Preparing for College: Middle School & High School

I’ve been wanting to talk about college for forever (obviously, something near and dear to my heart seeing as though I’m, well, in college aha), but I had no clue how to organize it — there’s so much to say! So I figured I would do something special this week — 5 posts all about applying to college, planning a dorm room on a budget, and going Greek.

To kick off College Week, it seems natural to start at the beginning — the “what you should be doing before you actually have to apply” section. This is for the middle school student and high school freshman, sophomore, & junior.

They Call It Passion

Do what you love, and don’t waste time doing things you don’t. But aim to become an expert in the field(s) that you love, and that often means seeking out opportunities beyond the doors of your middle/high school. If you don’t have one “passion,” that’s ok! Don’t feel pressured to devote yourself to one thing — chances are that even in college, you’ll always be discovering new “passions.”

Take Advantage of Opportunities Reserved for Middle/High School Students!

Honestly though, there are some amazing ALL-INCLUSIVE programs available. In high school, I did a summer journalism internship at The O.C. Register and also did a summer criminal justice program where I got to meet the District Attorney, tour federal buildings, and travel through the justice system (catch that feature image? 😉 ). My younger brother is really into coin collecting, and every summer, he goes on a paid trip to Colorado to take classes about coins. There’s really cool things to do! Use your age to your advantage — here are some great sites I found with high school opportunities:

Create Opportunities of Your Own

No one is stopping you from starting an on-the-side Etsy business, blog (cannot stress how many fields this touches upon — marketing, PR, writing, photography, and whatever you want to write about!), club, organization, whatever! Sending cold emails — an email where you don’t know the executive you’re emailing and just introduce yourself — are great too! If you know somewhere you want to work, it never hurts to show initiative! Read this article for more information, and here’s an easy template:

Dear Mr(s). [Last Name],

My name is XXX and I’m a [freshman/sophomore/junior/senior] student at [name of middle/high school]. I am interested in [person’s field] and looking for a [semester] internship.

[Write 1-2 sentences about what you love about the person’s company/business.]

[Write 1-2 sentences about what you could contribute to the company.]

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely/Best/Kind Regards/Regards,

[Full Name]


Read about anything and everything — it helps build your vocab and because everything in the world is connected, and the things you learn from books will help you in school and in life.

Those Standardized Tests (aka SAT, ACT, and Subject Tests)

Junior year is the year that a lot of people stress about. It matters, so don’t overdo yourself with classes and tests. To break down the tests, the SAT and ACT are looked at equally. I’d say the ACT is a little more straightforward, but I recommend practicing both and seeing which one you like more. I took only the ACT and was accepted to 8/11 schools I applied to (waitlisted at 2 Ivies, and rejected from 1). Don’t forget about Subject Tests! A lot of school require you to take 2 now, so the scores are good to have. They’re 1-hour tests that focus in on a subject — do them in the subjects you feel the most comfortable with (I did U.S. History and Literature, and now I’m an English major with a history minor, so you see what I mean).

Experience and Enjoy

Have fun. Build experiences, and love where you’re at! That’s the best advice I can give. 🙂

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And feel free to comment below with questions. Or email me here! 🙂



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