It seems like society is putting more and more pressure on high school students to start thinking about college earlier and earlier.
In many ways, entertaining thoughts about what you want to do post-high school, the kind of school you think you might best fit in at and the kind of field you might like to pursue can be helpful and even motivating! But oftentimes, thinking too much about college too soon can be unnecessarily stressful and even distracting. As you start your sophomore year this fall, you’ve really only just begun your high school journey. High school can be challenging at times, but it’s an incredibly important time in your life that will help shape you into the kind of person you hope to become.
Not only will these four years help form you academically and socially, but they will help you better discover and understand who you are as a student, what kind of learner you are, what subjects challenge you the most, what classes truly inspire you, etc. While it may be too early to seriously start thinking about college, it isn’t too early to take action and prepare for post-high school life. Here are three ways you can do just that.
1. Take a risk and do something at your high school that you’ve never done before.
Take advantage of the various clubs, activities and organizations that your high school has — try something you’ve never done before! Even if poetry might not be your thing, consider participating in your school’s poetry club just to test it out. Not only will this help mold you as a person by encouraging you to take steps outside of your comfort zone, but colleges love well-rounded students. On another note, it’s important to really commit to your extracurriculars. College admission counselors love seeing students who have been involved in the same club, sport or organization for several years — it shows us what you’re truly passionate about!
2. Study for the PSAT.
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to study for the PSAT is to read. Reading books will help you build your vocabulary and further develop your ability to think critically. Choose a book that might be a bit of a challenge for you, and commit to reading a little bit each night. Keep in mind that the reading comprehension portion of the PSAT is about more than just being able to recognize and pronounce words — it’s about understanding what the words actually say. Spending some extra time reading this fall will help you become a faster, more analytical and more proficient reader.
3. Visit a college campus near you.
The campus visit is a must and plays a very important part of the college decision process — after all, you are choosing your home for the next four years! By visiting a school close to your home, you will not only gain a better understanding of what the college tour experience is like, but you’ll also get a feel for what it would be like to go to a school close to home. While you are on tour, imagine yourself as a student living in a dorm, eating in the dining halls and sitting in the classrooms at this university. Although it’s still early, could you see yourself thriving there one day?
Finally, it’s important that you don’t become overwhelmed thinking about college. Rather than wonder about where you’ll go to school and what you’ll study, take this period of time to learn more about who you are as not just a student, but a person. Push yourself to learn new things and experience new things — and don’t be afraid of failing! The high school experience is easy for some, and harder for others. No matter what your feelings are towards high school, keep in mind that it really does go by fast! Seize the opportunities your school offers, study hard, make time for fun and remind yourself from time to time what you’re striving for.