By Maureen Brakke on May 6, 2016

This month, I asked Maddi Abele, our Utah Scholars intern, to give me a list of things she wishes she would have done in high school to better prepare herself for college. Keep reading to see what she came up with.

About Maddi:

Maddi, a first-generation college student and a Salt Lake City native, is currently a sophomore at the University of Utah studying Social Work and Human Development and 11013353_10207467805916338_725584240953306096_n (2)Family Studies. She hopes to become a social worker either in education or in healthcare after she obtains her master’s degree in social work. Maddi is pretty ambitious; she has gained a lot of experience in social services by working at the Women’s Resource Center on campus, interning at the Rose Park Elementary school counseling center, and volunteering at the YWCA’s Family Justice Center.

She has also worked with Latino Behavioral Health Services to help spread awareness and knowledge about mental health to the Latino Community. She regularly participates in student led groups on campus and planned the annual 2016 Black Student Union High School Conference. Connect with Maddi on Instagram @madsionabele.

Things I wish I would have done in high school to better prepare for college:

  • Prepare for the ACT. Maddi says that when she was in high school, she felt like the test snuck up on her. When she took the ACT and got her score, she thought that she couldn’t retake the test. “I wish I would have utilized the resources I had for the test preparation and retaken the test when I had the chance.”
  • Ask for help to find scholarships. Maddi mentions she wishes she would have known where to find more scholarships. She says that “I didn’t know about all the different scholarship websites I could have used to find scholarships. I wish I would have asked my school counselor for help in finding scholarships.”
  • Utilize your school counselor. Maddi emphasizes the importance of utilizing your school counselor in general. Being a first-generation college student, “I was very confused about the college admissions and financial aid process, and even though I met with my school counselor a few times, I had still many unanswered questions that I was too embarrassed to ask.”
  • Take math all four years of high school. Maddi wishes she would have taken math her senior year. She says that “Taking four years of math wasn’t required in my high school, so I didn’t. Looking back, I wish I would have taken math my senior year. It would have better prepared me for my general education math classes in college.”

Maureen Brakke is a communications specialist with the Utah System of Higher Education. She also manages StepUpUtah.com, and formerly worked as a financial aid and college prep outreach officer with UHEAA. You can find her on Twitter @BrakM30.