Get a Head Start on College

Get a Head Start on College (2:40) – Advice to students preparing for college from Alece Plasencia, Academic Counselor at the Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA) in Los Angeles

Okay, so if you are a highly motivated student and you want to get a head start on college, take advantage of when your counselor says, “Do you want to try AP or honors?” The answer is yes. You want to try. You want to try and you want to do as well as possible for many reasons.

First of all, you get a taste of what college courses are like, an AP course is actually a college course. The other reason is because colleges actually look at that on your transcript. They look and see that you’ve taken courses of rigor, they call it, and they know that you’re a more motivated student and therefore your chances of being accepted are that much greater. So AP honor courses, the rigor, you want to have that on your transcript. You want to challenge yourself.

That’s during the school year. For summertime, you can take college courses at community colleges. Many students don’t know that. And those courses are actually free. Your counselor just needs to approve the course and sign a paper. It’s one form, and the course is actually free. There’s no fees involved whatsoever, and you can take several college classes during the summertime. So that’s one of the things I recommend for my students.

The other thing is you may want to get involved in a college program. Many colleges have programs at their university where you stay there, you sleep there and take courses there at the university. So there are many programs out there. But you as a student need to investigate and sign up and watch for deadlines. That’s one of the things that many students forget.

I tell students in this day of digital, everyone has a phone, put reminders on your phone to submit your applications on a timely manner ahead of the deadline, not on the day of because the system might crash. But you want to make sure you’re applying for those early. It’s early spring, actually, that the applications are up for summer. So it’s almost four to five months ahead of the schedule. So don’t wait till the last minute is another thing that students need to be aware of.

But yes, definitely college classes, AP courses, honors classes and any college program that colleges might offer.