Preparing for High School Graduation

A high school graduation ceremony is a fun way to wrap-up a major ‘life milestone’. More importantly, a graduation ceremony is a testament to a student’s achievement throughout their four years.  This symbolical ceremony shows that students have acquired the necessary intelligence, academic ability, perseverance, and personal skills necessary to move to the next phase of life: college.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, young adults with a bachelor’s degree earned 57% more than their classmates with only a high school diploma and 105% more than young adults without a high school diploma.

Preparing for graduation begins early.  California College Bound offers some tips for how to prepare.

Tip #1: Prepare for the SAT Exam

The SAT is a standardized test often required for admission to colleges and universities in the United States. The exam is one of the key factors in determining admission into a school and the higher you score, the better the odds of getting accepted into the school of your choice.

Fact: some scholarships are based off SAT scores, as well as some jobs.

Begin preparing for the SAT exams with these recommendations:

  1. Map out a study plan, six months ahead of the exam.
  2. Take a practice tests to determine your skills and areas needing improvement.
  3. Study the areas you scored poorly in.
  4. Become familiar with the instructions on each section of the test. Use different sources to study from.
  5. Build your general skills by reading articles, essays, and books. Practice analyzing what you read.
  6. Take another practice exam. Focus on moving quicker through this exam.
  7. Compare your test scores and determine the areas you scored poorly in.
  8. Study the areas needing improvement.
  9. Three months before the exam, double the amount of time devoted to SAT exam prep, each week.
  10. The month before the SAT, increase your study time to 5-7 night each week.
  11. Take another practice test. Keeping in mind: the faster you can move through the questions, the more time you have to double check your answers.
  12. Relax the evening before the exam. Do not cram or stay up late studying, let your brain rest.

Tip #2: Explore Various College Options and Choose the Right School

The United States has more than 2,000 colleges. Which one is right for you? The process of choosing the right college is overwhelming, especially when you have so many options. Part of making a choice easier is to make a list of what is most important for you, and then determe whether the universities or colleges that you are looking at fit the criteria.

Some important factors to consider when choosing a college:

  • The size of the college
  • The type of the college
  • Graduation rate
  • Student-faculty ratio
  • Research faculty ratio
  • Research opportunities
  • Travel opportunities for students
  • Clubs and activities
  • Good health and wellness facilities
  • Campus safety
  • Strong career services
  • Extra-curricular

Your Major

The major is your specialized area of study. Your major is important because it prepares you for a specific career path or advanced study. Ensure the college you choose offers the coursework required for the career of your dreams. However, remember that some colleges allow you to create your own major.

Financial Aid Packages

Take into consideration the total costs of attending each college, what the colleges are offering, and what your parents can pay.  Also, consider what you can contribute by working during the school year in the summer. 

Tip #3: Location

As much as academics play a huge role in determining the right school for a student, so does location. Where do you want to study? Do you desire a place with a certain type of weather? Do you love a natural setting or an exciting city life? Are you ready to be far away from home?  Check out these California College Bounds articles to find your perfect location:

Tip #4: Take a College Tour

A college tour is a series of campus visits to various colleges or universities

College tours serve the following purposes:

  • To write a killer ‘Why Us’ essay

Some colleges ask applicants to write this kind of an essay as part of their application process. The essay is aimed at ensuring that the student has specific knowledge of the college’s culture, courses, professors and other opportunities available. A student’s essay will stand out more if it reveals something unique about the college that the student picked during the tour instead of merely regurgitating what is in college’s website.

  • To officially demonstrate your interest in the school

Admission committees are very secretive about their processes. Therefore, students do not have a clear picture of how admission officers consider each piece of their application. Colleges keep track of who visits their school and it is in a student’s favor for the college to have their name on its visit records.

  • Other compelling reasons to take out a college tour include:
  • Get a firsthand view of the city and the school.
  • Get answers to all your questions from admission officers, students, and professors.
  • Get valuable information: brochures, financial aid forms, etc.

Check out one of California College Bound’s many tours at

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