How to prepare for college in seven steps

By: Juan P. Torres Figueroa

Deciding what to do after high school graduation is a matter that deserves some good planning. Although it is an important decision to make, not every student prepares themselves the way they need to be. Here are some steps you can follow throughout your high school life in order to be ready when you have the chance to make that important decision.

The following steps are going to take time, at least two years, given the fact that you will have to consider things like your grades or college applications.

These steps are approved by high school counselors from two different schools from the center of Puerto Rico. So you will have the guidance of experts in this matter.

Also, students that are already in college and had the experience of preparing to enter college gave their help to show what and what it is not recommended to do when planning this event.

  1. Examine yourself

It is recommended that you should examine your life academically not after the eleventh grade. You should know in what area you think you are more productive and can give the most of you. Lissette Orengo, counselor in a high school in Ciales, this step is very important because it is the student long term future and it has to be well thought.

You do not necessarily have to have it all figure it out.  Knowing specifically what you want to do when you are older is not the priority now. Although it is crucial that you are aware and at least have an idea in what direction you are moving to.

Take some time to think what is, for example, your favorite class or an academic area in which you feel comfortable working, and an area you can visualize you working in the future.

2.  Work for good grades

Give the most of you in your school. This will be preparing you to create a responsible routine that will help you in the future. Working hard to get good grades will require you to study, and this also will help you clarify your mind about in what area you want to continue studying in the future.

Be sure to begin working responsibly, in a short term failing class would mean to repeat the whole year all over again. Or even worse, you would not be able to enter to college at all.

Sandra Miranda, a school counselor from Orocovis, said that students that do not develop good studying habits end up quitting school or studying in an institute. Not that studying in an institute is a bad thing, but the student has to make an effort to expect and work for higher things, Sandra said.

Most importantly, if you start studying and act responsibly in this matter you will learn new things that will help you grow as a person and as a professional.

Also, you will be preparing to take the College Board, a standardized test you will be taking as a requirement to enter college.

3. Prepare to take the College Board

This step is optional, and we leave it at the student discretion. If you think that the knowledge you had acquired in your school is not enough, or if you think you need to see how the system works, there are classes you can take to specifically prepare you to take the exam.

Melanie Sánchez, a student form industrial biotechnology, said that the classes and the tutoring helped her understand some mathematic terms in order to get a higher score the second time she took the College Board. She said it worked for her because that helped her enter to the department that she desired.

Even if you feel ready to take the exam, these classes will give you an advantage given the fact that you will be more familiarized with what will be presented in the exam.

4. Apply and take the College Board

It is mandatory to the universities of Puerto Rico that you take the College Board before you apply to their system. In this case, the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus considers your GPA combined with your College Board score. This will create a standard to evaluate the student, and according their score the student will enter, or not, to the area of interest.

Both counselors agreed that the student should take the College Board in eleventh grade. This will help the student in case the score was too low, to take it one or two times more in order to improve the chances of getting to college.

This exam is important also because part of it will be used as an evaluation to put you in the Spanish, English or math you need according to your score.

5. Do some research

After having the idea of what do you want to study, investigate what options of college you have that provide studies at your area of interest.

You should also consider the economical fact, like how much you will pay for college, food, or if you need to stay away from home.

You need to know also when is your limit to apply to college and to send the pertinent papers so they will then consider you to enter the institution.

6. Apply to college

After doing the research, you can now apply to the college you found of interest for you. You should consider again the deadlines stipulated by the institution so you won’t be paying more money by sending the papers out of date.

7. Maintain your grades up

It is crucial that you maintain a satisfactory development in school throughout the three, or four (in some schools), years of high school. This will determine whether you enter to the academic area you desire or not.

It does not matter if you already took the College Board and the university accepted you; you must keep working because the institution will still be evaluating your grades until you graduate.

These are seven general steps that are recommended to help you move to your professional life. According to the professionals, the student will need more preparation but students that have already gone through this say these are the most important steps.

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