With colleges only getting more competitive, it’s becoming essential for high schoolers to have a strong—and early—start to building their application strategy.
Christopher Rim, CEO of Command Education and contributor at Forbes, recently explained how students should spend their high school years and how parents can best support their children throughout their high school journey with college aspirations in mind.
EXPLORE YOUR INTERESTS
High school should be fun—no matter how set you are on attending college. Rim says that students should take the time to explore their interests and develop passions throughout high school.
“Freshman year in particular should be all about learning what students truly enjoy,” Rim says. “Amidst thousands of qualified applicants, colleges and universities are looking for students with a clear sense of purpose, a guiding passion, and hands-on experiences which demonstrate their interests and serve their communities. In order to become such applicants, students must discover what genuinely inspires and excites them both in and outside of the classroom.”
Rim encourages students to take part in clubs and student organizations with the intent of having fun. Enjoying yourself, Rim says, is important but understanding why you enjoy something is critical.
“What excites you about this club/activity/topic?” Rim says. “What types of things do you do as a part of that club/organization and which do you enjoy most? What ideas do you have to make the club/organization better? Do you think you could become a leader in that group? These types of questions can help a student discover the underlying passions and personality traits that cause them to gravitate to the things they enjoy and can guide them in choosing other involvements more intentionally throughout their high school careers.”
BE CURIOUS IN CLASS
Within the classroom, students should have an innate curiosity and seek to explore subjects that they find most engaging.
“Students can ask teachers and fellow students about the advanced courses they might be well suited for and enroll in those for their sophomore year,” Rim says. “Students may also talk with their teachers about attending pre-college programs the summer after freshman year to deepen their understanding of the topic of interest outside of the classroom.”
High school can also offer an opportunity to make lifelong friends. Rim encourages students to not shy away from forming relationships with people—whether students, teachers, coaches, or counselors.
“Earnestly pursuing these relationships and getting to know their peers and academic support system will allow them to establish a solid foundation for their entire high school career,” Rim says. “Befriending upperclassmen can expose younger students to unique perspectives, and shape the ways they pursue their interests and select advanced courses. Furthermore, these friendships can offer a glimpse of what younger students can expect from the college application process in the coming years.”
Sources: Forbes, Inside Higher Ed
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