5 Ways High Schoolers Can Prepare For College Applications

Most schools across the United States have closed their doors for the past few weeks. Despite the school closures, students should still be spending their time productively. Here are five ways high school students can prepare for college applications right now. 

1. Create A College List

It’s not too early to start building a college list. Organize the school name, average stats of the applicants (SAT/ACT scores, GPA, average acceptance rates, etc.) in an Excel spreadsheet, and compare it to your own statistics. 

Build a strategic college list to give yourself the best chance of getting into a university. 

2. Begin The Common Application Prompts

For juniors, you can get started on the Common Application now, as the prompts for the 2020-2021 cycle have already been announced. Writing your 650-word personal statement takes weeks, if not months, as you need to brainstorm a topic that gives a unique insight into your life and experiences. 

Join the free online course How To Write A Winning Personal Statement, which reveals multiple advanced strategies for crafting the perfect personal statement. The classes cover real-world examples of essays, brainstorming techniques, and common mistakes to avoid. 

3. Prepare Your Resume 

When you fill out the Common Application, you only have 150 characters to describe each of your activities, which often isn’t enough space to describe it sufficiently. You can supplement this section by submitting a resume with your applications. 

When describing your activities and accomplishments, use action words and quantify when possible. By doing so, it gives context to your successes and helps the admission officers understand your activities a little better. 

4. Apply To Scholarships

High school students of all grades can start looking for scholarships now. By applying to three or four a week, you can start banking money to pay for college. 

Start by looking for local scholarships. Check your school’s website, local nonprofits or businesses to see what scholarships you might qualify for. Don’t skip the scholarships that require you to write essays! Other students might avoid these, which means it might be easier for you to win.

When searching for scholarships, be wary of websites that require you to pay a fee. These types of sites are likely spams. 

5. Sign Up For A MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) 

Even if your school is providing digital learning, you might want to consider signing up for an online class on a platform like Coursera or edX. Both sites have thousands of courses available, taught by professors from top universities and companies like Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, Google, and IBM.

By taking a MOOC, you can learn more about a topic you are passionate about or discover a new interest. 

Students shouldn’t waste their additional time at home. Take advantage of these opportunities to get ahead on college applications and continue to build your academic profile.