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Preparing for College

Finding a College that meets your individual interests while providing you with the best education possible at a price you can afford can be a difficult task. Yellow Page College Directory can help you through this process by providing you with valuable information on subjects ranging from finding the right college for you to preparing for college entrance exams. By using our College Preparation Guide, you can eliminate many of the mistakes made by first time students looking for a program that is right for them.

College Requirements

First of all, when choosing a college, keep in mind that many colleges have specific admissions requirements. If you wait until your senior year is underway to check into the admissions requirements of colleges that interest you, you may discover too late that you cannot get into those institutions because you have not taken the required courses. Also, some colleges have certain ACT or SAT score requirements. If your scores are not high enough to meet their standards, you may need to try again. The national test dates will determine when you may take these tests, therefore limiting your chances of raising your score before the application deadline. If you prepare for college in advance by deciding during your junior year where you may want to go, you will have more chances to take the test and to meet the college's score requirements. The college of your choice may have an early application deadline. Some of the more selective colleges want you to apply as early as your junior year. Others prefer that you apply during the first month or two of your senior year. Some have later application deadlines, but their deadlines for college scholarships may be as early as December 1. In such a case, the college may accept you if you wait until February or March to apply, but you will not qualify for any of the campus-based college scholarships. College tuition is expensive, so don't let your procrastination disqualify you from any financial aid that you might have received if you had applied earlier.

Test the water

Many colleges have summer programs such as dual-credit programs, summer camps, enrichment programs, and exploratory programs. These programs are specifically for juniors who are trying to prepare themselves by making college, major, and career choices. Quite possibly, your participation in one of these programs at a college you are considering may be a foot in the door for early admission to that college and may even mean some guaranteed financial aid for you. Waiting until your senior year to select a college will cause you to miss out on these opportunities. Granted, participating in a summer program may cause you to realize that you were mistaken about wanting to go to that college; but even that type of experience can be useful to you. It may be better for you to spend a few weeks at a college during the summer before you pay tuition at a college you find out later was not the right school for you.

Prepare Early

As a high school junior, you may not feel ready to make a final decision about the college you should attend. But it's not too early to prepare in advance and begin narrowing your choices to five or fewer. You can apply to as many colleges as you like, as long as you are willing to complete the applications and to pay the application fees. A great way to prepare for college is by applying to more than one school in order to give you a chance to find out what each college has to offer you and allows you to compare and contrast them. It is always a good idea to visit each of the colleges you have applied to by seeing if they have a "virtual tour" option. By using chat rooms, message boards or other means of electronic communication you will be able to get a feel for campus life at that school while also getting to know future faculty members. You may also be able to chat with students going to that college who can provide you with valuable information on topics ranging from housing options and best places to eat or purchase supplies to classes, courses and programs to avoid. Your college decision is an important one and not one that you should make at the last minute or without careful thought.