This common question actually has a two part answer. The actual process of finding the right college typically begins in junior year of high school. However, the planning for the process starts much earlier, ideally in the freshman and sophomore years.
In the next few posts I will be exploring the issues that high school freshman and sophomores should be considering before beginning the actual search for the right college.
Classes to take
Ideally, students will take classes in the following subject areas:
- 4 years of English
- 4 years of social studies/history
- 4 years of math
- 4 years of science
- 4 years of one foreign language
Not every student will be able to handle this rigorous a course load but the closer you are to taking 4 years of each of the 5 academic subjects, the stronger candidate you will be for college.
Take rigorous courses
- Take the most challenging sequence of courses in which you can do well
- Colleges like to see students challenge themselves
- Colleges love to see AP or IB courses particularly if you do well in them
- Strongest applicants will have AP courses in several core subjects
- If you think you can get an A or B, then take the more challenging course
- If not, take the less challenging course
Grades received and courses taken are the most important factors in college admissions.
Stay tuned for part two in the early planning series: standardized tests.