How Your High School Can Help Prepare You for College

Being a high school student can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to making a decision on what college to attend. Not only are there a vast number of options to consider (community college? traditional college? a year off?), but there is also an endless amount of resources that can help you figure out what you want to do and where you want to go how do you know where to start?

But many students are overlooking a helpful tool that may be right in front of them: their own high school!

After all, high school is the bridge that leads students to college. Don't forget to take advantage of all of the opportunities and accommodations your high school may offer.

Here are five ways to utilize your high school when it comes to choosing a college:

1. Talk to a school counselor. While he or she may specialize in guidance areas like academic and social realms, a big part of the high school counselors job is helping students with finding a college and career advice. Remember: They're there for the students. Their job is to help!

2. Track where your high schools alumni have gone. There are many ways to figure out where previous students from your school have gone to college. You can ask your school counselor for class lists of past graduates and where they reported going to school.

3. Get in touch with recent graduates for an informational interview. Obviously Facebook is a good tool to use to find past graduates, as alumni commonly link to their high school in the education section of their profiles. Before you send the alumni a message, have a few questions prepared. Better yet, if you know any alumni personally---either from interaction in a class, sports team, or a club---remind them of the connection in a message before asking them what they think of their current college. Having that initial high school connection is a great way to get a conversation started, especially since most people like talking about their college experiences!

4. Find out what colleges/universities are coming to visit your school. Instead of going to visit the colleges, take advantage of when these schools come to YOU. Many high schools invite institutions to make presentations right on a high school campus. Get a list of upcoming visits (you can usually get this from a school counselor), and mark down which ones youd like to attend. Before the visits, you can study up on schools through websites like Noodle and College Prowler. Its always good to do your homework before these kinds of presentations (its also good to just do your homework in general!).

5. Attend college fairs offered by your high school. Many high schools will take their upperclassmen to local college fairs. These are great opportunities to interact with schools face to face rather than through e-connections. Even if the school youre interested in isnt at this particular fair (i.e., you want a California college and you live in Virginia), its always a good idea to explore your options and see what else is out there. Also, many college admissions processes are similar, so just getting an idea of what other schools are doing will help prepare you for your own admissions strategies.

About College Prowler: College Prowler is a leading online network that provides students and parents with scholarships, school reviews, and college admissions opportunities. For news on scholarships, contests, and college life, visit their blog Campus Chat.

About the author: Megan McLachlan is a content editor and social media writer for College Prowler. She graduated from Allegheny College with a degree in English (creative writing) in 2006.
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