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College Prep for Teens

College prep can be both exciting and stressful. Here’s how to tackle it confidently!


When you’re a teen, the idea of college might seem really far away. But the truth is, it’s never too early to start preparing for higher education. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to get started with your college prep and get help from your parents. We’ll also define some common career prep terms so that you know what everything means. And finally, we’ll recommend some books and other resources that will help you on your journey to college!

We know that this information can be valuable for any teen starting their journey towards higher education. So whether you’re in middle school or high school, read on to learn more about how to get ready for college!

One of the most important things you can do while prepping for college is to get good grades. This means studying hard and doing your best in all of your classes. Your grades will be one of the first things that colleges look at when they’re determining whether or not to accept you. So it’s important to make sure that you’re getting good grades throughout high school!

What is College Prep?

College prep is the process of preparing for and applying to college. It can include things like studying for standardized tests, researching schools, and writing college essays. College prep can start as early as middle school and continue through high school.

What Does College Prep Include?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the college prep process will vary depending on your individual needs and goals. What does this process include? Let’s explore!

  1. Test prep. Most colleges require standardized test scores as part of the application process. You’ll need to study for and take the SAT or ACT exams.
  2. Counseling. College prep includes guidance and counseling from professionals who can help you choose the right schools and navigate the admissions process.
  3. Academic tutoring. If you need extra help in certain subjects, you can get academic tutoring to prepare you for college-level coursework.
  4. Career counseling. College prep also includes guidance on choosing a career and planning for your future. or exploring alternatives to college.
  5. College visits. Visiting colleges is a key part of the college prep process. You’ll want to see what different schools have to offer and get a sense of what you’re looking for in a school.
  6. Scholarship and financial aid advice. One of the most important aspects of college prep is figuring out how to pay for school. You’ll get help from counselors in identifying and applying for scholarships and grants.

How Can I Get Started?

If you’re just starting your college prep journey, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Start early. The earlier you start preparing for college, the better. One of the most important things to remember about college prep is that it’s a process that takes time. You can’t do everything in your junior and senior years – you need to start early and take things gradually. Here are a few reasons why starting college prep early is a good idea:

  • You’ll have more time to prepare for standardized tests.
  • You can explore different colleges and find the right one for you.
  • You’ll have more time to save up money for tuition.

Be realistic. Don’t try to cram everything into your junior and senior years. College prep should be a gradual process that takes into account your individual needs and abilities.

Seek help when you need it. If you don’t understand something or feel overwhelmed, ask your parents or teachers for help. There is no shame in admitting that you need assistance and seeking out guidance from professionals.

How to Get Parents Involved in the Process

Your parents can be a big help when it comes to college prep. Here are a few ways they can assist you:

  1. Give you advice and guidance. Your parents have been through the college prep process before, and they can offer valuable advice and guidance.
  2. Help you with test prep. Parents can help you study for standardized tests by providing practice questions and materials.
  3. Encourage you to explore different colleges. Your parents can help you research colleges and narrow down your options.
  4. Help you with financial aid applications. Parents can help you fill out financial aid applications and provide information about their own finances.
  5. Help you stay organized. College prep can be a lot of work, and it’s important to have a plan and stay organized. Your parents can help you by creating a schedule and checklist of what you need to do.- Determine your college goals: What are you looking for in a school? Academic excellence? A strong sports program? A diverse student body? Learning more about your priorities will help you narrow down your options.

College Prep Definitions

When you’re talking about college prep, there are a few terms you should know:

  • Admissions: The process of applying to college. This includes filling out applications, submitting transcripts and test scores, and interviewing admissions officers.
  • Acceptance rate: The percentage of students who are accepted to a particular college.
  • SAT: A standardized test that measures students’ reading, writing, and math skills.
  • ACT: A standardized test that measures students’ reading, writing, math, and science skills.
  • Tuition: The cost of attending college. This includes tuition, room and board, and other expenses.
  • Financial aid: Money given to students to help pay for college. This can include scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • College prep programs: Programs that help students prepare for college. These programs usually offer tutoring, career counseling, and guidance on how to pay for school.
  • Scholarships: Money given to students to help pay for college. This can be in the form of a one-time grant or a scholarship that is renewable each year.
  • Grants: Money given to students to help pay for college. This does not need to be repaid.
  • Loans: Money is given to students to help pay for college. This needs to be repaid with interest.
  • Campus visit: A trip to a college campus to explore the school and meet with admissions officers.
  • Early decision: A type of admission where students agree to attend a particular college if they are accepted. They must submit their application early, and they cannot apply to any other colleges.
  • Early action: A type of admission where students can apply to a particular college early, but they are not obligated to attend if they are accepted. They can still apply to other colleges.
  • Waitlist: A list of students who have been accepted to a college, but there is not enough room for them all. These students may be offered admission if other students decline their spot.
  • College prep courses: Courses that prepare students for college-level coursework. These courses usually cover topics like math, science, and reading.
  • Dual enrollment: A program where high school students can take college-level courses and earn credits toward their degree.
  • AP classes: Advanced Placement classes are college-level courses that students can take in high school. If they do well on the AP test, they can earn college credit.
  • Transcript: A document that lists all of the courses a student has taken, as well as their grades and test scores.
  • GPA: Your GPA (grade point average) is a measure of your academic performance. It is calculated by combining your grades and dividing them by the number of courses you’ve taken.
  • College prep checklist: A list of things you need to do to prepare for college. This can include things like registering for the SAT or ACT, applying for scholarships, and visiting colleges.

Best Books on Preparing for College

Books and online resources offer helpful information about the college process. Visit your local library or bookstore. These tools can help you develop your studying skills, explore schools, and more.

  • Pre-College BRAG BOOK: A Guided Space for 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th Graders to Capture Key Moments That Supercharge Future College Essays (Easy Early College Prep)
  • The Best 387 Colleges, 2022: In-Depth Profiles & Ranking Lists to Help Find the Right College For You (2022) (College Admissions Guides)
  • The College Bound Planner: A Roadmap to Take You From High School to Your First Day of College (Time Management, Goal Setting for Teens)
  • College Handbook 2018 55th Edition: This is the only guide available that contains objective information on every accredited college in the United States
  • Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College
  • Confessions of a Scholarship Winner: The Secrets That Helped Me Win $500,000 in Free Money for College- How You Can Too!

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About the Author

Simone Feagen

Simone is a career coach whose clients have included Fortune 500 companies, healthcare industry professionals, and many more. She is a mother and has Six Sigma Lean Black Belt Professional (LBBP) and Six Sigma Champion Certified (SSCC) certifications from the Management and Strategy Institute.

Last updated on: September 13, 2023