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How to prepare for a college atractive highschool career.

  1. Jul 20, 2010 #1
    Hello everyone. I need some help. I'm a about to start 9th grade and I want to graduate with 4 years of grades that will atract all of the best colleges. I read somewhere that taking all the AP classes I can, will help. Next year I'm going to take honors English. But I wonder what else can I do. But one thing that sets me behind is I never realy learned my "Times table" so I can do advanced math and science but not simple math. Thank you in advanced.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 20, 2010 #2
    Hi. First off, I would like to compliment you on starting to consider what you'll need to apply to colleges. One thing I regret from high school was not worrying about what I was going to put on my college applications until my junior year. Now let's get down to business.

    To start off, I'd say you need to have good basics down. Yes, take as many AP classes as you can, and try to make as high grades as possible. Get to the top of your class. Grades and coursework are the base of your application. However, when dealing with the top colleges, it's not going to be near enough.

    You HAVE TO get involved in extracurriculars. Try to get yourself involved in as many competitions and clubs as possible. If there's a club you're interested in at your school, join it and work your way up to an office.The types of competitions you'll be able to compete in will depend on where you go to school (don't post it online, I recommend asking some of your teachers at school when you get there). Some of the competitions I know of that are offered all over the US are: Science Fair, Science Bowl, Science Olympiad, AMC (math test, your math teacher should know about this), Chemistry Olympiad, Physics Olympiad, Biology Olympiad, Siemens and I'm sure there's many I'm missing out on. I mainly list just science and math because that's what I did in high school, but there are competitions in every single aspect of school that you can partake in. Just ask around and try to do some research on what your school is involved in. A lot of the time, even if your school isn't doing one of them, you can start it up. I would highly recommend doing Science Fair. Colleges seem to like people who do well in it.

    Community service and getting involved in sport also are going to show colleges well roundedness, which is vital. I think both of them are pretty self explanatory, just ask around at school for opportunities.

    Those are the main things that will get you prepared for college applications. Also something you might want to start on is getting contacts for college recommendations. Get to know your teachers. Having a good relationship with your teachers, and also letting them know your intelligence will help a lot in the recommendation. It's never too early to start thinking about that.

    And as for your math, just learn you times tables. It shouldn't be too hard, just sit down and memorize up to at least 12's. You're going to want to take as hard math classes as possible. Math shows problem solving skills, and is going to look good to colleges.

    Sorry if I rambled a bit, it's getting late...
  4. Jul 20, 2010 #3
    If you can dual enroll with your local community college. idk if all highschools have this option, but that way you can actually have your general college classes done before you even graduate highschool.
  5. Jul 20, 2010 #4
    Great start! I didn't even think about it until I was half finished with senior year. Killed myself writing applications the day before they were due. But I got in a good number of places, and got a nice scholarship for a few of them.

    This puts you well ahead of me.

    1. Do as well as you can in your classes, and when it's time, do awesome on the SAT's or ACT's, or whatever standardized tests you need. AP classes do look very nice, and are quite worthwhile if you do well on the exam.

    2. Do practical extracurricular activities. Like gigabyte said, try to place in competitions in math and sciences. Volunteer for some cause. Join a club or two. Colleges like volunteer work as well as actual work experience. Just show that you're willing to get involved in stuff, and be able to write about how it has enriched you as an individual.

    3. Have goals. Have a strong plan, but keep it flexible enough. Don't have your entire career planned out exactly, but know generally what you want to study. If you change your mind entirely, fine. Just be sure you can commit yourself, and showcase that in your application essays and what you do in your free time.

    4. Don't stress about it. Have fun. The biggest lesson I learned over the past few years is not to worry about everything. It's easy to get consumed in making your applications perfect, or to be so worried you procrastinate. Just relax, and do whatever you can do, within reason.

