College Preparation Cheat Sheet: Essential Steps for High School Students - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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College Preparation
March 17, 2017

College Preparation Cheat Sheet: Essential Steps for High School Students

Believe it or not, your high school career will be over before you know it. No matter where you are in school, it's important to keep your focus on what's next: college. The steps you take now could determine the course of your college career and help you prepare for your career after college. Keep the following considerations in mind as you get ready for the next exciting phase in your life:

Register Early For the SAT and ACT

The sooner you complete the SAT and ACT, the sooner you can submit your college application. Additionally, by promptly taking necessary tests, you leave yourself ample time for retakes, should they prove necessary. Keep in mind that most students do better on the second or third try.

Aim to take your SAT and ACT during junior year, or at the latest, as your senior year kicks off. Determine the average test scores for the colleges you wish to attend, and set a goal of exceeding that figure.

Take Advantage of Early Application

Unsure of your ability to make the cut for a favorite school? Early application could give you an edge. Apply in September or October to give yourself the best chance of acceptance. If you apply early, you'll most likely hear back by December.

Take AP Classes

If you didn't enroll in AP classes during your previous years of high school, now is the time to pursue those free college credits. Not only can AP classes save you money on generals, they will hasten your path to college graduation and prepare you for college-level academia. Once you've adjusted to the faster pace of AP coursework, you'll feel confident in your ability to ace your hardest classes in college.

Talk About Financial Arrangements

Who will pay for college and how? Students and parents must sit down for an in-depth discussion of financial necessities well before sending in applications. While planning for the financial aspect of college, consider not only the cost of tuition but also room and board, textbooks, extracurricular activities and other assorted expenses. Make a plan now to avoid panic when tuition comes due. Common options for covering student expenses include:

  • Parents cover all or some of tuition and other costs
  • Student employment or work-study participation
  • Scholarships and grants
  • Parent PLUS loan
  • Federal student loans
  • Private loans

Complete FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines your eligibility for various grants and subsidized loans. Technically, FAFSA is due on June 30th -- just a few months before your college journey begins. However, the sooner you complete the application, the sooner you can begin making concrete plans for handling the financial aspects of college.

Apply For Scholarships

Some scholarships may be awarded when you receive your acceptance letter, but most require separate applications. At Geneva College, students who apply early are automatically considered for scholarships offered by the school for amounts up to $60,000 for four years. Aim for all types of scholarships -- everything helps. Some scholarships are not dependent on which college you attend. These can give you a financial boost when you arrive at college and can also help you gain admission in the first place.

From enrolling in AP classes to completing applications early, there are several steps you can take now to ensure the best possible transition to college. Plan ahead, and you'll enjoy a wonderful freshman year and college career.

For more information on how Geneva College helps you pursue a transformational, Christ-centered education, contact us at 855-979-5563 or