Zoe Elmore

Materials laid out on a table from West Virginia University during the Stark County college fair held at GlenOak on Oct. 5.

It’s never too early to prepare for college

October 14, 2022

College planning is not just for seniors.  Students and parents should begin thinking about college during their sophomore year.

How students can prepare for college now so their senior year is less stressful


Zoe Elmore

A representative from Kent State Stark talks to a student during the Stark County College Fair held on Oct. 5 at GlenOak High School.

As sophomores schedule for their junior year, they often stare at the hundreds of course options: CCP, IB, AP, Career Techs and electives. Wondering which one will get them into their dream college. 

The truth is; none of them will. Taking rigorous courses is not the key to getting into a good college. Consistency in your schedule is according to guidance counselor, Kristen Zurbuch, who is the CCP adviser here at GlenOak and previously worked in college admissions. 

“Colleges are not going to nail you for not taking certain courses as long as what you are taking appropriately reflects your interests and abilities,” Zurbuch said.

In high school, preparing for college can be overwhelming and stressful for students. From extensive applications to rigorous courses, it can become a lot of work for one person to handle. However, Zurbuch suggests that following a consistent schedule, starting your college search early, and following these tips is key to a less stressful college application process. 

First of all, make sure to talk to the counselors. They can be a big help in answering your burning questions. All of the counselors here at GlenOak High School have been trained in college counseling and can assist students by answering any questions students may have. If unsure of who your counselor is or how to contact them, check the GOHS resources section of the Plain Local Schools website. There the counselor that corresponds with your last name and their email address, phone number and a link to schedule an appointment with them will be readily available.

Scheduling the classes that are right for students’ wants and needs is another important step. Making sure to choose classes that not only correspond to their abilities, but also interests and potential college major, is key.

“It all depends on the student and what their capabilities are,” Zurbuch said “But taking CCP is a good option if you are looking to go to college in state because almost all colleges in Ohio accept our CCP credits. However, If you’re looking to go out of state, AP or IB might be a better option for you, but it all depends on where you are looking to go.”

During freshman year is the perfect time to explore different classes and discover new interests and to help build the foundation for sophomore and junior year schedules.

Sophomore, Shishir Tallada, talks about what he did his freshman year that set him on a good path and positioned him for success.

“Focus on your grades and build good study habits,” Tallada said. “And explore your interests through extracurricular activities so you can discover your passions and the route you want to take in college.”

About the Contributors
Photo of Mirren Grimason
Mirren Grimason, Staff Writer

Mirren Grimason (she, her) is a 10th grader at GlenOak this year. This will be her first year on staff as a writer. Mirren is involved in Student Council....

Photo of Zoe Elmore
Zoe Elmore, Staff Writer

Zoe Elmore (she/her) is a sophomore at GlenOak this year. This will be her first year on staff as a writer. Zoe is involved in Speech and Debate. Outside...

Deadline crunch time


Zoe Elmore

Sophomore Zaria Fink (left) listens closely as a college advisor gives details on how to start applying. “It was really neat, all of these different colleges, I think around fifty showed up. It was crazy,” Fink said.

A senior scrambles as they try to write their college essay. A junior freaks out because they did not do as great as they wanted to on the ACT. Upperclassmen alike break their backs to get college applications done early and send them out before the official application due date is passed.

As some seniors start the application process, they realize that they may not have everything that is required. Juniors may also realize that they are either short on credits or they don’t have the correct portfolio for the major. 

Most college websites suggest that students get ready for college by their junior year, and start searching for applications the summer before their senior year. 

“I would say, starting in sophomore year, you need to start thinking about what kind of college experience you might want to have. By then you’re into your academics well, you probably have a good idea of what you’re capable of, what your interests are,” counselor at GlenOak High School Kristen Zurbuch said.

There are many websites that allow students to condense their searches on colleges, one of the more popular website that many counselors recommend is Big Future, a website that is connected to the College Board.

Each process is different for each student. Some may want to be far from home, and some may want to be close. Seniors may have already narrowed down which college they are going to, and some may be searching, it is okay.

“I had to prepare myself for the chance that I could get rejected. I decided to apply test optional and didn’t submit my ACT score, so I was afraid that me not doing that would possibly make me get rejected from a school,” senior Nursing Program student Aleksandra Velickovic said.

Preparing yourself mentally for college is one of the biggest things an upperclassmen could do. The college application process can be a long and daunting process, so to be able to mentally ready yourself should be one of the most important things a student does.

Test scores are one of the major parts of the application process that seniors stress over. However, many colleges are beginning to become test optional, those standardized tests do not have to be so stressful anymore.

“If it is not an actual requirement that means the door is open wider for people to get in. But they will look at your GPA when it comes to certain things,” Kent State University at Stark Academic Program Coordinator and Rising Scholars Advisor Lester Sanders said. “I think what’s not taught enough is that everybody has different academic abilities and there are some students who do better on standardized tests than others.”

Highschool counselors are able to help prep students mentally for the application process. With more colleges becoming test optional, upperclassmen no longer have to worry about submitting a perfect score. Plus, there are different options and requirements for each school. No matter which option a student chooses, there is help out there available.

About the Contributor
Photo of Zoe Elmore
Zoe Elmore, Staff Writer

Zoe Elmore (she/her) is a sophomore at GlenOak this year. This will be her first year on staff as a writer. Zoe is involved in Speech and Debate. Outside...

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