    As for knowing the times tables, don't worry about it. Some people like flash cards, but I just did the math in my head until it started to stick, and I memorized it like that. Find something that works for you.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  6. Jul 20, 2010 #5
    Thank you that was very helpful. I have no clue where to start my college search. Everyone at he is telling me chill and do what's infront of me, but I atleast want to do a light research. Will NHS help. And I was wondering how to get in the early college program. Two of my family members I know are in it but I never asked. Btw Thank you so far. And sorry for spelling mistakes, it's late.
  7. Jul 20, 2010 #6
    I think they're right in focusing on the now. Still, I know what you mean by wanting to look ahead and get focused early. You said you're a freshman - did you do any sort of accelerated program in middle school/junior high? If not, then you probably need to take at least your basic science and math classes before you can really do anything with it. And what do you want to study in college? Biology, I assume? If so, take biology. Ask your biology teacher about AP Biology, and how early you can sign up (probably Junior year).

    Get to know your teachers, and ask them for advice. Your high school probably has a free guidance counselor you can talk to about college prep. He/she can probably also tell you about taking classes for credit at a community college if you really want to get ahead. Talk to family, friends, as many people as you can. The internet is your best friend - google for summer programs for high school students in your area of study - some colleges offer the opportunity for high school students to do basic research over the summer, but you should probably have at least a basic science class done.

    There's a lot you can do. Google is your friend, along with your teachers and perhaps guidance counselor. Ask questions. That's what they're there for.

    EDIT: You know what? Just google "college application prep advice" or something like that. Search the forums too.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  8. Jul 20, 2010 #7
    No i did nt take any academic exceling program except for skipping 7th after repeating 6th but I did study over seas most of my life. And actualy I wana tripple major I wana do marine bio, chimistry, and physics, but phycology is always an option I'm not clear anymore.
  9. Jul 20, 2010 #8
    Then relax until you know what to do. Take the general advice. A triple science major without much overlap like this is pretty much impossible in a typical four year program. Take some classes in the subjects before you decide. You're getting way ahead of yourself here.

    One more tip is to make sure you have perfect spelling and grammar. People will take you much more seriously, even on anonymous internet forums.
  10. Jul 20, 2010 #9
    Ok thank you. On that note I'm out. It's too late. Once again Thank you for your advice I will use it wisely and share it with others.
  11. Jul 21, 2010 #10
    I'd say, and I don't mean this in a bad way, that you probably won't end up majoring in what you'll think you want to major in today. It's not bad, it just means that as you get exposed to more science, you'll find that you like certain things more than others. And as for your triple major thing, I'd say it'd be overkill. You shouldn't major in a bunch of things for the sake of majoring in a bunch of things. I'm double majoring in physics and math, not cause I want to double major, but because they go hand in hand and there is a lot of overlap between the classes you have to take for them. Same with astronomy and physics. I actually know a triple major in physics math and computer science. He's probably going to stay in college for 5 years (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), but he's doing it because he's interested in all of them and they would all give him useful skills in physics. But again, there's no need to major in a bunch of stuff just to like cool. And if you're genuinely interested in all of them, I think you'll find that maybe you'll like bio a little more than physics, or vice versa and then you can just major in one of them, and then take a few classes in the other just for fun. I think you'll find that the subjects you think you're interested in are vastly different than a lot of people think they are. It's not a bad thing. I think physics is much more interesting than I thought it was 4 years ago. But just keep in mind that things are probably going to change.

    As for college search, yeah don't worry about it. Knowing which colleges you are going to apply to is not going to help you at all. Basically, what you need to do is to do your best in every aspect which chickenwing and I suggested. Actually, knowing a "dream college" will probably end up just adding more stress on you and hurt you in the long run.

    I also highly suggest doing summer programs. Colleges like to see that you're not just being lazy over the summer. Try to do something you're interested in though. I did a summer program once that I wasn't interested in and it was the most boring 2 months I had ever had.

