Coyote Chronicle

Preparing For College During All Four Years Of High School

Juniors+Sebastian+Vargas+and+Neileen+Acosta+speak+with+a+rep+from+Ana+G+Mendez+University+about+their+application+process.
Juniors Sebastian Vargas and Neileen Acosta speak with a rep from Ana G Mendez University about their application process.

Juniors Sebastian Vargas and Neileen Acosta speak with a rep from Ana G Mendez University about their application process.

Juniors Sebastian Vargas and Neileen Acosta speak with a rep from Ana G Mendez University about their application process.

Lora Cholakova, writer

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Getting accepted to some colleges can be quite competitive. High school students should take every opportunity to make themselves stand out from the crowd. The high school years can be a busy time, and it’s easy to lose track of the many steps involved in the college search and application process. Whether you are just starting high school or you are already a senior, college planning should be on your to-do list. Planning for college early can help ensure students are ready for graduation day.

Freshmen: You are just beginning high school. You might think you are very far away from college, but you really aren’t.

“I believe we should push ourselves to take the hard classes this year, instead of waiting until our junior or senior year.” says freshman Brianna Sotos.

This is the year where you need to begin the search for what you want to do and how you are going to prepare and to draw out your own plan for success.

“I have already started from this year to look into colleges in New York for a doctorates degree, focusing myself more on science and research classes.” says Brianna.

Sophomores: If you have already chosen what you are going to study, now is the time to start thinking about what you do outside of school. All colleges love to see that you have been very active in volunteering or doing extracurricular activities and you might not even realize how easy it is.

“Last year I volunteered at multicultural night.” Says sophomore Louhanne Benigno. “It was very fun and I gained 3 hours of community service. I would definitely do it again”.

For Bright Future Scholarships you need 100 volunteer hours. There are many more scholarships you can get with the type of volunteer work you do or the sport you play. It’s always best to look into scholarships and activities as early as possible.

Juniors: Your junior year is probably the hardest year of high school. You will have a lot on your plate, including preparations for the SAT’s and ACT’s. You should begin as soon as you are ready to score your highest.

“This is going to be my biggest challenge of this year” says junior Karla Matta.

Research into what scores you need to get into the college you choose. For example, to receive the most of the Bright Futures Scholarship, you will need a 1290 on your SAT and 29 on your ACT. Those scores may seem impossible for you right now, however you can begin studying as early as possible.

“I have been preparing for the tests using Khan Academy.” Says Karla. “It’s a great tool because it personalizes the areas you need to study harder on.”

You should probably begin thinking about how you’re going to pay for college in your junior year as well. Financial aid is a huge help towards most families. It’s never too early to start seeing in what ways you qualify for different types of aid.

“Right now I am researching financial aid opportunities that my family can qualify for and scholarships that I can apply for either this or next year,” says Karla.

Seniors: Most students spend the start of senior year visiting campuses, narrowing down their list and then applying to college. When that is out of the way, teens are tempted to take their foot off the gas and coast through their final semester, however you should resist the urge. There is a lot to do your senior year.

“So far I have applied for my top five preferred colleges, applied for scholarships and I made sure I have the required SAT scores for the Bright Futures scholarship,” reveals senior Kayla Montan.

The application process is long and most contain a lot of questions. It’s recommended to be filled out with parent or guardian.

“The most demanding section is either to prove Florida residency, or to fill out information for your senior year. Otherwise, it is all basic questions.” says Montan

As a senior you are most likely going to be looking into the FAFSA as well. This is a website that will help you apply for federal student aid, such as federal grants, work-study, and loans. It is also very lengthy and takes a long time but it will be very helpful on receiving grants or getting approved for student loans.

“Since the beginning of this school year, I have started to contribute more to my college saving account to insure I will have the funds I need,” says Kayla. “I have filled out my FAFSA to check to see if I qualify for any grants.”

“No matter what grade you are in, when you get to high school you need to look into college, step by step.” Stresses Kayla. “The biggest advice I give is to not let negativity ever consume you. Lower the stress as much as you can. Worry about your own future only. Plans for tomorrow start from today”.

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Preparing For College During All Four Years Of High School