Top 5 College Prep Activities: The Best High School Activities for College Success
Think a good ACT or SAT score plus a killer college essay equals instant admission
into your dream school? Not quite. The work to get into the best universities starts
way before your senior year of high school. Here are five activities for high schoolers
that will make a difference when it's time to apply to college.
5. Student Government
If that isn't your thing, try sports. Or any other activity where you can take a student
leadership role. You don't always have to be in charge, but experience taking initiative
and seeing projects through from beginning to end will serve you well in college.
College admission counselors like it, too.
"It's better to see one or two activities that have shown a progression of responsibility,
instead of many year-long stints," said one Saint Louis University admission counselor.
4. Volunteer Work
Getting involved in volunteer work that's related your future college major is an admission two-fer: You'll get a head
start on your résumé and build connections working with people you like (and sometimes
people you don't) for a common goal. That kind of experience will serve you well in
college in everything from study groups to collaborative projects.
3. The Literary Magazine
Or any activity that hones your communication skills. How well you present your ideas
makes a big difference in college, where multiple-choice tests often take a back seat
to research and papers. A dash of personality on your college application or essay
question doesn't hurt either. "Every student is different, and we look to their co-curricular
activities to show us who they are outside the classroom," one SLU admission counselor
2. Career-Related Activities
Even if — or especially if — you're considering a few different careers, get out there
and give one a try. Shadow a professional or try to get an internship or a summer
job related to what your college major might be. "The more a student knows about what
they truly are and are not passionate about before going to college, the easier it
will be to focus in on those areas from the get-go," another SLU admission counselor
1. Your Homework
Yep, we're ending with the gimmee. High school is the foundation your college education
will be built on. Your teachers and parents play a role, but it's your job to make
sure you get the most out of it. Develop good study habits. Identify your academic
weaknesses now, and face them head on. That way, you won't just get into your dream
college; you'll thrive there. Plus, if your school offers college credit for advanced
classes (like SLU's 1818 program in the greater St. Louis metro area), you'll get a head start on some of your core
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