7 Tips for High School Students Preparing for College

College preparation: two of the scariest words in the English language. But they don’t have to be. Like everything else, even the most daunting challenges are much more doable with a solid plan in place.

Because we’ve helped hundreds of students in the San Diego learn how to prepare for college, Reality Changers has some experience here. Our staff has come up with seven essential tips to make your college preparation process easy, effective – and well worth the effort!

How to Prepare for College

Here are seven tips for college preparation:

Go for Grants

Billions of college grant money goes unused every year. There are plenty of reasons why, but here’s one that’s candid enough: laziness. It’s the cold, hard truth. Many high school students simply refuse to pursue grant and scholarship money, and that’s simply unacceptable. As an organization that routinely seeks grants and scholarships for at-risk San Diego youth, we’re here to vouch first-hand: money is available; you just have to apply. Apply for as many grants as you can. Broaden your network. And make sure you check local sources for grant money. With a solid effort, you can easily reduce your overall educational bill. Avoiding unwanted stress (how will I pay for college?) is critical for effective college preparation.

Consider Commuting

Financial considerations, family concerns and more – there are plenty of reasons why not staying on campus your freshman year make sense. Talk to your admissions representative if commuting is a possibility; it’s a great way to adjust for college life with one toe in the water before fully taking the plunge. If you are to commute by car you should look at ways that you can reduce costs further such as through finding cheaper car insurance. This is already very simple in the United Kingdom. In fact, they only have to search cheap car insurance UK to find out if they would be better off elsewhere.

Adjust Your Mindset

We’re not saying be someone you aren’t; rather, you should look at your upcoming college experience as a transition period in your life, and also as the gateway from childhood into adulthood. Some the most memorable times in your life will be spend at college. As such, it helps to prepare for college with a mature mindset. College is full of fun activities, but remember: your primary reason for devoting four (or more) years of your life to a university. Disciplined, determined effort will pay huge dividends down the road – so bring out your inner, responsible adult. He or she will thank you in the future!

Try a High School Mentoring Program

The advantages of a high school mentoring program are immense, especially for those students in need. We’ve already discussed about getting in the correct mindset to tackle the challenges associated with college, and a high school mentoring program can provide the skills, leadership lessons and other critical lessons to ensure success at the next level. We recommend fully researching your high school mentoring program, and to also watch out for a few potential hazards to keep in mind. Check out our previous blog post on this subject for more info!

Fill out the Common Application

It’s free, it’s simple and it’ll pay off when it’s time to apply for college. Plus, you can choose from nearly 700 colleges and universities to apply for. If there was a “How to Prepare for College” official manual, this step would be #1 or #1A. If you’re preparing for college, prepare to fill out the Common Application. We have more in-depth info about the College Common Application on our blog, but here’s our take, in a nutshell: do it. This process saves time and money, which are two of your most valuable resources in preparing for college.

Take Professional Help For Your Admissions Essay

International students are required to write a US college admission essay, and when English isn’t your first language, it can be a challenge to express your thoughts and ideas coherently. One suggestion is to take the help of native speakers who write for a living. Talk to them, discuss what you want written and get yourself a strong application essay. If you need somewhere to start, here’s a good college essay writing service to consider –

Focus on a Career

We said focus, not lock in. Major (and interests) can change, but it’s never too early to start exploring possible career options.

Make Multiple Visits

You can never know too much about your potential college. Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to 2-3 colleges, take a few more visits and ask as many questions as possible. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll be as a freshman – this is one of the most crucial steps in preparing for college.

There you go – a handful (plus two) of tips to help you prepare for the next (and most) important chapter of your life. If you have any additional input on preparing for college, drop us a line at And if you’re interesting to donating to our cause, click here. Thanks for reading the Reality Changers blog!


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