Beginning your college adventure can be both nerve-wracking and exciting. There are so many new things for you to do and finally getting out of high school might seem like the best thing in the world. While most young people are just excited to move away from home, the truth is that there are quite a few things a young student needs to know before even applying to a college of their choice.
While your parents might be helping you with the process, you will still not have a lot of knowledge on how the application process is supposed to go or what it’s like to finally live on your own. If you’re thinking of applying to college soon, here are some of the things I wish I knew before applying to the college of my choice, which will hopefully be of help to you on this new journey!
1. Plan early.
The very first thing that you should have in mind is to start your planning early. You might have been told over and over again about how important it is to start looking at colleges while you’re still in high school, but it is very likely that you've simply disregarded that piece of advice.
While you think you'll have plenty of time to choose the best college for you, you'll be surprised at how quickly time passes when you’re trying to do such a thing! The search process will take quite a bit of time and in the end, you might not have enough time to go through and think about all the colleges that interest you.
Starting to look at different colleges in your early high school years will allow you to take as much time as you need to decide and know exactly what each college has to offer. A more informed decision will be made in the end because you gave yourself enough time to choose wisely.
2. Don’t focus solely on one college.
While you might be certain that you only want to pick one college and nothing else, you should keep in mind that what you will be studying for the next few years is probably what you will be doing for the rest of your life: focusing on only one thing and not keeping your options open is not a good way to go about your future.
Even if you think you’ve made up your mind, you should keep looking. You might come across an option you didn’t even have in mind. The point of going to college is to follow your talents and interests in order to become a professional in your chosen field. The more you limit your options, the fewer things you are allowing yourself to learn about and experience.
3. Asking for help is not a bad thing.
If you’re in your last years of high-school or are just stepping into the adult life, you might be thinking that asking anyone for help is not a thing you should do. That is not the right approach to this matter, though. Your school counselor, as well as your parents, will definitely want to help you any way they can and all you have to do is ask for it.
You will definitely not know everything there is to know about the application process or the fees regarding your college of choice. “Asking for help while you’re still young will help you learn how to better take on responsibilities as an adult. College can be tough and you shouldn’t try to do everything on your own," notes Pat Fredshaw, editor at EssaySupply.
4. Private colleges don’t have to be as expensive as you think.
One of the things I didn’t take into consideration is that not all private colleges have to be completely out of your budget. Your budget might be a big factor into which college you pick but this is why it is important to do a lot of research in advance. You might come to find that a private college is going to cost you as much as a state college.
This is a big reason why you shouldn’t just disregard a college because of its price. Many colleges can also offer scholarships or financial aid and you will only be able to figure these out and pick the perfect college for you through enough research.
5. Your GPA is more important than you thought.
Another thing many young people don’t know about is just how important their GPA will be in the future. You might think that the best tactic is to foster a grade that allows you to be accepted into your college of choice but in reality, your grade can be helpful in many other ways.
“In many cases, many big companies will take your GPA into consideration. The higher your grade is, the more your chances for employment will be in the future," advises Christopher Mercer, a founder of Citatior. The best thing you can do is work hard, study and make sure that you maintain a good, steady GPA: you never know where it will come in handy.
6. Get your friends’ opinion.
While this might exactly be a professional type of help, friends can always help you make a right choice. Not only do they care about you and want the best for you, but they also know you well and they might help you find a college or a course you might not have thought about.
At the end of the day, talking about your choices with your friends is going to help you clear your head and rethink your options. You will feel a lot less stressed and more certain about the choice that you will make and that can make a difference when it comes to planning for your future.
7. Reach out to college admissions offices.
Probably one of the most important things to do before applying to a college of your choice is learning as much information about the course as you can. You might be able to gather a lot of information from online sources, but the best thing you can do in order to be fully certain this is the right choice is to talk to the people in charge of supplying this kind of information.
Each college has a different level of difficulty, future opportunities and application processes. The best way to learn about these things the right way is from college administrations office and in the end chose the right college for your aspirations and dreams.
In summary, getting ready to apply to college is a big step and it can be rather intimidating for younger students. You should always have in mind that the earlier you start preparing for it, the easier it will be for you to find the right college to apply to as well as the right course for your talents and interests.
You should never be shy or scared to ask for help from the people that can give it to you. Applying to college is a difficult process and you are going to need all the help you can get. Study a lot, work hard of your GPA and you are bound to achieve some great results and get into the college of your dreams.
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