How many of you reading this article are seniors in high school? If you are, this article is for you. If you will be a senior in the near future, this article pertains to you as well. Seniors across the United States who intend to go to college must first find one. After finding a college you would like to apply to, check out the graduate and undergraduate courses it offers. Then make sure that the location and the surroundings are to your liking.
If you have any idea what type of college you would like, or what state you would like to live in, you have a good head start. If you have any idea of what you would like to major or minor in, you're on the right track. Now that you have found a place to your liking, the fun part sets in - research.
Researching a college is one of the most time-consuming tasks that you will encounter. You need to find out many basics about possible colleges. For example, what classes and facilities the college has to offer, what sports it offers, and the student to teacher ratio. After narrowing your choice to a group of colleges, start to research these in depth. If you have a college counselor at your school, this would be a good time to talk to him/her. They may be able to help you find things about the colleges that you could not get yourself. Do not put off researching colleges either. Time will catch up with you and you might not be able to meet application deadlines for colleges that interest you.
Knowing what you want to study is another key to looking for a college. I plan to major in business management and minor in computer applications. By knowing what I want to do, I can then look at colleges that I had been thinking about applying to and narrow my choices down. If a college doesn't have the courses I need, then it is definitely out of the picture.
Another key thing to look for are the college's testing requirements. All colleges require an SAT or an ACT test. Some colleges also require an SAT II test in certain areas, for example English or Math. Remember to look at a college's GPA requirements, too. You may find a college that is everything that you want, but your GPA isn't high enough to be considered. In this case you may need to attend a junior college for one or two years, so the college will look at those grades instead of those from high school.
And lastly, but definitely not the least, is tuition. At this point you may want to have a long discussion with your parents, and find out how much they are willing and able to spend on college. If it isn't enough to cover your full tuition, then you may want to apply for financial aid or a scholarship. And your final option maybe looking for a college that doesn't cost as much. No matter what, getting into school is your number one priority. Many occupations are not attainable without a college degree.
All in all don't waste time. Look for a college now if you plan on attending one. Or before you know it, your friends will be going off to college, and you'll be left at home. f
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.