Welcome to my new series – Ask a Graduate!
In this post, I’m answering some questions I received about preparing for college. This is such an important topic!
Because preparing for college is no easy feat. In fact, some students spend their entire high school years finding the right school, taking the right classes, getting scholarships, and so much more – all in preparation for college!
Below, you’ll find my answers to three reader questions.
What are the things I need to do to prepare for college while in high school?
This is a great question! I think that it’s never too early to start preparing for college. I feel like this is one area I could have done a lot better in when I was in high school. For example, I probably would have taken more AP classes, or any that allowed me to get college credits. I ended up earning eight credit hours my senior year, but I feel like getting 15 out of the way would have been ideal (that’s about a semester’s worth of courses).
Another thing I would have done is get into a better study schedule. I didn’t have to study much in high school, but that quickly changed when I got to college. It was a completely different world! Had I known then what I know now, I would have spent more time studying, even if it was for things I already felt like I knew really well.
Other non-academic things you can do to prepare for college in high school include visiting different college campuses, completing applications early, doing lots of research into what you ideal school looks like (i.e. location, number of students, majors available, etc.), applying for scholarships, and learning about your financial aid options. You’ll also want to get a good college application essay in writing at some point.
What can I do finally decide on my course in college?
I think that a lot of students find themselves asking this question. It’s a fact that a large number of students eventually change their college major because they find other interests, or they realize the one they chose wasn’t right for them.
I think that taking a variety of courses during your freshman year can really help open your eyes to different programs and see what interests you. Also, getting involved in a few clubs (maybe 2-3; you don’t want to overdo it) and taking on a part-time job or volunteer opportunity in the community can help. By doing this, you’ll start to learn what type of work you enjoy, and the type you don’t. I recommend keeping notes as time goes on of what you’ve enjoyed and what you haven’t. This can really help you find your course in college – and life!
Remember, you aren’t going to have all the answers right away. Heck, you probably will end up changing your mind a few times once you graduate as well. That’s ok! Take everything as a learning experience!
When should I start visiting college campuses?
I honestly don’t feel like it’s ever to early to start visiting campuses. Ideally, you want to visit all the campuses before your senior year of high school starts. Why? Because a lot of college application deadlines are in September and October. You want to give yourself time to weigh the pros and cons of all the schools you’ve visited.
I’d love to hear your questions about preparing for college. Feel free to write them in the comments below!