Preparing For Higher Education: 4 Things Every High School Student Should Know

Although graduation is typically thought of as a time to celebrate the culmination of your basic schooling, many high school students dread it because of confusion about the future. If you are planning to move forward with your education, it is important to have a plan of action as to how you can achieve any goals you may have set. Listed below are four things that every high school student should know if they want to pursue a degree in higher education. 

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Your Guidance Counselor is Your Advocate 

Any career services, or guidance counselors that your school has in place are put there for a reason! These services are set up to inspire, motivate, and guide you through your next steps in life. Students can go to guidance counselors for advice on which courses to take to best prepare them for the type of university they want to go to after. They can also ask guidance counselors for school recommendations that may best fit their financial and lifestyle needs. Career services are also a great way to get your foot in the door to work experience even before leaving high school. These services will also give you assistance in creating your resume as well as a professional looking cover letter. 

Know College Requirements and Expectations for Admission

Every school has certain requirements and expectations in terms of grades, test scores, resume experience, and more. Before taking any test like the SATs, ACTs, or any other standardized test, it is important to note which ones your desired school will actually look at. Some schools only look at SAT scores, while some schools may look at a variety. There is also a certain test score that those applying may need to meet. Depending on the school, this school may be flexible, so it is always important to inquire if your scores do not meet what is listed from the school. 

Most schools will have this easily accessible on their website throughout the year. For example, Utah State University requirements are listed on their website to instruct prospective students are different courses, financial aid options, and other things they need to have before applying to their school. 

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Build Relationships to Gain References 

Throughout high school, it is important to genuinely build rapport with different teachers. Down the road, students have to ask two to four teachers to write recommendation letters for college applications. This process is easier if the teacher knows the student very well. The more detailed and enthusiastic the letter is, the better it will look to prospective colleges. Students should make sure they are always well behaved in every class, as well as always putting the most effort they can into their work. 

Recommendation letters can also be given by past coaches, mentors, and work supervisors. These letters may also speak to your day to day work ethic as well as your character and how you deal with those around you. These are also just as effective as letters from your academic teachers. Before you begin your application process, make a list of five to ten people who might be willing to write you a letter. Always give these people enough time in advance to write you a sufficient letter. 

Research Different Options for Financial Aid

It is important to be proactive when looking into different options for financial aid. Most students will need some type of financial assistance, and knowing which option is best for you, at an early stage, will increase your chance of saving the most money. There are different options for college students such as loans, scholarships, grants from outside sources, financial aid from the government, etc. 

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It’s easy to assume college is so far out in the future that planning for it may prove pointless until Senior year. The earlier you begin writing down plans for your next step in education, the more successful you will be in the coming years. It is never too early to begin creating meaningful relationships with your teachers and educators. 

Article written by Meghan Belnap.

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