College Guide: College Prep Starts Now!
If you are a high school student, it’s never too early to start planning for college. There are only four years that stand between you and the world. So how you choose to spend them will mark your next steps in life.
This week at CCA, classes have resumed and many high school students are getting back into the groove of things, including their test prep routine. Test prep? Well, you don’t have to be a junior or senior to be working on your SAT and ACT scores. Although senior year is the time when high school students are forced to grow up and make big decisions—like which college to attend, other students shouldn’t let their underclassmen status stop them from getting serious about their college career.
College Prep Courses
Here at CCA, we offer Dual Enrollment (earns college credit): Psychology, Western Civilization, World Religions; as well as Advancement Placement (earns college credit with passing score on national exam): English Lit., Calculus, Studio Art-6, Spanish, Music Theory, US History, Chemistry, English Language, and Biology.
“AP classes are essential for application to selective colleges,” says Jeff Perrin, Secondary Assistant Principal. “Earning college credit while in high school saves tuition when in college. We offer both a Dual Enrollment and an AP Diploma for students who meet the qualifications. Our numbers of students in these advanced classes have more than doubled from last year to this year.”
University of Florida freshman Jessica Matthews began taking advanced placement courses (college level courses) early in her high school career and this not only challenged her learning experience in a variety of subjects, but prepared her well when she reached college earlier this year.
Next year, the Guidance Department plans to host a series of workshops to enhance the college preparation process. Both students and parents will be invited to attend, as this will make their college making decisions a little easier. Stay tuned for updates as draw closer.
Various online college guides also advise high school students to prepare for college through independent study on their own time. This requires the student to take the initiative by continuing their learning process, like taking several college courses at community colleges after school or during their summer breaks.
Aside from taking special courses, nothing prepares a student more for college than good study habits and organizational skills. Some CCA students have found that creating a “To-Do” list to complete tasks works well for them, while others prefer taking good notes in class so they can use them to review later on for studying.
An important step in the college preparation process is to put a plan together that explores college majors and universities of interests. The last three graduating classes have shown us that CCA students have determined their future paths quite differently, some choosing to attend a Christian college over a secular one, and vice versa. Those who chose a public or different type of school didn’t do it just for financial reasons.
“Mine (choice) was location and degree program,” said Michael Lima, Class of 2008. “I like being close to home, yet far enough away to be on my own. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)—the best aviation school in the nation—also has an outstanding homeland security program as well as Army ROTC.”
For Samford University freshman Lauren Kostoff, there were many factors that went into finding her ideal college. “Everything ranging from a smaller school in size, to living in a city, to a good journalism department (which is my major),” she said. “But at the end of the day, I decided to go to Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, because when I walked on the campus it just felt right.” For Kostoff, choosing a private Christian college was not necessarily a deal breaker, even though it was the only Christian school she applied to.
Some people may have the misconception that private universities are more expensive than their public counterparts. But that’s not the case, in fact, sometimes you’ll find that they offer more financial aid and work study opportunities simply because they typically have fewer students than the public colleges.
Whatever students choose, preparation for either type of college is essential. Students should prepare to take the entrance exams such as the SAT I (Scholastic Assessment Test) and ACT Assessment tests (Assessment College Test) early on. There are practice tests and more information available online at www.collegeboard.com.
High school students should take advantage of CCA’s resources, like our Guidance Counseling Office, which helps students plan out their college careers, and ultimately their future. “My college advisor helped me make a check list of things I was looking for in a college and we formed my list from there,” said Kostoff. “She got me involved with SAT prep classes, and helped me through the application process.”
According to Josh Sobel, Class of 2008, at the end of the four years of high school, “The quality of the work the seniors put out,” is what makes a big difference in how well prepared students are for college. But whether it’s during the senior or the freshman year that this groundwork begins to take place, one thing’s for sure: students are totally responsible for the task of learning the subjects, techniques, skills and principles—that which they will use in college and throughout their lives.