by Tim Hoffman, HCA College Counselor
For high school seniors, spring is often the time to start making your final decision about what college you will attend. So, what should freshman, sophomores, and juniors do in the spring regarding college? Here are a few steps to start working on:
- Of course, keeping your grades up is important. Most colleges will evaluate a student’s chance of being admitted mainly using the 9th, 10th, and 11th grade years. Your GPA will be important for being accepted as well as for consideration for scholarships.
- It won’t be long until you start deciding what classes to take next year. Challenging yourself with advanced classes can help you in your college preparation. If you feel that you are up for the challenge, consider taking AP or college credit classes.
- What do you want to major in at college and what do you want to do professionally after you graduate from college? Why not start exploring that now? Consider volunteering at businesses or organizations that may be of interest professionally. Do some job shadowing and community service. This will not only be a benefit to you as you begin the process of picking a college major, but it may even help in getting accepted to college, getting scholarships, and helping the community.
- For both students and parents, the thought of paying for college can be scary. How can you afford it? College is an investment and now is a great time to look for that summer job and start saving for college. Parents can consider talking with a financial advisor and looking into college saving plans like the College Invest 529 plan or an Education Savings Account (ESA).
- Visiting college campuses is a great way to narrow down where you may want to attend. If you have some vacation time available, the summer is a good time to visit schools. Contact the admissions office and inquire about visits. Many schools even have Spring Preview days that will give you a chance to stay on campus overnight in April or early May.
- If it is too hard to visit a campus now, consider attending a Spring College Fair. The University of Denver (DU) will host one Sunday, April 6th from 1-3:30pm and there will be around 150 colleges attending. It is a good time to talk with representatives and hear more about different schools and programs. Here is a link for more information: http://www.rmacac.org/index.php/page/denvercollegefa
As you can see, there are a number of steps to take now that can help you prepare for college and hopefully make the final steps easier. Keep in mind it is a process and it can be overwhelming, but I also hope it is a fun process. You can contact me if you have questions or need some help with this exciting time at: firstname.lastname@example.org.