Prepping for College
Will German grammar and flipping burgers mean anything to your career?
Actually, yes. Pretty much everything you do in high school (in terms of academics and extracurricular activities, that is) touches on a skill that will help you on the road to CPA-hood. And if you found yourself wondering how giving away fewer packets of ketchup could impact the bottom line, you may have an undeniable future in accounting. But for now, your main goal in high school? Prepare for college. And as the biggest investment of your life so far, college requires plenty of planning, time and money.
While you might not be ready to think about college, it’s important to start planning early to avoid major road bumps later on. Understanding your choices today will make choosing a college easier, plus the classes and tests you take now will impact how much scholarship money you’ll be awarded, how quickly you’ll be able to graduate, and which internships you’ll have access to.
Are you ready for what’s next? Take a look at the checklist below and try to implement most, if not all, of these steps into your pre-college preparation process.
- Have a good relationship with your high school counselor—The more your counselor knows about your goals, the better they can advise you on what classes to take and extracurricular activities to get involved in. If you want to learn more about career opportunities for accounting majors, ask. Be sure to take responsibility for your own choices and what’s best for you. Counselors work with many students and the burden can be heavy.
- Prepare early for the PSAT and/or SAT test—Starting early will give you an opportunity to understand your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to these tests. Keep in mind, accounting majors have to have strong math skills, but that’s not all. Focus on your overall score, not just math. While it may seem like an arduous process, the more you familiarize yourself with the test and understand the types of questions to expect, the better your scores will be.
- Volunteer in your community—While all colleges and universities look for stellar academics, they also look for volunteer efforts, which indicate a well-rounded student. Do you need to sleep in every Saturday morning? Wake up and spend some time with local groups that will benefit from your time and you can learn something from the activity. Ask your local food bank if they need help in their accounting department. We’re pretty sure they’ll be thrilled to have you.
- Start thinking about teacher recommendations—Most schools require recommendations from your high school teacher(s) since they know you best academically. If you’re 1000% sure accounting is for you, be sure to get a glowing letter from your math teacher. Ideally, this is someone who has known you since before your senior year. Typically, most college applications are due during your senior year; it’s difficult for a senior teacher to write a well-informed letter based on your performance as a student. Creating lasting bonds with your teachers from freshman to junior year will be to be an invaluable effort on your part.
- Know what college(s) you’d like to apply to—Understanding what criteria you need to have to impress the college of your choice will be one of the most important things you can do. Who has a strong accounting program? Will you have to wait until your junior year to start taking accounting classes? The last thing you want is to be blindsided by an unknown requirement that could be the one factor standing between you and an acceptance letter. Being in contact with the school(s) of your choice will also prove to be beneficial as you begin to form a relationship with the admissions office.
Big Things To Do
- Prep for and take the ACT or SAT
- Begin researching schools and majors with advice from your guidance counselor
- Search and apply for scholarships (the more, the merrier)
- Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) if you want financial aid for school
- Maintain good grades
Not as Big But Still Important Things to Do
- Visit the colleges you’re considering
- Talk with an advisor and other students in college business programs
- Get involved to show you’re well-rounded (join clubs, teams, organizations, etc.)