Preparing in High School
Students who plan to go to college need to do these things:
- Prepare academically
- Minimum preparation: Take courses to meet high school graduation requirements.
- Better preparation: Meet graduation requirements early so you can take advanced classes.
- Best preparation: Earn college credits through dual credit at a college or university or through Advanced Placement (AP) courses online or at your high school.
- Commit to earning high grades.
- Get involved in your community.
Taking academic courses (English, math, science, etc.) will make you better prepared for college and more attractive to selective colleges.
Take courses that will increase your opportunities to take more advanced classes in high school. This is especially important in mathematics: you need at least three mathematics courses before graduation, beginning with Algebra I, to be prepared for most colleges.
- Pre-Algebra or Algebra I.
Academic preparation: Check with your high school counselor or advisor that you are taking the necessary courses to graduate.
- Algebra I or Geometry
- Physical science
- A foreign language: Many universities (including NMSU) require at least one foreign language course for admission, and some high schools also require a language.
Outside school: Get involved in extracurricular activities. Many scholarships consider community involvement in their awards, and very selective colleges and universities require more for admission than just good grades and test scores.
Check with your high school counselor or advisor to ensure that your science classes will meet graduation and college eligibility requirements.
- English 10
- Geometry or Algebra II
- A science (NMSU requires two years of science courses such as biology, physical science, anatomy, and physics).
Standardized tests. Ask your counselor or advisor about taking the PLAN or the PSAT to prepare for the ACT and SAT. Your guidance office will have registration packets in their office at the beginning of the school year, or register on-line at ACT and SAT.
Career preparation. Begin researching careers. Start by speaking with your counselor about your interests. Talk with community members to gain a better understanding of their profession.
Set your self a high academic challenge. The difficulty and the number of courses you take are important when colleges make admission decisions. Consider taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes if your school offers them. These are often taught at a college level and are excellent preparation for college. AP courses offer an optional test that could earn you college credit, depending on your score and the college or university that you attend.
- English 11
- Math (Algebra II or above)
- Other science, social science, language and elective courses necessary to graduate
Standardized tests. Take either the SAT or ACT this year and again the summer between your junior and senior year.
All ready for college?
- See your guidance counselor to ensure you meet graduation requirements.
- Take the SAT or ACT at least once in the fall.
- Review our admission guidelines to be sure you are on track to attend NMSU!
Don't take it easy this year. One of the best predictors of success in the first year of college is the momentum a student carries through their senior year. Continue to take academic courses and challenge yourself. More tips for your senior year are available by reviewing your senior year check list.
- Student Affairs and Enrollment Management: Undergraduate Admissions
- (575) 646-3121 or (800) 662-6678
- Educational Services Building, Suite A
- MSC 3A / P.O. Box 30001, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001