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Guidance » Education After High School

Education After High School

Education After High School:  Keeping Your Options Open
Many high school students may not know yet what they want to do with their future or how to get ready for it.  That is perfectly okay!  Your high school years are the perfect time to figure out what interests you, what you are good at and seeing how those interests and skills translate to a career or occupation.  One of the most important things you can do right now is to set yourself up with lots of choices and options when you graduate.  By furthering your education and training, you will give yourself the opportunity to choose what you want to do, rather than being told that your options are limited.
Here are some things to keep in mind and do that will give you the greatest number of options for college:
Course Selection
  • Take the greatest number of classes you can (e.g., 6 or 7 classes; a Zero period class)
  • Take more than the number of years required as the minimum.  Many colleges are so selective that the minimum requirement will NOT be enough to gain acceptance.  For example, if only 2 years of a foreign language are listed as the minimum requirement, consider taking 3 or even 4 years of the same language.
  • Take the hardest class you can (e.g., Honors or AP), if you are recommended for these by your teacher and Guidance Advisor.  Or, if you feel confident and willing to put in the extra effort.
Take the PSAT
  • Take the PSAT your Sophomore and Junior years to prepare for the SAT. Remember the PSAT is only offered in the fall (usually in October).
  • Taking the PSAT your Junior year qualifies you for National Merit Scholarships.
  • More information about the PSAT can be found here:
Take the SAT and ACT
  • These two tests are quite different and some students do much better on one than the other.  See this article by Princeton Review about these two tests.  
  • Some colleges prefer one of these tests to the other.  By taking both you will have scores ready for any college that appeals to you!
  • Your plans may change.  While you may currently think (and be convinced) that you will go straight to a 2-year or community college (which do not require the SAT or ACT), you may find your plans and goals change.  By taking these tests, you give yourself the chance to apply to a 4-year college or university.  
Take SAT Subject Tests
  • If you are taking Honors or AP classes, sign up to take the SAT Subject Test for that subject in May or June.  Many private schools require 1 to 2 SAT Subject Tests, and although UCs no longer require them, having them may be a way of showing your aptitude in and dedication to a subject.
  • If you are fluent in a language other than English, look for the SAT Subject Test that applies to that language.
Get involved at Del Mar
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities at Del Mar!  There are many clubs at Del Mar
  • Do you play an instrument?  Join the band.  Like to sing?  There's a choir, too.  Or, you can try out for a sports team, a part in the theater production.  If student leadership is your thing, think about running for an ASB position.  Like debating?  How about mock trial?!
  • By immersing yourself in clubs and activities, you will meet new people, make new friends and more than likely have a more enjoyable high school experience.  You may even find a new hidden talent or passion of yours!
Check out Private Colleges
  • The state of California has some of the top public colleges and universities in the nation.  However, broaden your scope and include in- or out-of-state private colleges.  Many private colleges provide "needs-based" financial aid to students, but only some colleges provide "merit-based" aid.  Check out this NY Times article for more on this.