1. What it takes: First, choose your high school courses carefully. Some colleges are more selective, although others may have more open admission policies.
No matter how selective a college is, the strongly recommended minimum high school preparation for college includes:
- 4 years of English
- 3 years of math, including Algebra II
- 3 years of science, including biology, chemistry and physics
- 3 years of social studies
- 2-3 years of a foreign language
- 1 year of visual or performing arts
Stretch yourself. Instead of study hall, consider more math, foreign language, science, or social studies, or add art classes.
2. Don’t slide in your senior year. Do well in your courses; basically, it will save you time AND money if you begin college better prepared. While students may be admitted to some colleges without these recommended high school courses, many schools in Ohio have conditional admission policies requiring these courses known as the Ohio Core. Completion of the Ohio Core may eliminate the need to take and pay for remedial courses, which soon may no longer even be offered at most Ohio public 4-year campuses. Obviously, the best way to avoid any special admission conditions, and possible extra cost, is simply to take these recommended preparatory courses in high school.
Remember, your high school preparation lays a foundation for your college career. This is why your grades and the difficulty of your classes are often used by colleges in making admission decisions. Taking challenging classes – and performing well – can give you a head start when you enter college.
3. What else it takes: Colleges also may consider test scores, extracurricular activities, and recommendations from teachers and guidance counselors. Colleges take notice when students succeed academically while being active in clubs, participating in sports, and volunteering in the community. Taking on leadership roles in organizations and exploring your interests outside of school can also make you stand out.
4. What a deal! Earn college credit while still in high school and save money at the same time. There are two ways to do this. One, by successfully completing and passing AP classes and tests, you get the college credit but don’t have to pay the college cost. Two, the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP) allows you to enroll at a local college while you are still in high school. Later, when you become a college freshman, you may transfer the credits you have earned at no cost.. Either way, you get two for one: not only do these options help you get into the college of your choice, but they also save you money.