College Preparation Checklist


That’s what many students will feel if they don’t properly prepare for what could be the best years of their life — college.

Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed and unprepared!

Before you make your way to a university, make sure you’ve done everything you need to to get you there.

Here are some items you’ll want to add to your college preparation checklist if you haven’t done so already.

  • Stay on top of your grades

Students will want to keep their grades up in high school. It may not be fun to be locked up in your room writing that research paper at 11 p.m., but the outcome of your hard work will surely pay off. High school may seem hard to some students at the time, but in reality, college is harder.

Soon you’ll be missing those days of worksheets and handouts where you could easily accumulate points toward your grade. Many college classes only consist of a midterm and a final — and that’s it. Thinking seriously about your grades will definitely pay off.

While it may seem like a no-brainer that getting good grades will help you get into college, take it seriously. Study hard in high school and boost your grade point average as much as possible!

  • Get involved 

By getting involved, I mean volunteering and doing extracurricular activities.

Colleges like to see that students are taking the time to reach out to their community whether it be by helping out at their local elderly home or tutoring at school. Community service hours are essential! Start getting hours as soon as possible.

High school students should also be involved in extracurricular activities such as sports. Along with community service hours, colleges like to see that students have interests extending farther than just academics. So whether you enjoy playing soccer, basketball, karate or cheerleading, get involved!

  • Prepare for standardized tests

If there’s anything I would change about the way I went about preparing for college, I wish I would have spent more time studying for standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT.

I even took the PSAT a couple of times before taking the SAT and took the SAT twice in hopes of getting a better score the second time around. My advice for students preparing to take standardized tests: Start studying early!

The material on the SAT or ACT is often different than your usual classroom work, so be sure to brush up on the certain things you’ll be tested on on either of these tests.

  • Meet with your school counselor 

Meeting with your high school counselor is very important. Your counselor will be able to let you know if you’re on track to graduate high school and can discuss your future college career with you. If you’re the first in your family to attend college, you’ll probably have a lot of questions. Your counselor will likely be able to answer any and all of the questions you have.

  • Visit colleges

Maybe you’ve dreamed about going to a certain college for years. But what happens when you visit said college and you just don’t feel at home?

Visiting colleges in high school is crucial in the decision-making process.

Maybe you don’t know where you want to go to college. Visiting college campuses will help narrow down your selection. Going to a college’s campus will give you an idea of what it would be like if you attended the school. Whether you prefer to stroll around campus and the college town or take a tour of the campus (or both!), visit as many college campuses that you’re considering applying to as possible.

  • Finances

How you will pay for college is one of the most important things to consider when preparing for college. Discuss this with your parents and make sure your finances are set before college. Financial aid is also available for students. Make sure you fill out the FAFSA on time if you’re hoping to receive financial aid.

  • Be aware of application deadlines and apply

Once you’ve narrowed down what colleges you want to apply to, check the application deadlines for each of these colleges. There are also different deadlines depending on if you decide to apply through Early Action, Early Decision, Regular Admission, etc. Don’t risk missing your college application deadline(s)!

  • Start packing

When it comes to packing for college, I recommend making a list so you don’t forget anything. It’s also a good idea to find out what your dorm room will come furnished with so you know what you don’t need.

Preparing for college can be stressful, but when done effectively, it will surely pay off. Your time at college will be some of the best years of your life — if not the best years of your life. Start preparing early!

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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