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YOUR TURN

Eight tips for preparing for college


Success in college means a world of opportunities. It's never too early to start planning. Here are some tips to prepare you for college:

  1. Set positive goals for yourself.
    Take challenging courses so you are ready for Advanced Placement (AP) courses later. Take the PSAT in the 10th grade.
  2. Analyze your interests and abilities.
    Learn about colleges and programs that emphasize your interests and abilities. Check out college Web sites. Talk to your mentors and counselors about your strengths.
  3. Read.
    Read for pleasure. Read what interests you. Read to learn. Read novels, nonfiction books, magazines, and newspaper articles. Borrow materials from your library regularly — and don't forget to return them. Studies show that students earn higher test scores when they read more and watch less TV.
  4. Stay healthy.
    Be active outdoors, use neighborhood and school gyms and pools, participate in sports and dance. Eat a healthy diet and limit sweets and fats. Have regular medical and dental checkups. Get plenty of rest to keep your energy level up.
  5. Get involved in extracurricular activities.
    Choose activities that help develop teamwork, leadership, and responsibility. Perform community service through community organizations. Join clubs in your areas of interest.
  6. Keep your parents involved in your life.
    Talk about school assignments, grades, and your dreams with your parents. Let them know when you need certain learning materials like a calculator or dictionary and when you need transportation to school-related activities. Introduce your friends to your parents.
  7. Create a personal file of your accomplishments.
    Include all your activities and awards: academic, sports, volunteer, and community service. Keep your report cards and samples of your best school work.
  8. Continue saving money.
    Investigate financial aid opportunities offered by your schools of interest. Look for all types of aid including grants, scholarships, loans, and work opportunities. Visit the AIE Scholarship Search (www.AIE.org/scholarships). Many other online student financial aid resources are available in the AIE Internet Resources area (www.AIE.org/Links).

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's College for Texans campaign (www.CollegeForTexans.com)