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Last updated on May 11th, 2020 at 04:24 am

You are immersed in the great final year of high school, your senior year. The big prom, and senior trip all happen this year. You’re at the top of the heap pal and things are all good! But, in the smallest crevice of the deep, vast, knowledge pool known as your brain, you are also concerned about five years down the road. Four of which, will be spent in some kind of institution for higher learning. Most people call it a college or university. So where do you apply and what do you want to do? This is the time where you freak out because you haven’t the slightest clue in the world. Or, you can read this article, and hopefully it will give you some indication of school and/or career choices for the future.

Independence

Let me give you a flavor of what life is like at ALL colleges and universities. The high school/college leap is a lot more different than the transition into high school. Colleges and universities are institutions where a lot of independence is given, and if you are the type who is dependent on the teacher nagging you about when your assignments are due, and when that test is, you can forget that luxury in college. You are your own nagger in this place. Putting off assignments until the due date is a bad idea. The reason I say this is because some of the assignments you get in college, are worth a good chunk of your final mark. I don’t think something that important deserves the night before to be completed. I’m not telling you this to scare you, but if you do the opposite of what I just told you, then you’re in for a real shock.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Now that you know a little about what goes on in college, lets get you started on the road to actually getting there. The first piece of advice to give you when thinking about where you want to go, or what you want to do, is to know your strengths and weaknesses. By knowing and understanding what each of those mean, you can give yourself a pretty good indication at what kind a field you want to get into. Also, if you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, chances are the strengths are the things you enjoy doing the most, and the weaknesses are the things you would like to quickly forget about. So find out what your strengths are and what you like to do. Part of the college experience is studying what you like to study. If you study what you don’t like or are disinterested in, it will feel like ages before the course finishes. Once you figure out what you are interested in doing, find out which schools offer the program of study that you choose. In order to find out, you may have to pay a visit to the college itself to get information. This will also give you a chance see what the environment is like and if you can see yourself going there next year. If you like what you see, book a campus tour to get a full feel of what happens on the grounds.

Go Away to School or Stay at Home

One of the most common dilemmas that I have come across on this subject is whether to move away to go to school or stay home. This is a very touchy issue because a lot of factors come into play when deciding this. Here are a couple of factors to consider: Money. Yes, contrary to popular belief, it really is łall about the Benjamin’s˛. You will see why in a bit. Moving away from home means you are going to pay both your tuition, and residence fees. Depending on where you go, one year of study elsewhere could equal that of two or three years of study while living at home. So multiply that by the 4 years you will be there, and that is one expensive education. If you know you can’t afford to do this, then your decision is fairly simple. Something else to consider is proximity. How far away from your family and friends do you want to move? The further away you move, the more it costs to ship furniture, pay visits back and forth, and to stay in residence. So you see, it all came back to the dollars and cents. The last important thing to consider (personally anyway) is your program of study. It may be possible that the program of study you choose is only offered in a school that is not close to home. From there, you have to make some financial sacrifices now and start planning on how you will actually pay to do that program (I will discuss scholarships a bit later). In this situation, you’re not left with much choice unless you change your choice of study. For those who are not as fortunate to have such a nice financial cushion, those are things to think about when you ask yourself if you want to move away.

Scholastic Aptitude Test

For some it may be a combination of the three most dreaded letters that the English language as to offer. For others, it is a welcome challenge that can be met head on. The three letters I speak of are S-A-T. Yes, that good old Scholastic Aptitude Test. Why do you write an SAT? Well it is said that one of the reasons is because basing college admission solely on grades can be misleading. It would be unfair to admit a student with an A average taking all easy courses and not admit a B average student taking all hard courses. Hence, a kind of admissions testing is necessary. However, don’t be fooled. SATs don’t adequately measure performance in college. That part is up to you my friend. Now I know SAT scores are important and they play a part in what school you get into. With that said, you don’t need me to tell you that you should hit the books and kill your SAT so you don’t have to worry about not getting in. If you don’t understand something, ask. It really is that simple. It works the same way when you get to the big show.

Money

And now, back to the money. Of course when you receive it, the scholarship becomes one of the main sources of income for a student paying for their first year of college/university. The merit-based scholarships are given to students who show superior academic standing. These students are automatically considered for the scholarships solely based on their marks. However, contrary to popular belief, some scholarships are not based solely on your GPA. Some are based on your academic achievements as well as what you do outside of the classroom. The non-merit based, separate application scholarships focus on things like community work, athletics, and extra-curricular activities. The people who grant these kinds of scholarships are looking for an all-around person, not just a person who gets good grades. They look for someone who can be successful in their studies, as well as give something back to the school by way of doing extra-curricular, varsity sports, and things for the campus community for example. One untapped resource that people tend to forget is their parents’ work places. Their companies may offer scholarships to their employee’s children. Find out from your mom or dad if this kind of thing is offered by their work place and how to go about applying.

That is all of the main points I see that are important for you to consider when getting into college. It is a nerve-wracking time waiting to see if you got in or not, but at least by reading this article to the end, I hope that the application process won’t be as scary as you might have thought. In addition, the goal is to have you consider all of the factors leading to an educated, informed decision. Trust me, by the time this is all over, the people who will know about the college admissions process itself are the freshmen. That is why this freshman is passing on some wisdom to you.

Enjoy and good luck!

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