How to Make the Perfect Fall Semester Class Schedule



Spring is done, and fall is right around the corner. That means it’s time to start thinking about next year’s classes and schedules. With a little bit of prep work and planning, you can easily build a schedule that works for you. These are the steps you need to follow if you want to make the perfect fall class schedule and rock your fall registration.


Step One: Check Your Registration Status

All schools do registration differently. Some prioritize seniors, while others do a random pick. You may be required to register in person if you’re a freshman or will be totally on your own if you’re an upperclassman. Most, however, separate students into some kind of group which designates the orders in which you will register.

In many cases, you may qualify for what is frequently called “priority registration.” This designation is to give students who need a leg up on other students a chance to register in the first few rounds. If you think you may qualify, check with your advisor as soon as possible.


Step Two: Learn the Rules on Add/Drops

Many schools provide you with the ability to register for a larger amount of classes than you actually need. This allows you to use the time before the drop period ends to see what courses work best for you. In other words, you’ve got a few days to a week to explore what’s out there!

Still, make sure you understand the rules about how to register for classes you may want to drop later. And, be sure to put a reminder in your calendar to drop the classes you decide against before the drop deadline!


Step Three: Knock Out Your Requirements First, Electives Last

Most advisors will recommend that you spend your first few semesters in college knocking out your pre-reqs first, especially if you’re not 100% sure about your major. These classes often fill up quickly, so be sure you have learned the schedules of those classes and monitor them if you’re registering near the end so you can snatch up the last seats quickly.

Electives, while important, should be the last thing on your mind. They should fill up the gaps in your schedule and be your most flexible in terms of timing in case you need to swap them out for a more important class.


Step Four: Find a Balance

It’s crucial that you know what your classes are like before you enroll. Use sites like to feel out if you’re in for a ton of work or if the class is one you can float by. You can also request a syllabus from last year’s class if the professor’s been around for a while.

Try to find a good mix of challenging and fun. If the class is too easy or dry, you’ll be bored and disinterested. If it’s overly difficult, you’ll likely drop out or burn out by midterms. Understand your comfort level, and don’t push too hard unless absolutely necessary.


Step Five: Double and Triple Check Your Schedule Plans

One of the easiest mistakes to make when it comes to registration is not understanding your required classes! Everyone from seniors to freshman do this, so you really do need to loop in your advisor in if you have any questions or concerns. Have them look over your plan A and plan B schedule and keep an ongoing list of your required courses on hand so that you can review with them if there are questions.

While you may have their help, it is on you to get your registration right. By coming prepared, having a plan, and doing your research, you can make a fall class schedule that’s perfect for you.

Use Your Summer Job to Catapult Your Summer


“Summertime, go get a job!”

Have you heard that one yet? I remember hearing that from many people when I was in High School. Oddly, it mostly came from people that I rarely saw, didn’t really know what I was doing with my life, and just liked to offer unsolicited advice. I am all about maximizing the time you have during the summer because most don’t. If you do have a job or will find one for the summer, approach it with the right mindset because that is how you will get the most impact.

Your summer job is really for your development. Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be careers. That isn’t what they are meant to be. You’ll find yourself moving out of those types of jobs by maximizing the time you have when you start. Understand that. Your summer job is a foundation step for your career.

Over the summer, you can develop specific skills that will help catapult your career. Accountability, organization, communication, and work, to name a few.


Be the best at whatever your responsibilities are. They may seem small or time spent wasted to you, but you are literally getting paid to fulfill these responsibilities, so they mean something to the business you work for. If you are a cashier, never leave a till unbalanced. If you stock shelves, establish an incredible organization system. Take pride in what you do and max it out. Yes, people will tell you to “calm down, slow down, or stop taking it so seriously” but in reality, you aren’t truly focusing only on today, you are trying to build a mentality that will propel your tomorrow. This will help you establish a habit of accountability. That way, when you start classes again in the Fall, or move on to the next job, you are ready to maximize every class and every responsibility you have even when you know it is only short term.


