If I have exactly a year to prepare what all should I do?

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Karen Berlin Ishii, One-to-One Test Prep for the ACT and SAT in New York and via Skype

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As other experts have noted, the first thing you need to do is clarify your question: Do you mean prepare to go to college or prepare to apply to college? Since you asked specifically about Harvard University, I'm guessing that Harvard is your dream school and you want to try to boost your chances of admission as much as possible. If that is your question, the answer is study as assiduously as you can all year, earning the best grades in the most advanced courses you can enroll in. Pursue extracurricular activities of a high level that show your creativity, motivation, ingenuity, community spirit, leadership or all of the above.

But you know, thousands of students dream of Harvard every year and only a miniscule fraction of them are admitted. Unless you have truly extraordinary qualities that are evident on a college application, why not look further and more in depth at other colleges and universities where you probably are a better fit and will be more likely to offer you admission? Check out the College Board's Big Future resource or The Princeton Review's college organizer for ideas. You can input your interests and scores and see what schools show up. Then visit those schools' websites and learn more about them, maybe visiting some or attending a college fair and talking to the school reps. College fit is not just about choosing the most famous college.

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get involved in your school or community, in any activity that is close to your heart or that makes you happy. In this activity, it's great if you can go beyond simply participating but also help the group in some way that "makes an impact:" where you motivate others, where you fundraise needed money, where you play a role in a theatre production, or where you tutor younger kids and help them make better grades

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there are a lot of activities to do within a year. the first thing is to find out what is your interest.? or you can go for a cochin day tour to relax your mind.

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There are numerous sorts of understudies who might flourish at Harvard. At the social level, numerous understudies who enter Harvard are a piece of a legacy, Pay For Assignment - Buyassignmentservice.com thus they do well in that old-young men club social vibe. Understudies who will buckle down and need to utilize their training to upgrade society ought to go to Harvard.

Amy Yvette Garrou, College admissions expert (US and international colleges)

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I'm assuming you mean a year from when you would enter Harvard (or any other college or university) which in most cases would be late August.

First of all, I don't know anything about your background. I don't know whether you've every taken an SAT or ACT before, or whether your first language is English, or what kinds of high-school courses you've had access to. I don't know what your grades have been up to now (I'm assuming you're in junior year). Without knowing those things, it's difficult to know exactly how to answer your question.

Secondly, the idea that if you simply "prepare," you'll get in (to Harvard or to any university with less than about a 70% acceptance rate) is not a given. For Harvard specifically, whose acceptance rate overall is between 5 and 6 percent, NO ONE can assume that she will be accepted. The best she can do is be a competitive applicant among the other 35,000 or more students who apply to Harvard College for their bachelor's degree.

That said, to be competitive, you'd need to be taking your school's most demanding courses in every "solid" academic subject (a first language, which is usually English; a second language; mathematics; science; and social sciences/history). You'd need to have taken a class in each of these subjects from 9th through 12th grades.

Whatever classes you're in now, do well during the rest of the year. Do REALLY well. Make mostly A's. Make all As if you can. Next fall, take the more or most demanding level of that class and be sure you can still make an A or B.

For Harvard specifically, you'd need to take either an SAT or an ACT and two SAT Subject tests. (You could take a third subject test if there's a third that you know really well). If your first language is not English, you should take a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam, or another exam called the IELTS if the college accepts it. This is necessary to further prove your English proficiency, since you will be studying completely in English.

In addition, get involved in your school or community, in any activity that is close to your heart or that makes you happy. In this activity, it's great if you can go beyond simply participating but also help the group in some way that "makes an impact:" where you motivate others, where you fundraise needed money, where you play a role in a theatre production, or where you tutor younger kids and help them make better grades: these are only a few examples.

As the other commenter mentioned, document all these extra things that you do: make a resume.

Talk to your high-school counselor IMMEDIATELY to help you plan how to do all these things at your specific school.

AND, it's important to talk to your counselor because she or he can help you develop a list of colleges where your academic and personal background fits the typical student there, and can talk to you about possible financial-aid needs. In short, your counselor knows where students from your school have been accepted in the past, and can give you an idea of how your qualifications fit into that pattern.

So the take-away here is:

  1. Find out what the admission requirements are, at Harvard or any other college;
  2. Talk to your counselor about how to attempt to meet these requirements for Harvard or any other colleges
  3. Follow these steps (make great grades, prepare for necessary exams and take them this spring or next fall before January)
  4. Think about what's important to you in a college: small discussion classes? being in a competitive or a more collaborative student atmosphere? being among students similar to, or different from, yourself? does your college offer what you want to study?

I hope this is helpful. Think wider than just Harvard--this is true for every student, not just you--and come up with a list of 10 - 15 carefully selected schools which include some with higher acceptance rates (over 50 percent). Talk to your counselor and get personal advice based on your credentials.

Dr. Aaron Smith, Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Currently Program Director at Aviation Academy, Co-Author of Awakening Your STEM School

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There are many things that you can do to prepare for Harvard much less any other college or university. First look up the requirements and admission criteria. Be sure to identify the deadline and apply well before then.

After doing so, you should probably apply for Financial Aid. However, I would still try to acquire as many scholarships as possible.

During this time, be sure to sign up for any SAT as that will be a key requirement to the college. While doing so, I would begin to create a resume and cover letter so that it is prepared for any jobs that may be of interest to you.

I would also suggest that you meet with your school guidance counselor to verify you have met all of the high school diploma requirements and inform them of your decisions to apply.

Good luck!

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