Regardless of whether you're planning on attending a college that is located far away from home, or obtaining one of many of the online degrees that are available, there are many ways to begin preparing for college before you even finish your high school education.
Once the college information begins arriving, it can be easy to lose track of everything or get confused as to what you've done and what you haven't. Beginning to get organized while you've still got some time in high school is the best way to prepare yourself for the onslaught of information you've got ahead of you. Choose an email address that you use specifically for college emails and check it often. Use three ring binders with loose leaf paper to keep notes on the colleges you're interested in. Anything you can do to organize yourself will put you ahead of the game and will decrease your stress once you do actually start applying to schools.
Bulk Up Your Schedule
Of course, the temptation is going to be there to take it easy during your Senior year of high school. However, if you're smart, you'll take the high road and fill your schedule with courses that will benefit you in college. Some high schools even offer classes that offer you college credits, even for those students planning on pursuing online degrees. Spend some time with your guidance counselor and discuss what you plan on majoring in when you get to college. He or she should be able to direct you to classes that will help you be even more prepared once you're a college freshman.
Complete Testing Early
Once you are a junior, you should plan on taking your SAT/ACT test in the beginning of your junior year of high school. One of the biggest mistakes students make is saving these important tests for their senior year, when they don't have any time to retake them if they want to try for a higher score. Getting these tests done and out of the way early not only leaves you plenty of time to take them again if you want to, but it also frees up your time to focus on colleges and filling out applications for the schools you are interested in.
Develop Good Relationships With Your Teachers
Many colleges require students to submit teacher recommendation letters before they're accepted for admission. Once you enter high school, you should develop strong relationships with all of your teachers and with your guidance counselor. These are important people in your life and they only have your best interests at heart. They can be invaluable when it comes to helping you get into the school of your choice, even if you're planning to pursue online degrees, rather than going away to college. Fostering relationships with your teachers will also help you academically. Students who have a greater respect for their teachers tend to have a greater respect for their school subjects. In turn, they tend to get better grades.
The future is bright for students who are looking forward to attending college or earning online degrees right at home. Preparation is a key component to success. The student who begins preparing for that success early on will come out head and shoulders above the rest.