Starting a new job means you’ll be adjusting your daily schedule around this new role. Start planning your time so that you are never late. Fit in a solid morning routine, get what you need to get done outside of your job, but do not be late. Once you are at work, organize your flow in the way you get things done. Find the best way to work. Try new things, try new ways, improve the process. This is another habit that will give you success in school and later jobs. You’ll know how to change up the way you study or take notes, you’ll know how to take on new projects in later jobs. You’ll be able to get more done.


No matter the job, you’ll work with people. Maybe it is only the same three that you see and talk to every shift, maybe you consistently meet different people every day. Life is all people. Start practicing the skill of developing relationships with people. Great communication will present you with more opportunities than you ever thought possible. Focus on seeking to understand, help them get what they want, and let them know you appreciate them. This will help you as you later work with classmates and professors, and future people you will interact with in future jobs.


More than anything, you’ve got to get it done! Make sure you are the employee that gets their stuff done. Even though you know this summer job is not forever, don’t waste your time. You’ll waste your time if you drag your feet. You’ll get more out of it when you build your ability to get things done. This mentality and habit will propel you through the rest of school and you will be ready to make some big things happen when you are ready to jump into your career.

Your summer job is more than just having something to do now right? Right. Go get it done. Build yourself into a better human. Start now, and go get it.

Five Successful Habits from Incredible Student Leaders

I have been lucky to work with some incredible students. These students have earned 3.8+ GPAs, been high performers in Student Leadership positions, worked part-time, and made incredible memories. They lived the dream, right? I’ve put together five trends I have seen from the incredible, and if you start applying these you will see incredible results too.

The number one thing incredible students have in common is urgency. Every successful student and successful person for that matter has urgency. They feel like they don’t have time to waste and they never stop growing or learning. It is ok you have to take a class with content you don’t care about, the incredible students understand that they will have to do things they aren’t passionate about in their future job too. Now matters. So if you are in a class where you don’t see a purpose, find a purpose. Why spend any of your time frustrated, bored, or coasting? Be fueled by the desire to achieve.

The second trend of incredible students is that they have an elevated circle of influence. Your friends, the people you spend the most time around, help you determine what is acceptable. That means how much time you study, what grades you pursue, and how hard you work. If you want to increase any of those levels, start elevating your circle of influence. The incredible students I worked with were selective with those they spent time around. Even within their Student Leadership teams, the incredible students still surrounded themselves with others that supported and pushed their levels of effort.

Being an incredible student is no cakewalk. These students were always the busiest that I knew. To operate at that level they had to manage their time and relationships well. Incredible students break down their classes and their time. They know what is coming, what has to be done, and who they need to involve to help them get there. Incredible students build and maintain relationships with their teachers, even the ones in classes that don’t cover their favorite subjects. If you want to be incredible, learn to communicate and organize your time. You only get today once, are you gonna waste it?

To be incredible, you have to know yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? The incredible students identify these and then focus only on maximizing their strengths. Use your strengths to boost your performance and figure out how to excel. If you aren’t very organized but communicate really well, then always communicate with your teachers, classmates, and bosses. Increase your level of communication and your relationships will help you stay on top of your responsibilities.

Incredible students live above the opinions of others. These high performing leaders aren’t bothered when people call them nerds, or boring, or a loner. You will never please everyone, so why waste any time worrying about the expectations of others. Live in your own reality, and remember, just because someone says something or you have a negative thought doesn’t mean you have to believe it.

You’ll notice that none of those trends have anything to do with natural talent. Maximizing your strengths doesn’t mean developing new ones, it is identifying what you have instead of worrying about what you don’t. Effort, focus, priorities, and work. That is what will get you there. Which of these trends do you need to work on? How will you adapt these to your situation? Figure it out, start doing, and start being incredible.

