I am a senior in high school.

How can I start preparing for college?

Follow these recommendations to guide you to college-ready success.

- Amanda Cantu 

Write your Apply Texas essays

Essay A: 

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?

Essay B: 

Some students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. If you are one of these students, then tell us about yourself.

Essay C: 

You’ve got a ticket in your hand – Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

Narrow down your list of colleges that you intend on applying to

  • Do you want to go to a big school or small school? Do you want to live in Texas or venture out of state? Do you prefer having small class sizes or big class sizes?

  • Take note of admissions criteria, deadlines, etc.

  • The earlier you start your search, the more best match options you will find.

Prepare for the SAT and ACT

  • It is highly recommended that you take the SAT and/or ACT in the fall semester of your senior year

  • Visit the college adviser at your high school for assistance with registering

  • Some schools require a minimum score for acceptance

  • Get free SAT preparation at KahnAcademy.org/sat

Attend college representative visits

  • College representatives are a great resource to gain valuable information about schools you are considering

  • It is your job to ask them questions that are important to making your final decision

    • What is the student to teacher ratio in the classroom?

    • What academic resources are offered?

    • How many clubs and organizations are there?

  • Take note of admissions criteria, deadlines, etc.

Visit the campuses that you are strongly considering

  • Visiting a college campus can help you decide if the institution is the right one for you

  • Take a campus tour, visit with staff and students, but most importantly, ask questions

  • Try to visit more than one campus so you can compare your experiences

  • Take note of admissions criteria, deadlines, etc.​

Volunteer at school, church, or with local organizations

  • Colleges want to see that you care about your community and are willing to make it a better place

  • Examples of volunteering:

    • Helping at a hospital, pet shelter, library, or summer camp

    • Tutoring students through an official organization

    • Helping at church events

Become a leader in your extracurricular activities

  • Being involved at your school shows that you are committed to something that you care about 

  • Leadership experience shows that you are a team player, can manage your time well, and care about diversifying your experiences

Consider participating in academic enrichment programs

  • Academic preparation is a critical part of being college-ready

  • Some high schools have programs like Upward Bound which helps students prepare for college through tutoring and other enrichment events

  • Ask your college advisor if there are any programs on your campus

Take challenging classes in core academic subjects

  • Talk to your school counselor or teachers about Advanced Placement courses

  • Colleges want to see that you are interested in learning new things and will work hard to excel in the classroom

Update your resume

  • When applying to colleges and scholarships in your senior year, you will be asked to list all of your challenging classes, volunteer experiences, extracurricular activities, and enrichment programs

  • Colleges want to see what you are passionate about and how hard you worked over your high school career

  • Visit the 'Resume ' page under the 'Career Planning' tab for free templates

Narrow down your list of possible career options

  • What subjects do you like? What makes you happy? What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

  • Searching your career options will help you select a major later on

  • Visit the 'Career Exploration' page under the 'Career Planning' tab for help with searching.

Analyze your financial aid award letter with a college adviser

  • Once you are accepted into a college and have submitted your FAFSA, you will most likely receive a financial aid award letter showing how much federal, state, and institutional aid you received

  • Compare your aid to the cost of attendance to determine your next steps

Finalize your housing for next year

  • If you are planning to live on campus, be sure to complete the housing application and any additional requirements by the deadlines given

  • You may need to search for a roommate, which will require you to start communicating with potential roommates

Start saving money for college

  • Saving money for important college necessities like books, food, dorms, and tuition can be very beneficial if you start early

  • Talk to a parent or guardian about opening a savings account

Register for New Student Orientation

  • Most schools will have a New Student Orientation (NSO) for all incoming first-years

  • If you do not receive an email from your college regarding NSO, you may have to sign up on your own through the institution's website

Storch Memorial Building
Room 202

One Trinity Place
San Antonio, TX 78212