By Arianna Breindel
The college application can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a collection of tips for high schoolers on making the college process easier.
The first tip is to have a plan. It may seem early, but starting freshman year, think of some things you would like to do when you are older. To narrow it down, ask yourself questions like “Do I want to help people?” or “Do I want to work with animals?”
Once you figure out what you want to do, you can look into those careers. After you find a career, you can see what schooling is needed. Knowing your options will definitely help you with the college process. Some careers only need an associate’s degree, which is two years of school, while some may need a bachelor’s degree, the classic four years of schooling. There are also graduate degrees like master’s and doctorates. A master’s may take two years to complete, for about six years of school total, and a doctoral degre can take up to eight years, for 12 years of school total. It’s important to see how much schooling you need, because if you want to go into a career that only requires an associate degree, you definitely don’t need to pay for a bachelor’s. You can also attend a trade school that provides a two-year program of study in a specific skilled trade. People like welders and cosmetologists choose this type of schooling.
The third thing is to find out what’s important to you in a college. Things such as location, cost, whether they carry your degree, and extracurriculars should be all be considered. Having certain priorities will help you pick a school and narrow down your options. Financing is probably one of the most important topics in the college process. Talk with your family about a good price for school and how you will pay for it. There are many options to get money for college starting with the FAFSA, which you’ll complete the fall of your senior year. Getting a job prior to college not only helps you save money but it does look good on applications and helps you learn time management. Scholarships are one of the best ways to earn money for college. Scholarships go towards your tuition, and you can earn a lot. Something that not many people know is that you can start applying to most scholarships as early as freshman year. It is an easy way to earn money for college and doesn’t take much effort. Some websites to go to are Scholarships.com and Niche Scholarships. You can even just go into Google and search for scholarship websites to start the process. When application time rolls around, you can also fill out school-specific scholarship applications that are merit-based. You’ll need to keep your grades up throughout high school in order to receive the highest scholarships.
Lastly, here are a few general tips for the college process. See if your college requires an SAT or ACT and pick the one that will showcase your knowledge best. The SAT is more reading-based, while the ACT is more science- and math-based. Once you figure that out, start studying as soon as possible. Khan Academy has some great resources for that. Next, participate in extracurricular activities throughout high school. Not only is it fun, but being involved makes you stand out to colleges. Juniors, as you approach your senior year, start looking into the deadlines and looking out for the essay prompts. Go on tours for your college if you can, as well, because that will also help you pick your college. If you spread the process throughout your high school years, it won’t be as stressful when senior year rolls around. You will also be prepared and confident when decision time is here.