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Get a Jumpstart on College: 9 Tips for Applying Early

Tip #1: Make Sure You’re on Track with College Preparatory Courses

Getting a jumpstart on college can be intimidating. You want to make sure you have all the necessary tools and knowledge for a successful college application. The first step is to make sure you’re on track with college preparatory courses. You’ll need to make sure you meet the minimum high school course requirements needed for the college you’re applying to. Most schools will require four or more years of college preparatory courses in English, Math, History, Science, and languages. Most also require additional courses such as a foreign language, Writing or Computer Science.

Tip #2: Take College Entrance Exams Early

Before deciding to apply early, you should make sure you are prepared to take the relevant college entrance tests. These tests are usually the SAT or ACT and are specific to the college or university you are applying to. Additionally, you may have to take advanced placement exams or state tests to meet certain requirements. It’s important to register for and take the applicable tests as early as you can, and make sure to give yourself plenty of time to study. It’s also important to do practice tests to make sure you’re ready for the real deal.

Tip #3: Get an Early Application Advantage

Applying early gives you a more advantageous chance of acceptance. Colleges typically give preference to early applicants and also have more options when it comes to making admission decisions. Early applicants are usually the first ones to be considered by the admissions committee. As a result, they may have the ability to choose from a larger applicant pool and have more opportunities to compare students to one another. By applying early, you automatically gain an advantage and have a better chance of getting accepted.

Tip #4: Get Involved with Extra Curricular Activities Early

One of the smartest ways to get a jumpstart on college is to get involved in extra-curricular activities well before application periods begin. Joining student organizations, taking on special activities, or taking part in community service projects can all provide valuable experiences. Additionally, colleges and universities take a look at each applicant’s extra-curricular activities when deciding whether he or she is an ideal candidate for admission. By getting involved early, you get a head start on adding a unique set of experiences to your college application and landing a seat at your dream college.

Tip #5: Begin Establishing Relationships with Professors

These days, it’s become more and more important to have meaningful relationships with college professors. With many students applying to college, it can be difficult to stand out in the pool of applicants. Having strong relationships with your professors, however, gives you an edge. One of the best tips for getting a jumpstart on college is to begin establishing relationships with professors by attending their classes, asking questions, and participating in class discussions. Doing so actively helps to get you noticed by your professors, and they may even be willing to write you a recommendation letter.

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Tip #6: Draft Your College Application Essay Early

Most college applications require a personal essay as part of the application process. Writing your essay early will help you to get a jumpstart on college as it allows you to put your best foot forward. Writing your essay early also gives you time to edit and revise until it’s perfect. Taking the time to craft a great essay will help to give you an edge and reflect positively on your college application.

Tip #7: Prepare Your Documents Early

Preparing your documents early will give you a jumpstart on college. Most applications will require several documents including transcripts, teacher recommendations and even submitted essays. Taking the time to get these documents ready beforehand will help to ensure your application is in order and will make sure you’re not scrambling to pull all the pieces together right before the deadline.

Tip #8: Make Sure to Submit All Necessary Financial Aid Forms

It’s important to get a jumpstart on college by making sure to complete and submit all necessary financial aid forms. These forms usually require lots of information such as parent and student information, income, and assets among other things. Taking the time to fill out these forms before the deadline will help to make sure you don’t miss out on any possible financial aid.

Tip #9: Take College Visitations

Before deciding to apply early, it’s a good idea to take college visitations. Visiting the college campuses you’re interested in will give you an opportunity to experience life on the campus, meet professors, tour the programs you’re interested in, and get familiar with the admissions office and the school’s overall process. College visitations will give you a sense of what it would be like to attend that college and help you to decide if you actually want to apply to that school. This can help get you a jumpstart on college because if you make a conclusion that this isn’t the school for you, then you’ve saved time and money.

Getting a jumpstart on college can be intimidating, but with the right preparation and proactivity, you can make the process easier. Preparation and organization are key to success. Make sure to take the time to make sure you’ve covered all the tips listed here and you’ll be ready to jump start college in no time.

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