When to Start

When Should I Start Preparing for College?

The advantage that you can gain by having more time to prepare for college is that you will be better able to fully develop your interests and determine which schools best match those interests.

If you are a young and motivated student in the Valley who thinks that you might want to go to an out-of-state school or elite college, you are likely wondering when is the best time to start preparing. Starting early can help you by increasing your chances of getting into your top-choice school. With a goal to keep your motivation high, you might also attain better grades, make better extracurricular activity choices and achieve top scores on your SAT or ACT. Going Ivy is made up of a group of independent educational professionals who have attended the most elite colleges in the U.S. We work with students throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area and beyond, and we have helped some students to gain admission into the best colleges in the country.

How Going Ivy Can Help

Your Going Ivy team starts by interviewing you to help us understand your personality, interests, strengths and needs. We then design a roadmap that you can use to reach your goals. We can provide you with one-on-one guidance through all stages, including choosing your classes, help with selecting extracurricular and volunteer activities, preparation for the ACT or SAT, and tutoring to help you in subjects that are more difficult for you. Ideally, it would be the best for you to start before you enter your freshman year of high school so that your high school experience will be more successful. Even if you are older, we are still able to help you as you work to reach your goals of college acceptance.

Start Now Rather Than Later!

ACT Inc., the company that makes the ACT, reports that just 38 percent of the high schoolers who took the ACT in 2016 met at least three out of four of the benchmarks established for college readiness. This shows a need to start preparing as early as possible if you want to go to college. According to the National Honor Society, most college admissions counselors believe that you should start preparing for college by ninth grade.

The advantage that you can gain by having more time to prepare for college is that you will be better able to fully develop your interests. The impression that you give colleges starts early. Colleges look at who each applicant is starting the summer before their freshman year of high school. Going Ivy’s college coaches are comprehensive education advisors who can work with you to keep you on track for a letter of acceptance from your dream school.

Your Freshman Year

Beginning with your freshman year of high school, you will be building the record upon which colleges and universities will base much of their decisions. Colleges place as their priority not only the great grades of applicants, but also that they got those grades while taking rigorous classes. If your school offers them, try to take as many advanced placement or honors courses as you can. You should also sign up for and actively participate in the extracurricular activities that interest you the most. There is no need to overschedule yourself, however. Have fun with the subjects and activities and discover what you like best. Selective colleges like to see that you have been dedicated to your particular extracurricular activities for all four years, and they seek applicants who are more focused and know who they are and how they are unique. Now is the time to start planning, following through and discerning about your strengths, passions and talents. Invest your time outside of the classroom in activities that highlight those strengths. You should also connect with adults who could help you with letters of recommendation, internships, mentorship and more.

Sophomore Year

It is time to commit to your extracurricular activities and grow in the academic subjects and outside interests you love. Most sophomores, usually in the spring, will also want to take a more serious look at some standardized tests that you’ll take next year. This will give you a baseline on each test so that you can understand the areas on which you need to work. It may also help you to determine which of either the ACT or SAT might be a better option for you. Get familiar with more colleges you could be interested in, and what you think you’d like to do when you’re in college and after. Make certain to continue your participation in your extracurricular activities, and try to secure leadership roles in them if you can. You should continue taking hard classes and getting good grades in them. College readiness requires that you are self-aware, so it’s time to start thinking about the best environment for you to learn, what kind of a leader you aspire to be, and what global issues are most important to you. You’re maturing and visualizing where you might see yourself in the future.

Your Junior Year

You will want to again sign up for the hardest classes that your school offers during your junior year, taking the appropriate amount of time to study for them. Fitting in standardized test preparation and taking them with your already full schedule of school, sports, clubs, community and friends won’t be easy, but with support to motivate you through it, you’ll feel that this year is the start of the future. Continue participating in your extracurricular and volunteer activities. This is also a good year for you to try to get an internship in your career interest area. For instance, if you think you might want to be an attorney, you might talk to a local firm about helping out with filing or some other task in its office. Most professionals enjoy helping high school students to learn more about their careers. Visit more campuses so that you can get a better idea of what they offer and the ones that are more interesting to you.

Senior Year

Don’t make the mistake that many students make during their senior years by signing up for blow-off classes. Schools want to see that your curriculum has been rigorous for all four years of high school. If your grades are top-notch and you have a great ACT or SAT score, consider applying early decision if you are certain about which college you want to attend. If you are less certain, applying early action to your top-choice school is also a good option. If your scores need some improvement, continue working on your ACT or SAT preparation, and take the test in the fall of your senior year. Then, you can apply for colleges during the regular application period. Make certain to keep your grades up during your senior year because colleges can revoke your acceptance if you let them fall. Your applications should be in by the end of your first semester, and then you’ll wait. If you need to update your application with any new awards you’ve won or big news about yourself, Going Ivy can guide you to do that in the best possible way.

Contact Us Today

At Going Ivy, our team is dedicated to helping you unlock your potential so that you can grow into the person that you were meant to be. We can help you throughout your high school career toward your goal of gaining admission into college. Contact us today to learn more.

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