Start early planning for college
By BY Rose Alaniz
May 6, 2017 at 4:21 p.m.
Updated May 7, 2017 at 6 a.m.
It is never too early for high school students to start planning for college.
Early college planning allows students to become familiar with the many details involved in the college application and admissions process. A student who knows college entrance requirements has the opportunity to prepare in advance to meet those requirements.
When high school students wait until the end of their junior year or start of their senior year to begin the college planning process, it may be too late, especially if the college is highly competitive.
Starting to plan for college early allows students to become familiar with applications and admissions. If a student is aware of the ideal profile of a typically admitted student for a particular university, the student will know the skills and traits the university is seeking in an applicant.
This usually includes the student having a strong academic profile that portrays concentration on high school academics by completing demanding or rigorous courses such as honors, advanced placement or international baccalaureate.
There also is an expectation that the student be actively engaged in high school activities as well as showing experience in leadership roles. Another important criterion is participation in community service opportunities.
Aside from the usual minimum requirements of grade-point average and entrance exam scores, having a solid academic resume that includes college prep coursework plus school and community service helps the student be identified as well-rounded. A well-rounded student tends to stand out when compared with other applicants seeking college admissions.
Other important components of the college application admissions process include having a high grade point average, strong scores in standardized tests, good or high class ranking, excellent letters of recommendation and well-written application essays.
Even though the college planning process and college application admissions process can be complex, early college planning can be done with ease. The student can learn about university admissions and application requirements by visiting the university's website. It is never too early.
Rose Alaniz is an assistant professor in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development.