If this fall marks the start of your senior year in high school, there are a few things you should do that will make your year—and the imminent college search—a little easier. Even if you aren't a twelfth grader yet, it's never too early to start prepping. (Your future self will be glad you did!)
1. Join a club. As you probably know, admissions teams love to see evidence of involvement, dedication, and your ability to balance schoolwork with other interests. Already committed to a group or club? Now is the time to go after that leadership role you've been vying for—president, team captain, whatever it may be.
2. Think about your references. You know you're going to need at least one letter of recommendation to submit with your applications. (We ask for one from a guidance counselor or academic advisor.) Rather than waiting until the last minute, consider which counselors, advisors, or teachers you think can attest to your skills as a student. Once you have one in mind, all you have to do is ask!
3. Research scholarships. There are hundreds of scholarship opportunities—and some you may have never even imagined! (Like the zombie-escape plan. Yup, there's a scholarship for that.) Browse sites like BigFuture by The College Board or Unigo to find scholarships that match your unique interests or qualities.
4. Plan campus visits. We've said it before, now is the perfect time to start planning your college visits. You'll see current students, professors, faculty, and staff to get a real picture of what life is like on campus. Plus, you'll have time to revisit the schools that make it to your short list later on.
5. Take standardized tests. If you haven't already, register for the SAT or ACT exams. Now is also the last time to retake tests if you weren't happy with your scores the first time around. Most admissions offices will accept the higher of the two, and will also appreciate your effort to achieve your best score possible. (To send us your results, use the Becker College CEEB code, 3079.)
6. Check on your academic progress. Make an appointment with your guidance counselor to be sure that you're on track to meet all of your high school's requirements before graduation. Take a look back at the courses you've taken (especially for AP credit), your schedule for senior year, and any room you might have to add an elective that fits your interests or potential major. While you're there, it doesn't hurt to get a counselor's opinion on a few schools that are realistic options for you.
7. Talk to your parents. While they can't make your final decision for you, your parents can weigh in on where they think you might excel. Discuss your interests, areas you might like to major in, whether you're looking in or out of state, and about financial aid. From there, you'll all be in a good place to move forward with the college search, together.
If you're ready, start your application to Becker!