Lets face it: thinking about college is quite stressful. With all the work we already have to for school and our other extracurricular activities it seems as though thinking college is put on the back burner. Let me tell you, this is not a good thing. The earlier you start thinking about college the better.
There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be thinking about college especially in your sophomore and junior year with your college advisor at school, free guided tours at every college, and online information for you explore. It is never too early to start touring colleges because the earlier you start the more schools you can explore and the more likely you are to pick the perfect fit for you.
When you are ready to start looking at your options after high school there are a few things to keep in mind. One, start by exploring your interests and see what type of college might be a good fit for you including law school, a liberal arts college, culinary school, and so many more. Amongst all the pressure to pick a major right away, there is absolutely no reason why you should have one picked out right away. Many colleges won’t allow you to pick a major until you have completed a certain amount of credits at that school to ensure that you are exploring all of your interests and opportunities.
Two, going on your first college tour is always the most exciting; however, don’t get caught up on one school and stop looking. You may think that the first school you toured was the absolute fit for you; however, you never truly know until you have explored other options even if at first glance they seem less favorable.
Three, most graduating high school students want to go to a college far away from home to have more freedom. While this works for some, it can be a struggle for others who are very accustomed to always living in one place. Don’t be afraid to look at in and out of state colleges no matter what you think you want to do. There are may stigmas that going to an out of state school is more expensive, and while this is true, there are also many scholarships that colleges offer for out of state students.
Four, take advantage of school/community sponsored college trips. Many of these sponsored trips do come at a fee to you for transportation and occasionally hotels; however, it is a great time to really dive into the college process and yes have a fun road trip with your friends. Trying to go through the college process alone is very difficult, it is always better to go through it friends.
While going through this process with friends is always better you must understand that you and your friends will most likely not end up at the same college. This is why it is truly important for you to find a college that you like both academically and socially. On a tour you get a glimpse into life on that school’s campus and explore the opportunities they offer outside of academics.
Fifth, when on a tour DO NOT be afraid to ask questions. Your tour guide will most likely be a student at that school and who better to ask questions to than someone who knows exactly what you are going through and already has had the experience of attending that school. You may feel intimidated by all the students on campus but understand that they were in your shoes just years before.
Looking at colleges is a big deal and is an exciting experience so be sure to take it all in and truly enjoy the experience. While at times it may be stressful just know that there are many resources available to you to help you with the process. Never be afraid to ask questions to anyone and always make sure that you are focusing our your interests and looking at what colleges you are interested in not what your friends are.
By Claire Jackson