Hey! I’m in 8th grade. You may be thinking “what the heck? this guy is too young to be looking for colleges”. What can I say? I like to plan early! I have pretty good grades (All A’s and few B’s) and I’ve taken the PSAT’s and I did pretty well.
So I really want to double major in theatre and biology (or chemistry).
Honestly the only attributes I’d like the college/university to have is a strong campus life.
YES it is way too early to look at colleges. You will change, grow, and evolve over the years in many ways (ex. socially, in terms of your interests etc.) – the perfect college for you in 8th grade may not be the perfect college for you in 12th grade. If you start choosing now you may find yourself feeling tied to a school that is no longer the best fit when you actually are ready to go to college. Plus you have no HS grades and no standardized testing so it is impossible to know where you will fall out academically. PLEASE wait until you are in late 10th or early 11th grade to look at specific schools.
The way to plan early is to: 1) do as well as you can in the most rigorous courseload you can manage; 2) get involved in things you like (particularly in HS) – follow those interests with passion and work towards eventually taking on leadership roles; 3) when the time comes study for standardized tests. And be sure to find time to enjoy your friends and family.
Life is so much more than preparing for college. Middle school and high school are important growth experiences in an of themselves and should be valued and appreciated. If you look too far ahead you may miss what is right in front of you.
Please get off of CC and come back when you are a junior in HS.
Start looking into college as a freshman at the earliest. Props to you for wanting to be prepared and thinking early, but what you want is definitely going to change by senior year so don’t stress about it right now.
Please don’t fall into the trap of looking at high school as pre-college. It’s its own thing. These years are your youth. What a gift. Embrace it as such. Work hard and also enjoy yourself. Explore different things. Do things because you want to do them, not because you think they are what an ideal prospective student would do. That will be best for college admissions but, much more importantly, it will help you find out who you are. That is really what these years are for–finding out who you are and figuring out how to negotiate the significant transition from childhood to adulthood. Imagine you are a college admissions officer. Would you be more enthusiastic to have someone in your school’s community who worked hard and was motivated, yes, but was also fun and had a well-developed self-awareness, and knew how to have fun, or someone who had checked a lot of boxes. Go be a high school student–have a blast–and work hard–then come back here three years from today. Have fun and good luck in high school, and college!
I think even freshman year is too early. I wouldn’t start putting together a college list until junior year of high school - your preferences and needs will change so much in the ensuing years.
BUT I will say I don’t think there’s a problem staying on CC and lurking around to observe, as long as you keep it in perspective and don’t obsess. I wish I had had something like CC when I was in early high school so I would’ve known more about the application process and financial aid - I didn’t discover it until after I had already started college.
Yes, agree 100%. I was mostly kidding when I tongue-in-cheek suggested staying off CC. No harm there at all. There is lots of useful info. I just hope younger students prioritize having adventures, climbing mountains, wading streams, looking at bugs, exploring (alone and with others), getting to know people, having difficult conversations, singing songs, reading stories, and laughing at all the funny things in the world. Those are the things that will best help them learn about themselves.
Focus on doing well and having (productive) fun.Do not sacrifice sleep, as research has proved lack of sleep harms your body, your growth, and your brain. (You should be getting about 9 hours of sleep right now.)
Make sure you have 4 years of English, 4 years of social/science history, foreign language through level 3, 4, or AP, math through pre-calculus or calculus, each of bio, chemistry, physics, plus some classes you’re really interested in on top of the previous ones. An art/music class can be a good idea (mandatory for California.)
Ask your parents if they’ve set money aside for your college - if not, ask whether they might be willing to (529 for instance).