Preparing for College: Your Freshman Year

 

Photo Credit: Edsortium.com

70% of High School graduates plan to attend college

Today, a record 20 million are expected to attend college this fall – that’s 70% of all high school graduates. This means that for students aspiring to attend elite colleges, competition is higher than ever. Ambitious high school students know how to prepare during their sophomore, junior, and senior years. Unfortunately, however, most seem to be completely in the dark on how to prepare during their freshman years.

The first year of high school is universally acknowledged as the easiest, but that doesn’t give you license to coast. Most high schools do not allow freshmen to take Advanced Placement, Accelerated, or Honors classes, so don’t worry if your GPA freshman year is unweighted. Instead, use your easy course load to keep your GPA up, and use the inevitable free time left over to participate in school activities like sports and extracurriculars.

Although colleges always look at a student’s GPA and SAT score first, extracurricular activities are important as well. Look into what your school’s strengths are and get involved with those activities in particular. For example, some schools have a strong Key Club (a club dedicated to community service), or Robotics Club. School involvement is a fundamental aspect on your college applications. Students are encouraged to start their own club in a subject that they are passionate about to demonstrate leadership skills and enhance their high school experience.

Freshman year is also an ideal year to complete the necessary community service hours in order to graduate. Make sure not to procrastinate on this – in order to go to college, you need to graduate first. Look into nonprofit organizations that reflect what you’re passionate about, or your future career goals. For example, if you’re interested in the medical profession, volunteer in a hospital (but those spots go fast, so apply as soon as possible). A good place to start is www.volunteermatch.org. Remember, this is important not only for college applications – if you plan on applying for a job or an internship later, you can put this volunteering job on your resumé.

If you’re thinking about preparing for the SAT 1 Reasoning Test freshman year, don’t. The test is designed for juniors and seniors. If you start prepping now, you’ll forget everything by the time the test actually does roll around. Don’t waste time and energy on preparing for the SAT freshman year, instead find what you’re passionate about and explore your extracurricular options.

Another looming fear when it comes to college is the rising costs of tuition. How can your family begin preparing now? Come to my next College Funding Workshop! I’ll provide steps you can take right now to start planning ahead.

Remember not to overburden yourself by worrying too much about college. You have three years to go, and if all you’re focused on is getting into college the entire time, you’ll not only regret it, but also stress yourself out.

This Money for College blog was written by Beatrice Schultz of Westface College Planning. For more Money for College tips, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinar.

Photo Credit: Edsortium.com


Does what you HAVE matter more than who you ARE?

Mother’s Day, 2012

For many years, Doug and I told our son that if he didn’t have a college degree and a successful career, hot chicks weren’t going to date him; basically we were telling him that an achievement mattered more than who he is. We researched pay grades and scoffed at his desire for a career in the military, wondering, How would he be able to afford to live on this measly salary?

We pushed him in directions he excelled, like athletics, sales or public relations, but none of those things interested him. Instead Trace went to an Automotive Trade School because he kind of liked working on cars. Once he got there, he discovered that kind of liking something didn’t mean he wanted to do it the rest of his life, so he enlisted in the Marines. He is currently in Boot Camp (Recruit Training), working harder than ever before, and looking at his future with a high level of excitement.

He will work it out, supporting himself on the salary he will earn, which will be yet another Life Lesson to make him into the responsible and mature young man he aims to be.

Am I HAPPY that this is the direction in which my precious, only child has gone????? Oh, HELL No!

Am I HAPPY that my son will live life well, doing what he has wanted to do since he was just three years old?

YUPPPP


The ‘Why’ of GiveTeens20.org

My son and his friends graduated from High School in June, 2011.

During the years before graduation, I‘d ask Trace’s friends about their post-high school plans. Not surprisingly, some had chosen a path and others were still waiting for that directional lightning bolt to hit.

 

 

I began volunteer teaching at the local High School in 2006, working with the students to analyze their:

  • Vocational Interests (what you do when nobody is telling you what to do) and their
  • Non-Negotiables (what you will not live with, and what you will not live without). (See ‘Self Awareness’ link at GiveTeens20.org)

Once a path (or 2 or 3) have been chosen, interview a person working in the career that you are interested in. Ask them:

  • What made you choose this career path?
  • How did you get here? (Education/Experience)
  • What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone who wants your job?

GiveTeens20® is a tool that will help determine directional options for your future AND provide filmed interviews for your research.

Take the time to assess yourself then pick some possible career fields. Click around the Interviews and see what it is going to take to operate within those fields.

Do not let anybody tell you that you won’t be able to do something that you have a desire to do.

You just have to go for it!