If you’re not yet in your senior year of high school, GREAT! That means you have a lot of time to prepare and get a jump on beginning the process. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
First, make a list – write (or type) all of the things that are most important for you in a college.
- Do you want to stay local or go away?
- City, Suburban or rural location?
- Less than 2,000 students or a school of over 50,000?
Include what majors you might be interested in or if you don’t have a particular major, what careers interest you the most. Keep this list with you at all times – you will definitely feel pressure from multiple sources that tell you which way to go but you have to find the best fit for you!
Next, be proactive-
- Write an outline of points for essays. Many essays ask you about yourself and why you are choosing that college so think about that now.
- Consider who you want to ask for a letter of recommendation and then be sure to contact the potential person. Have a list of potential letter writers that is more than the actual number you need; that way, if someone cannot, you will not fall short of the needed letters later.
- Research scholarships – keep a list of deadlines and when you want to complete the scholarship applications, which should be before the deadline! Allow time for you to have your essays to be proofread as well for typos and grammar.
Lastly, connect – contact the colleges you are interested in to set up campus tours, visit classrooms, and talk to current students. If you have lingering questions about a college, reach out to them! Ask family members about the college that they attended- sure they may tell you about their classes but they will also give you insight on extracurricular activities, study tips, people they met or even where the best pizza is.
Because in the end, college is more than just sitting in a classroom. It is an experience and you want to ensure that your future collegiate career is the best fit for you!
Prepare early and have a game plan so that if last minute concerns arise, you are in a much better position to quickly and easily work on the concern. And stick with it! It seems like a lot of work now, but it will pay off in the end.
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