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College Advice for Freshmen

By Zubair Muhammad, Staff Writer

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This past month, many students have witnessed seniors pile around English teachers in the Literacy Center or in the College Career Resource Room to check over college essays and supplements due on the Nov 1 application deadline.

As freshmen, you may be relieved to discover that you will not have to worry about the stressful college application process for another three years, however, trust me, time flies and before you know it you will be filling out the Common Application in no time.

Applying to college doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated as long as you follow these tips.

1. Get to know your teachers

Every college you apply to will require at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher. That’s why it’s important to start building positive relationships with any and all teachers you meet along the way so when the time comes, you have several teachers who will be able to positively describe your work ethic and character. Although you might never imagine yourself doing so, you find yourself asking a teacher from your freshmen year to write you a letter since they were the first ones to gain an impression of you and witness you grow within four years.

2. Do your research

You might have a long way to go until the application process but it’s best to do your research on the several types of colleges and applications so you could start off on the right foot. Be able to distinguish between an Early Action and Early Decision deadline, estimate the costs of any colleges you may be interested in, and most importantly, take the time to visit the College Career Resource Room if any questions arise.

3. Begin deciding your areas of interest

One of the most important things going into senior year is knowing what you want to study in college, that’s why its important to take your time and start deciding what you would want to do for the rest of your life so when you do eventually begin the application process, you won’t have any conflicting interests. It’s important to choose a field to study that you feel you will find the most happiness in; don’t let peer or parental pressure force you to go into engineering if you want to be a artist.

4. Get involved

Whether you’re a freshmen or even a junior, take up as many activities as you can. You want to show colleges that you could handle your academic workload with a plethora of extra activities, like tutoring or being in a sports team, from an early start. With over 90 clubs here at West, there’s something for everyone. You could also add these clubs to a resume you should be building throughout your high school career.

5. Start thinking about your personal statement

What qualities or traits do you best believe describe you as a student? What do you want colleges to know about you besides your extracurriculars? Whatever they may be, make sure to include them a personal statement and have a teacher or counselor check over it when the time comes.

6. Most importantly, stay positive.

Senior year is a stressful time, you will be preoccupied with your classes, activities, and/or job while simultaneously having to fill out your college applications. That’t why you should use the time you have now to do your research, know your teachers, and build a unique image for yourself. That way, going into the application process you will know where you want to go, how to fill out an application, and what you want to do. And if any questions or complications arise, you will have the comfort of having support from your teachers and counselor there to lend you a hand.

 

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