10 ways to prepare for college with limited high school resources

high school kids at an eventNot every high school offers full schedules of AP or IB courses and loads of activities. If you’re in this situation, here are some ideas to help you make the best of the situation:

1) Take the most challenging classes that are offered and that you can still get decent grades in. If your high school doesn’t offer advanced or AP classes, make sure you take the highest level classes available.

2) Get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you can while still keeping your grades up. Even if you don’t have many options, it is still important that you get involved.

3) Start a club at your school (or more than one if you want to!). This will help you get involved in something you actually like to do and it will show initiative and look great on your college applications.

4) Get to know your teachers. Recommendations are an important part of your college application, and the longer you know them, the better they'll know you and the better recommendation they'll write.

5) Volunteer and/or get involved in your community. Along with being involved in high school, colleges like to see that you are involved outside of your school as well. It's another sort of "extra-curricular" activity.


>>Volunteer programs for high school students

6) Do independent study. If you’re interested in history and you’ve taken all the history classes available at your high school, you might be able to work with a teacher to study a subject on your own. You’ll create a curriculum with the teacher and get a grade just like any other class.

7) Take at least two years of a foreign language, even if you aren’t necessarily interested in the language(s). Colleges like to see that you have studied a foreign language for at least 2 years, and some may even require it. If your school doesn't offer 2 years of a foreign language, you can write a supplemental letter for your applications stating that you've taken all the foreign language offered at your school, and your counselor may even write that in your recommendation.

8) Take AP tests even if you didn't take an AP class. This will require a lot of extra work on your part as far as studying and preparing for the tests. But if you get a good score this will also look great to colleges and you may even get college credit. This is not something you HAVE to do, but it's a good option if you're looking for an extra challenge. You'll have to get your own textbook and/or AP test prep book and study on your own. See if you can get a teacher from your high school to help you study.

9) Take college classes while in high school.
This probably wouldn’t be available until your junior or senior year, but it's great to know if the option exists where you live. If it does, you'll probably not pay anything for the class or materials.


>>Classes that can get you college credit in high school

10) Read read read.
The more books you can get your hands on, the better your vocabulary will be, and the more prepared you'll be for college. This will help you in your classes, on your standardized tests, and once you start college.

Colleges will hopefully take into the account the availability of classes and activities (or lack thereof), and other things that you may feel are a disadvantage. But don't let that discourage you.


>>11 things to do in high school to prepare for college