Make this the Best Summer Ever


There is no off-season for champions. Those that max out their success simply move from performance to preparation. Think athletes, musicians, but also you. Students who look at the summer as their off-season miss out on a valuable time to develop themselves. Without the time constraints of going to class and studying, you now have an incredible opportunity to truly invest in yourself.

If you aren’t investing in yourself, you aren’t growing. So you can spend the four-month break between semesters on cruise control, or aggressively make moves. I was a College Athlete and much of my success came from the development I gained in the summer. Hitting the weights and working on technique lead to leaps and bounds of improvement that set me apart from others. When I connected those principles of growth to my professional and leadership development, I saw immediate results. You can spend intentional time investing in yourself during the summer to make you a stronger leader and work on developing specific habits and skills that will help you catapult your career.

I know that students aren’t often taught to work on leadership development while a student. All your focus should only be on your classes alone, right? I am a huge advocate for education and have high goals for myself as well, but your time as a student can go extremely underutilized if you don’t work on your own development in addition to gaining your education. Call it the “other” education, the social and leadership skills you need to know to understand how to use the education you gain in the classroom in the real world. If you do both, you’ll see double the results! A diploma and the leadership capabilities to make an immediate impact in your career.

There are a few ways you can catapult your development during the summer. Start with these:

Recognize Your Values and Goals

If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands during the summer (and even if you don’t) then you should spend some time identifying what is most important to you. Find your number one priorities. Identify your passions and what you truly want to accomplish in life. You know the questions, students get asked them all the time. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your major? What are you going to do with that? I remember feeling the social pressure to give a specific job title as an answer to all of these questions, and turns out I didn’t pursue any of them. The first job I had in my career was not even one that I knew existed while in High School. Don’t feel tied down to a job title unless you know that is exactly what you want to do. Instead, make a list of what you want your life to look like 10 years from now. Where do you live? What do you do? Who are you with? Be sure to think big, and review the list often so you can be committed. Those who are interested in a successful life might think about it, but don’t take any action. Those who are committed take action.

Involve the Right People and Resources

I call the people you spend the most time around your Circle of Influence. This Circle is the most influential aspect of your life. The people you spend the most time around will either build you up or break you down. Your friends help you deem what the minimum standard is for everything, how much you study, the food you eat, your habits, and more, it is all impacted by the people you are around. Reflect on the people you spend the most time around and make the decisions that will bring you closer to accomplishing your 10 year plan. If you need to find that social support through social media, so be it. I have networked with many people to help boost up my Circle so that I have higher standards. This Nix Your Limits Leadership Academy was created for this exact reason, you can find out more information here about that opportunity.

It is also important to surround yourself with the resources you need to succeed. That comes in different forms. You can foll0w successful people on social media, but be sure to watch how they do things. Watching how they work and lead is often where the most impactful lessons can be learned. You can also find blogs and podcasts that will provide valuable training and tools. There is plenty out there, you just have to look for it. Start implementing what you learn into your summer job and watch for results.

Strategize to Develop Skills and Habits

Most leadership skills and habits are universally beneficial to everyone. It doesn’t matter what career field you end up in, things like communicating effectively, personal organization, conflict mediation, and personal accountability will always serve you well. Think about people you admire because of what they have accomplished. This doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Now look at what makes these people successful. What habits do they have? How do they communicate? Use their success as a roadmap of how you can see positive results. Start developing these skills because the earlier you do, the sooner you’ll see results.

Whatever you do end up spending your time doing this summer, be the best that you can. Have the best customer service of any cashier. Be the most organized shift lead of the company. Communicate better than anyone with your boss. Today matters, and if you look for opportunities to grow, and follow through with the action, you’ll find yourself developing the skills that most are waiting until they graduate to start working on.


If you don’t execute, you don’t get results. It is great to feel motivated, read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, and look up quotes, but unless you do anything about it, you will keep seeing the same old results. Stop wasting your time and take action! Stop only asking yourself what you learned and start asking yourself what you are going to do. Those who take action get what they want. Will you?