    I would say that, if you can handle it, you might want to try accelerating yourself a bit. Most people applying to the "best" colleges have completed at the very least AP Calculus AB, and a good portion Calculus BC. They've also usually taken all the AP versions of the usual required social sciences (World History, US History, two English, Government, Economics, etc...). I'd say you should try to get most of the AP sciences out of the way (Biology, Chemistry, Physics B, Physics C: Mechanics, Physics C:Electricity and Magnetism). You'll definitely need to ask your counselor about AP classes and try to "map out" your schedule for the next 4 years. If you can't take some of these due to not being in an accelerated math program, then try to skip a math or something. There is a credit by examination program at my high school, as well as correspondence courses with a college. But again, only if you can handle it. Don't do it just because you think you need to. Failing classes is going to look worse than not having a few of these AP tests. But also, don't be afraid to challenge yourself.
  12. Jul 21, 2010 #11
    I would recomend you do wrestling as a extracarricular activity. Honestly the ability to psuh yourself when you're physically tired and keep on going again and again is harder than just studying math or doing essays. It really tests your mental strength and ability. I actually respect alot of athletes for what they do. IF YOU CAN GET THROUGH A WRESTLING WORKOUT, YOU CAN EASILY PASS THROUGH ALL COURSES. Wrestling is REALLY HARD. It takes tons of repetition and alot more repetition than mathematics. Math is harder later on though. The ability to creatively think is amazing. Of course, since this is a physics or more academic forum, I KNOW FOR A FACT PEOPLE WILL TAKE THIS OPINION WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  13. Jul 21, 2010 #12
    Not necessarily true; grueling workouts are fun IMO, math didn't get fun for me until I was older but I would still rank it as harder than doing something like wrestling (I practice karate/judo and weightlifting), sports are easy compared to academics but that's just my experience and opinion.
  14. Jul 21, 2010 #13
    Don't get me wrong, it really is fun. But the competition aspect of it is vicious. And to be honest, i guess it really is dependent on the person. There's no "harder" subject it's just based off of a person's experience. From my experience though, sports are way harder. Academics, you just put the time in and never feel exhausted. You just go and you compare wrestling with math. Then you just think highschool math is a joke compared to grappling. Haha honestly i have crazy respect for judokas. Getting thrown down to the mats isn't what everybody can do. Then they still come back again and again. This is why i like the newaza aspect better. It's why i do BJJ
  15. Jul 21, 2010 #14
    As far as college apps go, I'd recommend doing at most 2 or 3 extra-curricular activities, but doing them "deeply", i.e. colleges would rather see that you kept a few activities going throughout high-school, made a difference in them, had leadership in them...than a wide array of shallow, unrelated commitments. Also, if you can, try and link things up. If you like math, don't just join math club - try being a math tutor. Heck, if you like general science, volunteer as a tour-guide at your local museum of science on weekends.

    And, importantly, try to avoid doing anything that you hate. This isn't an invitation to skimp on unpleasant things (I, for example, wanted to make a difference in a certain extra-curricular activity, but thought I was too shy to run for office; I did it anyway, and although it was hard I'm glad I did) but a reminder that colleges can usually tell if a person is just doing something because it looks good.

    Having said that, do try to join a sport. Even if you think you're an unathletic loser (like me, perhaps) you could always try something like cross-country, which can be good for people who are too small for football, too short for basketball, too short-run-slow for track...
  16. Jul 21, 2010 #15
    Thank you, but I don't think I'm going to do wrestling. Maybe track or competition cheer. Because that is equaly as challenging. Also piano, and singing lessons. That would look good right?
  17. Jul 21, 2010 #16
    Do you really want to do any of those things? I mean, if you take cheerleading and piano far, win a few competitions, spend a lot of time over 4 years...they're not going to say "this kid didn't take singing lessons, throw him out."
  18. Jul 21, 2010 #17
    Just do what you like doing. Doing extracurriculars just shows well roundedness. You can be well rounded with anything. The important thing is that you do something.
  19. Jul 21, 2010 #18
    Yes I do. But I see your point. I don't have to do everything. But just enough to show I can get involved, stick to it and carry through.
  20. Jul 21, 2010 #19
    Just curious but are you a guy or a girl. If you're a guy, why are you doing cheerleading? Do something manlier. Do gymastics or or something (I RAELLY RESPECT THOSE GUYS) Or do yoga, kickboxing, boxing, track.
  21. Jul 21, 2010 #20
    A little off topic, but still important for anyone searching through this thread:


    Every college I looked into and everyone I applied to would not accept dual enrolled college credit. If you want to take college credit in high school, you can, just do not dual enroll. Enroll independently of your high school, and you'll be fine. Make sure the college credit does not appear on your high school transcript. Just a word of caution....
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