How Should Teens Prepare For College?

How Should Teens Prepare For College?

Written by Elaine Wilson, Posted on , in Section Essential Reads

Talk of college is everywhere in the media. Many teens hear how they need to prepare for their higher education, but besides “get good grades,” what have they really been told?

Good grades are important, but they are certainly not the only thing a university or program will consider.

In fact, many administrators admit that they do not prefer someone with a perfect GPA; rather, they look at the entire picture. A person with a few B’s and a couple of C’s may not feel as though they are very competitive in the process of applications—but this actually indicates that they weren’t so fully focused on their actual grades that they didn’t experience anything else. Actives after school, clubs, volunteer work, and even a steady job can give the picture of someone who can handle the many aspects that going to a university brings. College students do not spend every moment in class, or studying; many have jobs, and others may find themselves in charge of campus activates and groups. A college student must be able to juggle.

Even if your teen has had some time with bad grades, being able to significantly recover and maintain a better GPA afterward can still be immensely helpful. To prospective schools, this indicates an ability to overcome hardship and succeed. 

Looking To The Future

Getting all of the “hard” classes out of the way in high school and sliding through a few easy ones at the end is not recommended either. In an article titled How To Get Your Teen Prepared For College, the author points out, “It is not unusual for students to work hard the first few years to ensure they have an easier course load their senior year. But senior year is often the period that prospective colleges look at first. Has your student stuck to his or her goals? Kept involved? This will often be a predictor of how they will do through several years of college.”

In that vein, many students have made the choice to utilize “dual enrollment” and receive their associate’s degree along with their high school diploma. This is a fantastic option for so many, as it saves a lot of money—the tuition is significantly less than what it would normally be—and, of course, time. How nice would it be for your teen to spend two years getting their bachelor’s degree, rather than four? They can pursue other degrees or jobs that much sooner.

College can be a wonderful thing, and it’s important for your teen to realize its importance: careers, growth, and even amazing friendships are all brought about by obtaining a college degree. It is never too soon to consider the ways in which your teen can prepare; when they jump to the front of the line in those college applications, or find themselves graduating that much sooner, you both will find the extra effort extremely worth it.


Cedar Ridge Academy is an international college preparatory boarding school that has a keen focus on academics and unique life experiences. All of our students go on to enjoy amazing success in higher education. To find out more, call us at (435) 353-4498.