You have incredible potential within you. There is no shortage of success. You can set goals, you can audit your circle of influence, you can make lists of habits you need to develop, but until you do something about it, you will never see the results you want. Take action this summer, even though most won’t. Those who do will start living the life of their dreams while everyone else is still out there dreaming.

What to Do if You Get Waitlisted by a College



If you’re like many seniors, you may not be sure how to react to that letter from your dream college. You weren’t rejected. You weren’t accepted. You were waitlisted. Being waitlisted can bring up a ton of emotions, both good and bad, but you don’t have to “wait” around to take action. Here’s what you need to know and what you can do if you get waitlisted by a college.


Step 1: Understand What It Means

Depending on your college, the term “waitlisted” may seem really vague. But the basic breakdown is that the college may have filled its quota of students for the next term. Those waitlisted usually have the qualifications and background the admissions team are looking for, but for whatever reason, cannot be fit in if everyone says yes.

If a spot becomes available after college decisions are due (usually May 1st), you’ll receive an official admissions letter. If you’re too far down on the waitlist or if spots do not open, you will not be accepted or will have your admissions deferred to a later term or year.


Step 2: Think Through the Pros and Cons of Waitlisting

You’ll need to decide if it’s worth your time to be listed. It’s a tough choice. The pro to waitlisting is that a spot may open up, especially if you’ve got the grades and activities to back you up. However, if you have schools that have said ‘yes’ to you, you don’t want to risk turning them down and then not having a place at either school.


Step 3: Take Action

Now comes the tough part — the actual wait. In the meantime, call the admissions team and ask details about the waitlist numbers or past year’s waitlists. While they most likely won’t tell you what “number” you are, you can get a sense of what your hopes should be.

Another way you can up your chances is to ramp up your school performance. Take over a leadership position, begin volunteering, sign up for a college summer courses. Then, let the admissions office know this by requesting a second interview or have someone with the connections to the college write you an additional recommendation letter on your behalf.


Step 4: Formulate a Backup Plan

While we don’t want to think of the negatives here, it’s best to be realistic. Come the fall, you’ll need to decide what will happen to you if you don’t receive that letter.

Community colleges are a great option, and in many cases, they can help you transfer to that dream school in a year or two. Taking a gap year is also becoming more popular, and if you use it for an experience like an overseas volunteer trip, you can use it to build your resume and application for the next year. You can also work and save up money for tuition to take away that stress in future years.


Getting waitlisted doesn’t have to leave you feeling hopeless. Make the right decision for yourself by keeping your future in mind, and you can make the waiting as painless as possible.

High School Seniors: Are You Stuck Between Two Dream Schools?



Your admissions letters are in, and the great news is that you’ve been accepted to your two dream schools. But how to choose? With so much on the line and four or more years to look forward to, picking the right college for you matters. This guide will help you make the hard choice without seconding guessing yourself.


Step 1: Make a Pros and Cons List

It’s an old trick, but a pro/con list really can help you sort through all those feeling just below the surface. Maybe one school has professors you love and a gourmet cafeteria while the other is a little too far from home. Count up the pros and subtract the cons. Whatever has the highest number wins. Plus, weighing each of these against one another in list form can help you see each of your options outside the flashy brochures.


Step 2: Visit Again

It’s not always possible, but if distance isn’t a factor, take another tour of the college. This is especially a great idea to do in the winter when the school isn’t full of flowering trees and students in shorts going to tons of college sponsored activities. If you still have those warm and fuzzy feelings, it’s true love. If you start to find faults on second viewing, it might not be worth it.


Step 3: Get Linked to an Alumni

Many schools love hooking you up with access to a recent alumni or graduating students. This person can be a great sounding board on if they think you’ll be a good fit culturally with the school. The trick is to ask for honesty, and you’ll get it. It may take awhile to build up this relationship, but it’s worth it for the valuable input.


