Creating a Four Year Plan

As college admissions get more competitive, gone are the days of a carefree high school experience. The moment you leave junior high school you have to know if college will be your goal. If so, at the age of 14 you better spend your summer transitioning from one institution to the next planning out the next four years of your life. That is so much pressure for someone so young, but it’s today’s reality.
What Do You Want?
Even at the young age of 14 it’s reasonable to expect that you can answer the question, “Do you want to go to college or not?” If you do, start planning how you will spend your time at high school. The reason this is necessary is because the classes you take as a freshman will allow you to advance to a certain level of classes as a senior. Before starting high school, it’s a good idea to understand that you need to take geometry as a freshman to qualify for calculus as a senior.
You will need to understand what the basic academic prerequisites of colleges are today. For the admission officer, is calculus a must? What about all four years of a language? How many AP classes do they want to see? Knowing the basic academic prerequisites will help guide your high school path. Having a clear plan in place will take a lot of pressure off of you. It might seems daunting to think “I have to do this and take that and achieve this.” However it is better to know ahead of time then to be caught unaware when you are a junior and thinking of applying for a college, only to realize that you are terribly behind already. That’s real stress.
Once you have a four year class plan mapped out in front of you, you then need to start planning on how you will stand out from the crowd of applicants. Just because you’re clever enough to know the basic academic prerequisites of colleges, doesn’t mean you are guaranteed entrance. The key word you need to notice is “basic.” You aren’t impressing the college admissions office by fulfilling the basics. As stated in the blog post “Creating Your College Brand” you need to figure out what your strengths are. Then you need to work hard at those strengths to turn them into a selling point for college. This might seem scary but it really isn’t. This is the fun side of high school. Are you a dog lover? Then find a local guide dog association and volunteer there after school, or ask the local vet if you can do an internship. College admission offices will love it.

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