when opportunity presents itself grab it. hold on tight and don’t let go.
Even though college entrance exams
such as the SAT or ACT are usually taken
during junior year, now is the perfect time
to begin studying for these tests. There are
many online free resources and libraries
such as your high school or public library
have practice books you can check out for
free. While those tests happen next year,
you will most likely be taking the
PSAT/NMSQT in the fall or the PSAT 10 in
the spring. Though these tests do not count
towards college applications, the
PSAT/NMSQT has potential scholarship
opportunities and award recognitions.
Plan Ahead for Advanced Classes
As you progress in your high school career, you will need to begin planning for future courses in order to graduate but also think about what courses colleges would want to see. For those looking to apply to prestigious universities, you should be taking the most advanced courses offered at your high school, classes related to your career interests and potential college programs. For those looking for ways to save money, invest in taking AP or dual credit classes. The reason why Latinx Opportunities recommends students take AP classes and honors classes is because it distinguishes applicants and can lead to other opportunities like scholarships and special college programs.
The more competitive the college or program, the greater need to take challenging courses. However, we ask that students be wise about which challenging courses to take. For example, I wanted to go to college to study public policy, human rights, and political science. After researching the requirements of various program, I knew I had to take the most challenging classes in social science, english and mathematics. With a list of all the classes I needed to take to graduate and classes for my college applications, I began to draft potential class schedules. Since I knew how much I struggled with science, I simply took the most easy classes for my graduation requirements. My friends on the other hand, wanted to study biology and engineering so they sought to take the most difficult science classes. Three years later, my friends have been accepted into early medical school and veterinary school while I have had the opportunity to work for the US State Department on human rights issues and am applying to law school. I share this information because everyone has their own journey in life and high school is the first checkpoint where you decide where you want to go next. Your classes and grades do matter.
Latinx Opportunities is happy with meet with you virtually to discuss class schedules and offer any free advice!
Your grades are important but colleges
want to see what applicants do outside of
class. For example, some colleges ask
students to list what clubs they are
involved in and ask students write essays
on demonstrating leadership.
Putting aside college application reasons,
being in student clubs is a way for you
really get to know your classmates and for
your classmates to get to know you. A lot
of my friends, I met through clubs and to
this day, we are still friends! At the same
time, student clubs can lead to different
opportunities and allow you to explore
Make Your Summers Count
The summers following sophomore year become more important and we recommend that students look into summer programs and activities to do. summer enrichment programs and discuss the importance of making the most one’s summer by engaging in summer pre-college programs, volunteering, taking classes at the local community center. Visit colleges and start making a list colleges your are interested in.
Continue to maintain good relations
with teachers because by the time
college applications open up, you will
need to reach out to teachers for letters
of recommendation. On average, colleges
ask for 1-3 letters of recommendation,
of which 2 must come from teachers. The
best letters of recommendation are written
when teachers know the students well.
Start those relationships by actively
participating class and earning high grades.
Talk to teachers who specialized in the subjects
you are interested in pursuing as a career.
In addition to good grades and student involvement, colleges love to see applicants with community service experience.
Those who volunteer are seen as civic leaders committed to bettering their communities.
Some clubs in high school are dedicated to volunteering so be sure to check at your school for volunteer opportunities. Check out your local YMCA, public library, elementary & middle schools, and local religious organizations that might be in need of help.
Some of you may already have a dream
career, dream college, or both! Regarding
dream schools, Latinx Opportunities
recommends students to look into the
school acceptance rate, GPA requirement,
and the profile of the newest class to get
a sense of what this school looks for in an
applicant. Schedule a meeting with a college
representative and look at their financial
aid packages. For those with dream
careers, look into what colleges and degrees
professional in that career have. Certain
college are more prestigious for selected
programs. Some careers require additional
years of education such as a master’s degree.
Start Taking Foreign Language Classes
Have you started taking language classes? Even if you are a native Spanish speaker, colleges want 2-4 years of having taken a foreign language class. It is in your best interest to start taking a foreign language class as a freshman and continue through senior year. Here’s why: should you not have any foreign language experience then you will most likely be required to take additional language classes at college. This means paying extra thousands of dollars and less space in your college schedule.
I myself was raised speaking Spanish at home and my reading ability was decent at least prior to starting high school. As a freshman, I was able to take a Spanish class for native speakers where I learned the basic grammar and spelling rules of Spanish. My sophomore year, I took AP Spanish Literature and self-studied for the AP Spanish Language.