The college process: Preparing for the journey ahead

Planning your future can be a difficult process. Students who plan on going to college must take on many tasks before the transition into college and adulthood. This journey will begin once a student is in high school, and it takes those four years to complete. 

The beginning of the college process would be the college planning procedure. The type of classes that a high school student takes and their GPA plays a large factor in narrowing down that student’s options for the college(s) that he or she could attend. Colleges admire hard working students who challenge themselves with the honors and AP classes, do their homework every night, and keep their grades consistent. 

Colleges will take a student’s standardized testing scores, such as SAT, PSAT, or ACT scores, into consideration. Most students take the PSAT to prepare for the SAT in their sophomore or junior year, and they take the SAT in their junior or senior year. Although there are some test optional schools, it is still important to take some of these standardized tests because it gives students an extra accomplishment to add to their application. 

Colleges will also take into account a student’s extracurriculars. The extracurriculars show schools your character traits and the abilities that you can offer to that school. Dedication to a sport, school club, volunteer opportunities, or to a job will impress the admission office. It is also important to stay active and participate in extracurriculars during the summer. 

Searching for the right school is crucial to the college process as well. Having conversations with your high school counselor can help you decide what is important for you to include throughout this vital process. It is also important to research the colleges you are interested in attending. You should go to college fairs, check out the school’s website, and visit the campus. 

Each student has many decisions to make when it comes to the college application process. Some students submit their application in the fall for early decision, which allows them to commit to a school in advance. When colleges view your application, they are interested in your transcript, your GPA, letter of recommendation from previous teachers, and your college essay. 

If a student needs to apply for Financial Aid, he or she should look into the net-price of each college that they are applying to. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Financial Support, which is released yearly on October 1st. This form asks about a student’s income and the size of their household, which will determine the amount of money that a family needs to contribute towards the college tuition. 

Once you have been accepted into college, each student should inform their school counselor about their acceptance(s) and form a decision by May 1st. Many students decide what school that they will attend based on their career interests. Students can learn about the programs offered at each school, take tours around campus, and participate in accepted student days.. 

The college process may seem overwhelming, but once you have chosen the right college, it should be a gratifying experience.