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Check out our new Study Hall Channel: https://www.youtube.com/studyhall

In this episode of Crash Course: How to College, Erica talks us through what preparing for college could entail and how we can be active in that preparation. Applying to college is exciting and stressful and lots of other things that cause a whole lot of emotions. But you can take steps now that will make the college admissions process a lot easier once you get to that point.

Links to the resources listed in this video:
GED: https://ged.com/
Kaplan: https://www.kaptest.com/study/
Career assessment tests: https://www.careeronestop.org/ https://www.mynextmove.org/explore/ip
National College Attainment Network: https://www.ncan.org/general/custom.asp?page=MemberDirectory
Upward Bound: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/trioupbound/index.html

Crash Course: How to College is part of Study Hall, a partnership between ASU and Crash Course. Head over to our new Study Hall channel to check out our Fast Guide series which break down different college majors.

Get a list of upcoming episodes for Fast Guides and How to College at https://gostudyhall.com/

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Whether you're roaming the high seas or moving across the country all by yourself to start fresh, all adventures begin with the same step: planning and preparation. And college is no different.

Applying to college is exciting, stressful and lots of other things that cause a whole spectrum of emotions. But you can take steps now that will make the college admissions process a lot easier once you get to that point. If you're not quite sure where to start, we've got you.

Hi, Erica Brozovsky and this is Crash Course: How to College, a study hall series presented in partnership with Arizona State University and Crash Course.

College is all about a lot of things, and all those new experiences can get overwhelming. That's why it's so importatnt to get organized early. You'll probably need certain documents over and over. And it's a tremendous pain to have to dig through your desk drawers or your downloads folders to find them every time. So it's a good idea to create a file system that works for you, like a separate college prep folder on your computer, that has all these documents.

In general, setting up a storage system that makes it easy to find your documents will save lots of time in the long run. And it's even worth deciding on a naming convention or a format for how you name all your documents so even if you lose something, you know how to search for it. Something simple that also explains what the thing is usually works, like "Brozovsky Personal Statement".

Once you've gotten organized, the next step is to think about your goals for the future. This helps you focus on what is most important to you in a school. Short-term goals are goals that are able to be achieved in a few weeks or months.

When preparing to apply to college, a short-term goal might be to get all your documents organized. They can also be goals focused on helping us become more well-rounded students, like maintaining a personal calendar to help you manage your time, or reading a new book each month to expand your knowledge and interests.

Long-term goals require longer periods of consistent work to achieve. A long-term goal could be maintaining a 3.0 Grade Point Average through your senior year of high school. 3.0 is the national average for high school students throughout

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throughout the United States, and it's a GPA that can help you get accepted to most colleges.

Or maybe your long-term goal is to one day own your own business, and knowing that can help you decide what colleges to apply for, like maybe you wanna research schools that are knowing for business degrees or trades schools that will help you  develop skills to set up your company. We can revisit and adjust our goals as often as we need, but we wanna make sure they're realistic and measurable.

Then we can figure out what steps we need to take to achieve them. And no matter where you are in life, thinking about what additional courses can help you prepare for college is another important step on our planning journey. If you're in high school, this might mean challenging yourself with Honors, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate programs - these are programs designed to be more rigorous in some ways and help high school students prepare for college-level courses.

AP and IB courses also let you earn college credit by taking a final exam at the end of the course. Dual-enrollment courses mean you'e earning high school and college credits at the same time. Unlike AP and IB, many dual-enrollment courses are available to students taking the GED in liu of traditional high school classes.

AP, IB and dual-enrollment courses can have additional fees but they're great opportunities to earn college credits for a lot less money before you even start college, which gives you a head start. And by starting college with a few credits under your belt, you can make more time during your degree for extra experiences like studying abroad and internships. What we're doing here with Study Hall, a collaboration between Arizona State University and Crash Course, is providing a path to start learning academic courses on YouTube, which lead directly into college credit courses.

You can start any time without applying to the university, pay after you complete the course and be able to transfer the credits to most universities. It's also never too early to think about specific steps in the admissions process like prepare for college entrance exams which are exams like the SAT and ACT which measure how different groups perform relative to others. You can prepare for these by taking prep exams like the PSAT and PreACT.

One of the biggest advantages of taking these preliminary exams is that you can get to know the testing process and the types of questions you'll need to answer. Colleges will not see your scores

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for these practice exams, so this is a great way to practice with less pressure.

Since it's possible to improve your score, some educators recommend taking a standardized test twice. You may even be able to combine your scores from different exams dates.

So if you were crushing the math section the first time but not the second, you may be able to combine that math score with another test's English or writing scores. This is called super scoring. Some students will also need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL.

The TOEFL test is required if you need to show proficiency in speaking the English language. And if you want to apply to college but did not receive a traditional high school diploma, you will need to take the General Education Development test, or GED, The GED is made up of four separate tests on different subjects but you do not have to take each part at the same time. You can learn more about test topics, format and costs at GED.com.

College entrance exams can be a stressful step, but you can prepare for them just like the rest of the college process. Each of these exams serves a different purpose. It can help you show colleges your knowledge in a different way.

But requirements can change based on lots of different circumstances, so make sure you research what exams different college require; Some schools don't require any at all. Colleges are always trying to improve their admissions systems, and some schools, like the University of California colleges, are experimenting with test-blind admissions, which means they won't look at standardized test scores even if students submit them. It's hard to predict how admissions departments will weigh and handle the SAT and ACT in the future, but for now, you should know that the tests can help you stand out if you do well.

And you can excel on them with the right preparation. And as you research college entrance exams, you can know other information that can help you meet your post-high school goals, like the names, locations and costs of attendance for these colleges, or just what you like about the college and why you feel like it might be the right fit for you. And it doesn't hurt to look into at least two ways you can pay for college tuition and fees.

