Reasons to Take College Prep Classes

College prep courses include information about financial aid.
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The college admission process is competitive. Becoming prepared requires planning and hard work. In 2009, ACT reported that 52 percent of high school students going to community colleges are the first in their family to attend. These students are often lacking insight and direction from parents that will help them prepare for college. Across the country, high schools are offering a variety of tools to help all students ready themselves for post-secondary education. College preparatory courses provide insight into what you need to do in advance before applying for college.

1 Career Exploration

Investigating career exploration resources is a critical part of college preparation. Most high school students are uncertain about career options. College preparation includes taking career inventories to explore strengths and interests. In a college preparation course, a teacher will help you learn more about how test results match with possible careers and college majors. This will help you better define what you may want to study. Charting a course that includes goals, an academic plan of action and potential colleges to check out is a critical component of college prep courses. Some programs even include the opportunity for students to hold internships or mirror professionals in a career of interest to gain a better understanding.

2 Advanced Placement Courses

A solid college preparatory program includes a menu of Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses. These high school courses provide challenging material at a faster pace in an effort to prepare students for college level work. In the end, students who work hard will take an A.P. test. A score that meets specific standards could count as college credit. Colleges look favorably on students who choose to take A.P. courses and tests.

3 College Entrance Exam Preparation

Many high schools include test preparation as part of their college readiness programs. It is important to prepare for college entrance exams in advance. If you are engaged in college prep classes, you will better understand how college entrance exams work. Teachers and counselors can help you use the test results to make decisions about high school coursework, career choices and if re-testing is the best option. College prep classes will help you weave all of the information into a package that makes the most sense for you.

4 Staying On Track

Involvement with a college prep class will provide you with specialized resources to help you remain focused. For example, teachers can help you understand how to apply for college and make sure that you meet important deadlines. They can also keep tabs on your academic progress. College prep courses provide goal setting, social support, academic challenge and expertise about the college admission process. Time can slip by quickly so having a professional on your team can make a huge difference.

Dr. Kelly S. Meier is a professor and college administrator for a large public institution in Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree from Western Illinois University and her master's degree and doctorate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She has published more than 15 books on education, group development and diversity.