Step 4: Go Off-Campus

While your schools may be relatively the same, the towns or cities that they are in may be the deciding factor. First, really think about what you love or hate about where you are now. Is city life for you or would you do better in a countryside with loads of nature? In addition, check to see how your school interacts with the town. Good town-and-gown relations is really important for students who want to fit in or explore.


Step 5: Check the Cold Hard Facts

Some schools win you over with beautiful campuses and awesome tour guides, but the real deal is in the numbers. How many students complete and graduate the program in four years? What is the job placement rate? How is school safety? All this data should be readily available if you ask an admissions counselor or advisor. If they’re less than forthcoming, be wary.


Step 6: Compare the Tuition Costs

It’s no secret that college tuition costs will follow you around for years after graduation in the form of student loans. Most dream schools are just not worth this price tag when another offers you competitive scholarship programs or comes at a lower cost. If money is a concern or at least a factor, your financial aid package should settle the score.

3 Lessons All Students Should Seek to Learn in 2017


3 Lessons All Students Should Seek to Learn in 2017

A new year brings new goals, new challenges, and hopefully new achievements. You won’t accomplish greater achievements this year with the same work ethic that got you your achievements from last year. If you want this year to be your best ever, then you need to level up your knowledge and work ethic.

If you’re a student, you may be seeking to earn a greater GPA. You may be planning on graduating, gaining admittance to your dream school, or earning a scholarship. Some may be planning to jump straight into their career path in a specific trade. Whatever the case may be, all students should seek to learn these three lessons to make the most impact in 2017.


Lesson 1: Get Organized

Succeeding in school obviously requires a certain level of organization. This year, challenge yourself to create systems and a routine to keep yourself organized. As you continue in school, you will see more assignments and projects stacked on top of each other. This will especially be the case in college. When you enter the workforce, you will still see assignments and projects demanding your time. My advice? Get a planner. The Nomatic Notebook is my personal favorite, and I have also seen the Panda Planner work very well for students. Finding an organization method that works for you takes time, but it is absolutely worth it.

Lesson 2: Get Educated

Focusing on your classes is the purpose of going to school. Never forget that. Along with gaining the education that is most likely leading you toward your chosen career, you can gain what I call the “other” education. More commonly known as “self-development”, you should spend your time during school focusing on shaping yourself into a better person. Easy ways to do this is to turn your commute to/from school into a learning opportunity. Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook. Read a book or a blog post. Those who seek out the “other” education and apply what they learn will catapult their success for sure.

Lesson 3: Get Focused

Set clear goals of what you want the end of this year to look like. Picture it clearly, one year from now where are you at in life? What have you accomplished? Now work backward to now, noting accomplishments that will be required to get there. What skills or habits will you need to develop? Who can help you get there? Are there any resources you could find and utilize to help you get there? You can use the R.I.S.E. method of achieving goals here. Get laser focused on what needs to happen this year and get after it.


Time will pass, and you get the same amount as anyone else in this world. The question then isn’t how much time you have to accomplish your goals. Instead, focus on what you are going to do with the time you have been given to achieve the most. Commit and work. You’ve got this!


Which of these three lessons do you feel you need the most? Comment below!

Art School Portfolio Examples & Wise Advice



While most prospective college students spend their time worrying about their admissions essays and interviews, students wishing to be admitted into a selective art program have a bit more to worry about. With most colleges requiring a professional portfolio, it’s hard to know where to start, what to include, and what format to make yours. These tips and examples can help you design an eye-catching, professional grade showcase of your work and talent.

What is an Artist Portfolio

A portfolio is essentially a resume for artists. Like a resume displays a person’s work history, a portfolio highlights an artist’s work and accomplishments. Colleges use portfolios to get an idea of a prospective student’s skills or specialties (such as figure drawing or digital design). Many colleges also require incoming students to submit a portfolio for scholarships and placement in courses.

What to Include in a Portfolio

This isn’t an easy question to answer as all schools are different. Some require students to only submit images of past work while others may require a portfolio to include drawing “tests.” These tests may be a subject or a figure that allows you to show creativity or a difficult skill.