While some students and their families use out-of-pocket savings to  cover college costs, up to 86% of college students use some form of financial aid, which may include scholarships, grants, and federal or private loans.

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The sooner you start reviewing your financial aid options, the more prepared you'll be to choose the ones that work best for you.

And don't worry, we'll talk about paying for college in a later episode. Now that you're all organized, you can put all this information into your college preparation folder.

There are a lot of logistics that go into the college admissions process, but we can also prepare for the core of the college experience, where we're going to spend a so much time studying. One way to discover your interests and strengths is through volunteering. Say you really love animals and you think you want to become a zoo-keeper.

One of the best ways to find out about zoo-keeping is to volunteer at your local zoo. This gives you a chance to see how a zoo operates behind the scenes, lets you do more work with animals and meet zoo-keepers that you can ask about their job. That way, you're better equipped to decide whether if it's really something you want to pursue.

Volunteering is also a great way to stay on track. According to Kaplan, which provides educational and training services to colleges, student who engage in volunteer work are 19%  more likely to graduate high school on time. It's a win-win.

Another path you can take to fogure out what you're interested in is shadowing, observing someone that works in a field you're interested in. While shadowing, you get to see what a typical day looks like in a job you want to know more about. This is also a good way to make connections with working professionals and learn more about potential career options.

But don't stop there. You can also try taking career or interest assessment on websites like CareerOneStop and O*Net. As you begin seeing careers that you might like, take note of the educational requirements needed to pursue those careers.

Then, once you start college, you can work with an academic advisor to select courses that can help you meet those requirements. In general, college is about learning. And that includes learning about yourself, making new friends and trying out new stuff.

But don't wait until you start college to do this. Look for different clubs, groups and sports programs that you can join. Like in most high schools, you can participate in the marching band, ROTC, student government, debate and other activities.

And outside high schools, you can demonstrate your qualifications and dedication with other experiences like working a part-time job or starting a podcast as character building activities that can help you excel in college. If you want to give back to your community, you might also consider community service. These may or may not be places

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that develop your academic interests, but rely on people in the community to help provide much needed resources.

Check with your high school guidance counselor to see if they can recommend local organizations where you could share your time and energy. But most importantly, don't limit yourself.

Show your college preparedness through babysitting, working in a family business, assisting with local events, and other activities that build your critical thinking skills and demonstrate that you can handle responsibility and work with a team. Okay. But let's talk about something we all need to focus on from time to time.

Staying inspired. Let's go to the though bubble. Applying to college is relatively lengthy process, so it's easy to lose that inspiration and then miss deadlines.

So, here are a couple of ways you can help yourself stay inspired. One, identify people in your life who want to support you in your education. This is your network.

Your network of people should consist of trustworthy people who want to help you meet your goals. This may include friends, family members, coworkers or school peers. Tell them how they can support you in achieving your college plans, offer to support them in their endeavours as well.

Two, write down your goals and keep them in a visible place, like a vision board or journal. You can even just use post-its on a mirror or your computer screen. Hold yourself accountable for meeting them by setting a deadline for each goal.

If you need to, ask a trusted friend, mentour or family member to help hold you accountable. And three, whenever possible, do at least one thing each week that helps you prepare for college. In addition to the things we went over like setting goals and building your network, look for college readiness programs that can help you transition from high school to college.

Visit your high school's admissions office, guidance office or student success center to ask about these programs. Many are offered by community agencies like your nearest YMCA or YWCA, national organizations like Edmentum, and local nonprofits, like Big Brothers Big Sisters. Some colleges even offer scholarships to students who participate in them.

Thanks, though bubble. Finding support to keep you inspired is important to help keep you focused on your goals. In fact, we encourage you to start research programs like this as early as possible.

Information about college readiness programs isn't always readily available.

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So be proactive and contact multiple organizations to find the best program for you.

The National College Attainment Network is a nonprofit that builds communities through post-secondary education, social equity, and economic well-being. Reach out to a chapter in your area to get your questions answered by one of their representatives.

This network can serve as a great resource, as can programs like Upward Bound, which partners with colleges and universities to offer college preparation resources to low income or first generation students. Similarly, pre-college programs can help you as well. These summer programs are designed to expose students to life on a college campus.

Be sure to enquire about these programs with the specific college or university you're interested in ahead of time since fees, enrollment requirements and program offerings differ across colleges. But just to make sure that you have everything you need, let's talk a bit about being competitive. While it's true that all colleges look for students that can excel academically, each school you're interested in will hold a different set of values.

For example, many liberal arts colleges value a diverse education that covers several topics. To be competitive in applying for a school like this, you should share your passion for learning multiple subjects, such as history, literature, and philosophy, and show an interest in analyzing complex topics. The same is true for art schools, research universities, women's colleges, and historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs.

While these schools all value education, they have other values that cater to specific populations and special interests. Ultimately, universities want to know who you are, what your unique perspective is, and how your goals align with the institutional culture, values and programs. This about a time when you took on a new responsibility, learned a new skill or persevered at something to achieve success.

Share that with the college when it's time to apply. Explain that you are ready to meet the academic requirements of the college but that you're also ready uphold its values. And, if you're not quite ready, let them know that you have what it takes to get ready.

Wherever you may find yourself in preparing for college, know that there are resources in your school and your community that can support you. As you discover the ones that fit you best, think about taking the steps we've talked about in this video to get your college prep off on the right foot.

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Thanks for watching this episode of Crash Course How to College.

This series is part of an expanded program called Study Hall. Crash Course has partnered with Arizona State University to launch Study Hall on its own channel.

Check out youtube.com/studyhall where you'll find more tips about navigating college, choosing a major, plus foundational courses connected to college credit courses that students struggle with most in their first two years. We hope to see you over there.