This week our Ultimate Transformation Moment switches reels a little, as I speak to our high school students and their parents–specifically high school juniors–about college preparation.
The junior year in high school is a very important time.

Students, you have the junior year and the first semester of their senior year left to review your transcript, before applying to colleges. Academically, once we enter the spring months, there are only two semesters remaining that will affect your transcripts and grade point average (GPA).

These are two areas of focus that are important when you are striving to create a very attractive package for colleges.

Here are a few suggestions for students and parents.

Students should sit down with your high school college counselors and verify that you have completed your 16 core courses. These are the courses that are mandatory, and must be completed for consideration by most colleges. The University of California has this information available on their website.

While cutbacks have caused the elimination of summer school courses over the last couple of years, if you need to take a course, you may find that they are available at some of the junior colleges. Depending on the class, it can provide the necessary credit that is lacking.

The second step is to verify your overall grade point average (GPA). This is an important component, because colleges will evaluate you based on your grades, and your grades reflect your study habits. You can go through these with your college counselor.

Third, when you sit down with your counselor, discuss the area of study you would like to pursue in college. This will allow the counselor to provide direction to those colleges that offer studies in that particular concentration. Additionally, they can confirm that you are taking the course curriculum that will make you more attractive to your colleges of choice.

(Parents of juniors should have enrolled their children in some type of SAT or ACT prep program and make sure that the student takes one of these college entrance tests before the end of their junior year. Preparation is key, and having a familiarity with the test is optimal.)

It is important to have all the pieces of the puzzle, so that when you finish your junior year, you are able to reach out to universities. By giving them a clear picture of your academic resume, some colleges are able to admit students on the spot, particularly at some of the college fairs.

Finally, I suggest you make a list of 25 colleges you’re interested in attending. Consider the location, ethnic background, and cultural breakdown of the student body. Determine whether or not they offer your academic concentration. To seek this information, you can write them letters or research the campus on the Internet. Additionally, write a letter or make contact with the financial aid department to receive any information regarding scholarships.

Take this time very seriously. This is the time in which you can lay the final groundwork of your high school career that will lead you to the next level, college.

Know that you can go to college. You’ve just got to do the work, put the time in, and you definitely increase your chance to attend.

That’s our Ultimate Transformations Moment.

Erich Nall is the owner and founder of Ultimate Transformations Training in Los Angeles. He is the author of “21 Days to Ultimate Health and Wellness.” The certified trainer, nutritionist, motivational speaker, and dedicated life coach is a regular guest and commentator on KJLH 102.3 FM’s the “Front Page” with Dominique DiPrima. As founder of Collegiate Search Youth Organization, Erich has been assisting youth in the community for more than 20 years.