Before you design your portfolio, print off the requirements of the colleges you plan on applying to. Don’t forget to apply to more than one just in case (even if that means more work for you). What you should look for in your requirements is form (digital or print), picture sizes, amount of images to include, type of image (hardcopy, sketch, etc.), and any of those tests we previously mentioned.

Whether you’re submitting your portfolio online or as hard copies, remember one big rule: formatting matters. You’ll want to assemble your pictures or selected work in a way that follows direction but that also shows a progression. Art school admissions officers love to see your work improve over time biographically or in a working order from concept to finished piece.

How to Write Artist Statements

While an admissions essay may not be required, an artist summary or statement may. Artist statements are typically a few paragraphs long and are meant to be an introduction to who you are and what your professional or future plans might be.

Include an introduction with your name, location, and high school/art school you have attended. In the second paragraph, talk about your skills, specialties, and interests. Finally, discuss what is in the portfolio. If you are asked to talk about one of the artist tests or required artwork, share about the process, why you made the artistic choices you did, and what techniques you incorporated.

Examples of Art School Portfolios

via Student Art Guide

This artist portfolio shows two different studies of the same topic. One one page, it highlights color, shading, highlighting, etc. The second page is a sketch, rather than a finished project. Sketchbooks like this are commonly required for painters or drawers.

Here is another way of laying out a portfolio in a way that shows off an artist’s abilities in two different areas — watercolor and portrait drawing. This format is both eye-catching and informative for the reviewer.

Fashion artists will often need a portfolio as well. With this area, you will need to “show your work.” This portfolio page includes concept, sketches, and then images of the real, finished product.

via Student Art Guide


If your area is in hard products such as sculpture or clay, clear and concise images are a must. Take pictures on a white and clean background so that the work pops. The highest quality pictures are one of the most important aspects of a portfolio no matter the medium.


Dealing with Pre-Application Anxiety

College Application Stress

There are two types of high school seniors right now.  There are the ones who have already applied to their colleges of choice and are waiting to hear back on an early decision, and then there are those that are putting the whole affair off until February.  I was the second kind.  My classmates were deciding over their top three early admissions, and I hadn’t even looked past the first couple pages of my state school’s website.

It wasn’t that I didn’t care.  Actually, quite the opposite.  The whole thing seemed so overwhelming, I didn’t even know where to begin.  K-12 had been pretty straight forward.  I had been told where to be, what to do, and what to learn for the past thirteen years, so college seemed like this insurmountable challenge.  If that last sentence hit a little too close to home, here’s some advice to get you through the next couple months.


Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself

One of my biggest problems was that I started to overthink everything.  What would I even major in?  Where were all my classmates going?  Would I like the town?  Could I handle the drive there and back during holiday breaks?  Would I live in the dorms, join a sorority, or was I allowed to live off-campus

These are all important questions, but you don’t have to know the answers to all of those right now.  You don’t need to worry about whether the school colors will clash with your skin tone until you’ve explored your options.


So, you don’t want to overthink things, but you still need to identify what is important to you.  Before you even start seriously looking at schools, think:  Do you want to live close to home?  Do you just have to go to the same school as your best friend or boyfriend? Do you need to go to a top school, or do you want to save money by staying in state? These are important criteria to be aware of when you looking through your options.  Write them down as a list in order of most important to least important.

Of course, it can be difficult to pick a school if you don’t even know what you want to go to school for. With so many options, most freshmen are just as lost as you.  That’s okay!  You’re still a teenager.  Just think about some fields that you might be interested in, and keep those in mind while researching programs.  If you are one of the lucky few that knows that they’re destined for medical school or the world of marketing, then more power to you!

