There is a paradox about high school. If you want to get into the right college, you need the right grades and also, the right course mix. The problem with this is that in order to maximize your opportunities the decisions that lead to a successful outcome have to be made at the beginning. This is the time when most young people do not have a clue where their life is heading.
Freshmen at the ripe old age of 13 or 14 don’t always know what they want to do tonight. Asking them to choose a lifetime career path is nearly impossible. Even most college freshmen don’t do a great job of making this decision. Parents and high school counselors get involved to help guide the student into safe choices. Like college, the first two years of high school are often spent taking more general courses so that they are covered before any big decisions have to be made.
There is a potential problem with this way of thinking. If the student is going to follow a degree path leading to some type math and science major, high school students need to begin to take more difficult courses early. If they don’t, classes like, calculus, advanced chemistry, or physiology may not be reached before the end of high school. The more exclusive universities like to see lots of advanced classes with strong grades. The same is true for paths in writing or history.
If you want to improve your college choices, starting from day one to work on solid grades is paramount. It is difficult to pull early poor grades up to where you may wish they were three years from now. Sports, music, and art will also want to be included if the student has any skill in these areas. You can always drop them later, but it’s impossible to go back and pick them up.
Get acquainted with some of the teachers in your stronger subjects. Many colleges want references from your instructors. You will get better references if they actually know you a little personally. Keep your nose clean. You don’t want any references that have exceptions listed for your character. In this area, you will know when you have succeeded because teachers who like you will frequently offer to provide references for you. This is ideal because you don’t have to worry about them feeling inconvenience when you request their help.
Work in the community is also regarded as desirable by most colleges. This shows that you are more than an overachieving bookworm or an athlete who is short on personality. If you have managed to keep high grades while being an asset to civic and religious organizations, this proves your ability to manage your time and priorities properly.