First off, I’ll say that I’ve already been through the college admission process, and would like to share some ways how you can succeed and get into a really great school!
Step 1: Study hard in high school! -Sounds like something you already heard, right? Well, the #1 thing to get into a good college is to have good grades. I made the mistake of slacking off a bit in high school, and so had a low GPA, now, lucky for me, my college doesn’t have a minimum GPA requirement, so I still got in, but I lost out on scholarship opportunities! Don’t let that happen to you!
Step 2: Research! That’s right, you must do a lot of research on many colleges in order to choose the right one for you. Start by googling your major or interest to find colleges. (ex. I want to be a web designer, so I would google “web design college” -pretty simple!) After that, make a list of all the colleges you like the best. Narrow that list down to the top 10 colleges, to get a better idea of things. Then, do more investigation about those colleges, go deeper into their website, visit the college in person, check out the tuition cost, email the representative of the school, and ask every question you can think of! Finally, narrow your list down to your top 2 colleges.
Step 3: Visit the college! Yep, a very, very important thing to do is to visit the college in person. This allows you to really get a feel of the college, and to really know if it’s the right college for you. Also, it will give you the perfect opportunity to ask all the questions you want -well, the ones you didn’t ask through emailing, anyway. Visiting the college also gives you time to discuss financial aid information, and fill out any of the necessary paper work for that. DO NOT schedule 2 college visits on the same day, even if they are close to each other. I tried to do that, and the first college tour ran late, and I missed the second one, not a good thing to do, so avoid having to do 2 tours in one day!
Step 4: Pick the one college you will attend! This is obvious, you’ll need to pick just one college to attend. If possible, go back to the college to finish up all the paper work and financial aid info. It’s better to do everything at the college, so they can help you get things done. You can do everything online yourself, but that just means there’s more room for errors, which happened to me, and that can be very frustrating having to redo your FAFSA and other paper work.
Step 5: Apply for scholarships. Yes, these are 100% free money that companies or organizations give you for going to school. You want to get as many of them as possible! Try going to your student services office to see about what scholarships are given out to students in your area. Local scholarships are the best, because you’ll only have the students in your school to compete with to get one, instead of competing with everyone across the country! Also, goto Zinch.com to find out about even more scholarships, they have tons of scholarships available, so join now and create an amazing profile so you can get scholarships!
Step 6: What about the part that financial aid and scholarships don’t cover? First off, goto your family, you may have a grandparent or other family member willing to give you some money for collage. Also, your parents or grandparents may have savings bonds that they bought for you through out your life that you didn’t know about. Ask them about those, which could provide for enough money to pay for college. If you can’t scavenge up enough money from bonds or family, then you’ll need to get a student loan. These aren’t all that bad, and most of the time you don’t have to pay back the loans until 6 months after you graduate. Also, many have low interest rates. Here are some common places to get loans and information about loans:
www.finaid.org/loans (Very informative website about financial aid and loans, highly recommended as a must visit website!)
www.fafsa.ed.gov (This is the FAFSA website, get all the information about financial aid, and fill out the form so you can receive that!)
www.wellsfargo.com/student (This is a bank that gives out loans to students, try applying for a loan there)
www.chasestudentloans.com (Another bank that gives students loans)
Google (Click this link to see a google search on student loans)
Step 7: Do all this early! If you don’t do everything early enough, then it will be harder to get into college! At least 6 months before you goto college should be plenty of time, but the earlier the better. I started this process half way through my senior year, and yes, I had enough time to complete everything, but I still would have liked to have more time to perfect everything. I’d say start with step 1 halfway through your junior year, that way you will have plenty of time to get everything done, and get accepted into a great college!
Step 8: Apply! Submit that application, and make sure all your info is 100% correct. Then wait to hear back on whether you get accepted or not.
Step 9: If you don’t get accepted, don’t fret, there’s thousands of colleges across the US of A, so continue looking, that’s why you must start early, to account for anything that might go wrong. If you start 2 months before you graduate, then finally find out in mid June that you’re not accepted, it’s going to be extremely hard to start all over again with 2 months left till the fall semester!
Step 10: The most important step of all, but not necessarily done last, in fact, it should be done first, but I was typing this off the top of my head, and thought of this last. Anyway, write down everything you’re interested in! I don’t care what it is or if it even has relevance to education at all, write it down! Then, look over your list and decide what you want to do with your life. Basically, what career do you want do go into?
Some useful sites to find out more information on certain careers are:
Career Builder (Has tons of useful information on all sorts of careers)
Kuder Navigator (This website has tons of useful information on careers, as well as quizzes you can take to help determine what career you best fit into) -P.S. this is a paid website, so check with your school to see if they pay for it already, my school did, and many others do, and if they do, you’ll have a great idea on what career best fits you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide! I really appreciate that, and if you really like this article, please feel free to link to this article to share with other people! Again, I am a new college student myself, and have personally experienced all of this within the last 6 months, I now want to share my experiences with many other students entering college in the coming years to help them better prepare themselves!