Yes, You Can Prepare for College as a Freshman!

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Starting high school can seem like the beginning of a whole new world and, certainly, one where college seems far away. But the truth is that in four short years, today’s freshmen will be the graduating Class of 2020.

We’ve already talked about ways that students can start thinking about college by taking college visits or researching scholarships early. Once the school year starts, though, it becomes important to think for the future, but also take the steps necessary to succeed in this new transition to high school. Iowa College Aid’s “Your Course to College” guide not only offers tips and information for students preparing to start their final year of high school, but also gives advice for those students just starting high school.

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Here are some tips from “Your Course to College’s” Student Checklist for freshmen looking to succeed this year, while still planning for future success.

  • Meet your counselor. He or she is there to help you succeed in high school and to help set you up for success after graduation! Set up a meeting to talk about your plans for high school and the future.
  • Get involved. Many admissions officers look for well- rounded students who participate in school activities and are involved in their communities throughout all years of high school.
  • Set up a college savings account, if you  don’t already have one, or continue to add to an existing account. College Savings Iowa is sponsored by the State of Iowa and can be started with as little as $25. Find more information at www.collegesavingsiowa.com.
  • Choose the right class schedule. Find out about college entrance requirements for the schools you’re interested in.
  • Find out about Advanced Placement (AP) and other honors-level courses. If your high school does not offer AP courses directly, they may provide online access to courses through the Iowa Online Academy.
  • Fill your summer with volunteer activities and work opportunities that can give you a better idea of what type of career you would like to pursue.

Check out the full Four-Year Student Checklist here and sign up to receive the 2016-17 edition of “Your Course to College” here. Iowa College Aid’s “Planning for Our Future” (produced in conjunction with Iowa Insurance Division and Treasurer of State’s office) offers more detailed information and advice on financial planning for a student’s education at all ages (even starting in elementary school or earlier). Order a copy here.

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