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PREPARING FOR COLLEGE 


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There is more to preparing for college than merely identifying the schools you are interested in attending. To give yourself the best possible chance of gaining admission to your school of choice, consider the ways in which you can make yourself a more attractive candidate to college admissions officials.



Maintain a strong GPA


Although it may seem obvious, it is crucial that you not only achieve, but maintain, a strong grade point average throughout high school. Some students suffer from a condition colloquially referred to as "senioritis" - a slip in grades during their senior year. While you will have a lot to think about, and even more to do, as a senior, it is imperative that you give your studies your full attention and keep your GPA as high as possible.

However, with the whirlwind of activity associated with senior year, it is very possible that you will get overwhelmed and your grades may suffer. If you are worried about your grades, or any other aspect of the college preparation process, don't suffer in silence. Reach out to your high school counselor and ask for suggestions about how you can improve your grades or overcome obstacles that are holding you back.

Engage in extracurricular activities


While it's important to focus on your studies during senior year, it's just as important to balance work with play. Whatever interests you, whether that be athletic pursuits or the debate team, extracurricular activities can actually make a college application more appealing to admissions officials. When choosing your extracurricular activities make sure you do not overburden yourself. Try to choose clubs that pertain to your future career goals, involve activities or topics you are passionate about, or offer you the opportunity to assume a leadership position.

Practice good housekeeping


During the college preparation process, you'll find yourself dealing with a number of applications and forms, so it's crucial to stay organized. Transcripts, letters of recommendation, awards and other paperwork are all essential to a strong college application, so be sure you know where these documents are at all times. The last thing you want is for your application to be delayed, or outright denied, simply because you couldn't find all of your supporting documentation.

Similarly, if the degree program or school that interests you requires the submission of a portfolio with your application, be sure to keep this organized and build it over time. Newspaper clippings, published work, programs from shows in which you've participated and other records of your accomplishments can all be valuable additions to a portfolio. Review your portfolio throughout the year and ask a teacher, counselor or mentor to advise you as to which pieces you should include or remove.

Stay calm


Even the most talented, organized and disciplined students can find the college preparation process overwhelming. During this stressful time, try to remain calm and don't worry yourself unnecessarily. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to your family, teachers, or counselors for advice and support. With planning, organization, and focus, you'll be well on your way toward your college degree in no time.


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