Becoming College Conscious

Most teens don’t know exactly what they want to do with their life. I know I don’t. But whether you’re excited about your future or not, sooner or later, high school ends and life goes on. The next step for many of us will be college. No matter what kind of student you are, there are definite steps you can take to prepare for what can seem like a scary transition. Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is get an early start and do a bit of prep work each year of high school. Freshman year, think about your interests and get involved with something. Start a club, join a sport; not only will it be great for your social life, it’ll look great on a college application. Sophomore year, ask questions. Ask your teachers what they think about your aptitudes, ask your parents what kind of college possibilities they are thinking about, (because you don’t have the money to pay your own way) and above all, talk to people in different fields and ask them what they did to get where they are. Junior year is your most important year. In the beginning of the year, actually study for the PSAT because it can lead to major scholarships. This is also the year you fill out your applications and decide what kind of college is right for you. Big or small? College town or big city?

There are endless possibilities when it comes to the type of college. Also, since it’s generally considered smart to apply to five or six colleges, get going! Use websites like and make a list. Visit local universities with parents and call distant ones, always asking to talk to admissions so they have a record of your call. Senior year – have fun, but don’t forget to make sure all your financial aid papers have been submitted, and Don?t Let Your Grades Slip.

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One of the most important things about your college is that you have to feel comfortable there. Talk to the students to find out about the vibe and don’t always trust the guide books. My mom and I went on a “college search road trip” to Northern California. Although the guidebook told us that a certain college was located “in a ghetto” we found the college to be set in a beautiful small town with quaint little houses, gardens and picket fences. So, I was comfortable with the small town setting. However, when I talked to students, it turned out that frats and sororities played a huge role at this college, and this wasn’t my thing. I’m not applying there, but just visiting gave me more insight into what kind of college I do want. When you visit colleges, one of the best times is over spring break for two main reasons. For one thing, the students are still at school. Some colleges even let you attend a class, and at any college, you want to have conversations with current students to get the inside scoop. During summer, colleges are ghost towns. The second reason, at least for me, was motivation. Visiting colleges gives you incentive for all those long hours studying for the SAT. Believe me, you will need the motivation.

Just remember that even though the EST (evil testing serpent) comes up with ridiculous tests every year, they are important to colleges, so sign up, study and take it seriously. We all need to be college conscious in high school.

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