 “Preparation” generally refers to completing a substantial number of rigorous courses during high school. For example, to prepare for college you should complete at least Algebra II, and you should have experience in science courses with laboratory requirements. Academic preparation, however, is not limited to enrollment in classes. Rather, it points to the development of skill levels that will prepare you for college level work.

While it might not seem like it, the classes you take and activities you do in high school play a role in shaping you as both a member of society and as a college applicant. Even if you are planning on attending a community college or a less-selective state college, you will still need to successfully fulfill basic requirements to make your time in college successful and productive. If you want to gain admission to highly selective colleges or have a shot at winning scholarships, you will have to accomplish more than just meeting the basic requirements.


If you think that preparing for college starts when you're a Senior, you need to change your perceptions, planning for college officially starts on the first day of high school.


To prepare for college follow these steps: 


RIGHT GOLD ARROWCreate A Plan:  Have you ever heard the saying "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. " ? This saying definitely applies to preparing for college. The plan isn't just what classes you need and what grades you must earn, but also what extracurricular activities you will choose,  Just as important is to adjust your plan every year as you progress through high school to compensate for your changing interests, increased academic skills and any obstacles that you may encounter. 


RIGHT GOLD ARROWChoosing Your Classes:  You can't just take the basic graduation required classes to get into college, you must show colleges and universities that you deserve the opportunity to attend their school. You have to show them that you are willing to challenge yourself with increasingly difficult courses, that you go back and fix your mistakes if you have them. 


RIGHT GOLD ARROWHigh School and College Assessments:  Comparing high school programs is difficult for colleges. To give them a more uniform perspective on the students that apply for their programs, many require applicants to complete different types of assessments. While the UC and CSUs no longer require assessments, many private and out of state schools still do. These tests are not just useful for colleges, the scores can also be useful to you- they can tell you what academic skills are your strengths and which ones need to be improved. 


RIGHT GOLD ARROWCollege Research:   There are thousands of colleges, and you will have to choose a select few to send your applications, Your choices will be some of the most important that you ever make. You should make those choices with the most information available. 


RIGHT GOLD ARROWApplying for College: If you've been following your plan, by the time your are a senior, you probably have several colleges where you want to apply. The California State University system and the University of California system each have their own application process. Out of State schools and private schools may have their own unique application procedures. 


RIGHT GOLD ARROWPaying for College: The reason this is the last step, is that your options for paying for college depends on how well you've followed your plan and prepared for college. The better you've prepared, the more opportunities for scholarships may be available.