The First Most Important Four Years of Your Life: Making High School Count for College

How to Make the Most of Your High School Education

The First Most Important Four Years of Your Life: Making High School Count for College

High school gives you four amazing years to explore your interests and grow intellectually in preparation for college and a future career. The talents and skills you develop in this time could lead you to your lifelong profession. Prepare for your dream college and future job with a high school career of rigorous academics, test preparation and meaningful activities.

Build Good Character- Online and Off

Social media is part of life and most high schoolers use it regularly. But if you let your guard down and show the whole world your private or silly self too often, you may be taken for something you're not.

By all means, you should promote good causes and show your interests online. However, recognize it's becoming standard for college admissions offers to evaluate applicants' social media profiles along with their personal essays. When you socialize and produce your own channel or blog online, keep the language and content clean.

Build Your High School Team.

Some critical people help you maximize your opportunities during and after high school.

Parents are your first resource for advice and support on grades, extracurricular activities and college aspirations.

Your Guidance Counselor helps you look for scholarships, build a strong transcript of college prep classes and keep up with college applications.

Your Principal is a strong resource for opportunities throughout the school and community plus recommendation to leadership positions if you want them.

Your Test Prep Center Director can personalize your tutoring for the SAT, ACT or both through section progress measurements and tailored improvement strategies.

College Admissions Officers at your choice colleges can answer your questions, help you arrange campus tours and guide your application process.

Maintain a Competitive High School Resume.

Hopefully your primary education ignited interests in all academic subjects, because you will need them. Unfortunately, college entrance exams and common core curricula do not allow you to cherry pick what you can do well. In freshman year, start building well-rounded knowledge you need.

Fill your high school transcript with advanced classes in:

-Language Arts (Literature, Writing, Reading Comprehension)

-Math (Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus)

-Sciences (Biology, Ecology, Chemistry, Physics)

-Social Studies (World History, American History, Geography, Economics)

High school is the time to identify strengths and bolster weaknesses. By the time you are in college, you could be too far behind to catch up. So take notice of subjects that don't come naturally for you, then get help from your guidance counselor or a tutoring center.

When you do, you increase your chances for high college entrance exam scores. Selective colleges and scholarships maintain high minimum scores for these tests. Despite criticism and changes on what makes a good student, a high SAT score remains the best way to impress colleges.

High School is More Than Grades.

Team sports, after school clubs and community groups help you unwind from academics. They also build confidence and grow your abilities to connect with people from all backgrounds. They also create time management skills, a major step to independence.

It can be daunting to choose the right activities in high school. Your time is limited and you don't want to get burnt out. Plus, a huge list of activities will not impress admissions officers without intense focus on any one.

Instead, guidance counselors at top high schools and admissions officers at selective colleges advise career-exploring activities and leadership positions to increase college acceptances.

In other words, have authentic interests and do your best in those. Do not spread yourself too thin.

These fundamental guidelines ensure you will be ready when the time comes for college, the next most important four years of your life. Believe in your strong foundation of good character and academics for future success.

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Read next: The Unconventional College Life
Finnegan Pierson
See all posts by Finnegan Pierson