Prepare for College

“Semper paratus” is the motto of the United States Coast Guard; it’s Latin for “always prepared”. While the Coast Guard Academy may or may not be your college of choice, the first skill you need to master in your journey to and through college is preparedness. If you want to go to college, there are steps that you’ll need to start taking even before high school to be prepared for the application process and the collegiate-level courses of study.

Academic standards are very important to colleges when they choose students. Grades, class rank and standardized test scores count significantly in the final mix. But colleges don’t just want “squids” (college slang for students who do nothing but study). They also want students who will be active in campus events and organizations. They want students who will participate in sports, involve themselves in community service, and even work on campus.

You need to take all of these criteria into account as you prepare for college during your high school years. Don’t wait until your senior year in high school. Begin preparing early so you can develop a resumé that will impress college admission officers.

No matter what your grade level and no matter which college you hope to attend, here are 4 basic college-prep steps to keep in the forefront of your mind:

  1. Make sure you have a solid academic courseload of core subject classes such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, and a foreign language.
  2. Stretch yourself academically. Most schools will actually give you credit for advanced placement (AP) classes taken. The more AP courses on your transcript, the better prepared for college you will appear to be.
  3. Develop and maintain strong study skills that will help you raise your grades or keep them at a high level.
  4. Participate in extracurricular activities that help you develop leadership skills and volunteer your time in community service programs or projects.