Start Doing Research

If you haven’t already, you need to get to this step ASAP.  The longer you wait, the fewer options you’ll have.  Start by just looking through the basics: costs, location, prestige, population, etc.  How does each school match up to your criteria?  You can successfully eliminate a lot of schools this way.  Recognize that some of your criteria might be at odds with each other.  You might have to give up living in a big city to go to school with your best friend or vise versa. Whenever you come to conflict like that, refer to that list you made, and ask yourself which one matters more.  Which priority is going to make you happier in a year?

You’ve also probably received more than your fair share of university pamphlets.  These can be great resources to see your options, especially which universities are interested in you, but make sure you look deeper.  Don’t decide based on the smiling students on the cover or the football team’s performance.  Instead, scour through their website.  Ask older siblings or friends what they discovered was really important in college.  Visit the campus if possible! Then reevaluate your own list.

Look at Your Finance Options

Paying for college is a big part of the experience.  A university’s affordability should be one of your top concerns.   There are several ways that you can accomplish that.  Scholarships and grants are the best, but they’re also very competitive.  You should apply for these as early as possible!  Next, see if you qualify for any sort of employee reimbursement.  Some schools have specific partnerships, like ASU and Starbucks, and some companies will only provide it under certain conditions.  Obviously, you don’t know where you’ll be working after graduation, but it’s never too early to start looking at future career paths.

Loans are an unfortunate reality for most college students.  If you find yourself among us, make sure that you know your stuff.  Finances are complicated- they have college courses about them!  There’s no shame in admitting you don’t understand the jargon.  Just do yourself a favor and learn what you can about loan lingo.  You’ll make more educated choices, and you won’t be surprised when you get your first bill in five years!


Okay, I know that it still seems overwhelming, but you’re ready!  You’ve got all the tools to make a great decision right in front of you. Imagine the weight off your shoulders when you can actually answer your grandma’s holiday questions with zero stress.  This is a big step, but college is a journey.  Picking where you go is important- it’s your first adult decision- but it’s what you do at college will be even more so.  One step at a time!

Can You Take College Classes when in High School?


College classes in High School

Whether you are eager to begin your college career or are looking for a challenge outside your regular high school classes, you may be asking yourself if you can take college classes while in high school. Well, we have some good news for you: you absolutely can take college courses while you’re still in high school! Here are a few things you need to know before you get started.

Get some second opinions

Maybe you’re a straight-A student or an overachiever who loves to take on academic challenges. Or maybe you just like the idea of getting a jump-start on the credits you’ll need. Whatever the case, you should get some opinions from those who know you best before you start exploring your options.

Start with your guidance counselor. These professionals are trained to know local college options, along with classes open to you. If they’ve been around long enough, they’ll also know if the classes are appropriate for you to take and if you’ve met the necessary pre-requirements.

You may also want to talk to your most trusted high school teacher, especially if he or she teaches the subject in which you want to take classes. They can give you an honest opinion on if they think you’re really ready to take on a college class, especially if you are already busy with regular classes and clubs.

Know your options

Many high schools work with community colleges to provide top performing students with access to college classes as part of the normal curriculum. This may mean travel to college campuses or having a professor travel to you. You’ll most likely get both college credits and high school credits in one!

Your second option is to go straight to the source — the college itself! Community colleges are your best and more affordable options. They cater to non-traditional students and often have programs or beginning college courses geared towards those who haven’t completed high school yet.

Here’s where your high school guidance counselor comes in handy again. They will show you how to apply, find, and register for classes (or will point you to the person that can). If you’re going for a four-year school, you may also want to check in with them so they can speak to a college admissions counselor or advisor on your behalf.

Don’t get discouraged

Let’s say you’re not exactly ready to begin college early or there aren’t any options for high school students in your area. Don’t worry! You can still get the college experience! For one, you can take AP (Advanced Placement) courses. If you pass the AP class, you can receive college credit or opt out of some classes when you get to college. It’s the best of both worlds!

You can also look into online college courses offered through programs like Coursera, Khan Academy, or through colleges like Harvard. The best part of this is that these classes are often free or inexpensive. You’ll get prepared for college classes and learn, be challenged, and learn a new lesson!