"So, you want to go to go to college? What do you think you want to do with the rest of your life?" That is the question every high school junior fears. Where are they going to go to school; what are they going to study and what are they going to do with their degree?
Any high school junior will tell you that they have a few ideas, but most don't have a clue what they are really doing. They go to classes day after day, getting by and perhaps even excelling in school, but most are scared. They might like science or math or English, but they don't know if that would make a good career, make them happy, be a good job with a good salary, or help them support their future family. The thought of choosing your life at sixteen or seventeen is scary. It is a huge decision for someone who doesn't even own a credit card. Juniors have to start looking at schools, which means they should have to have a major in mind. They have to decide if they want a big school, or an athletic school, or a business school. There are many choices in many locations and then there's the money issue. How much will four (or more) years of tuition cost? It may cost $20,000 per year, and that does not always include room and board.
A conscientious junior has to research scholarship programs, but what if his or her grades aren't good enough and they don't have the option of an athletic scholarship? The military sometimes can pay for your school, but they have extremely high standards for scholarship applicants also.
Public college may not be a very desirable option for many. With huge numbers of students and not the greatest facilities, it may be a good option in terms of money. Frankly, the thought of college right now is frightening. Leaving my family for four years sounds nice, but the actual thought of being on my own is nightmare-inspiring.
There are big decisions to be made this year, but if millions of other juniors have done it, a few more can. So if you're a high school junior, don't worry. I have to make decisions, all of my friends and people I don't know have to also. If I can decide what to do with my life, so can you. v
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.