A Guide To College Planning


College planning and applications weren’t really stressful for me, I actually enjoyed it from time to time! This is because once you pave the way for your college agenda, everything else just falls into place. However, it’s easy to become extremely confused on where to begin, so I’m here to let you know what you can do to have a smooth journey ahead!

College Fairs

These are really important events to attend! You’ll get an idea of what each university offers and also interact with the representatives. There will be so many stalls to visit and people to talk to, it’s truly enlightening. Not only will you get information about the universities or colleges, but the representatives are either current students or alumni so you will get to hear about firsthand experiences! Personally, college fairs held a big influence on which universities I chose to apply to.

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University Lists

Start making a list of colleges and universities that you feel are suitable for your desirable major, that support your interests, is the type of environment you want to be in, and offer the opportunity to let you be diverse and explore. Even if you don’t know what you’ll major in, there are many universities which encourage undecided majors! Creating a list will involve a lot of research. Google will definitely be your ‘bae’ while you’re looking at rankings and reviews of certain universities. Also, there are many websites which give a quick overview of various colleges and universities, like bigfuture.collegeboard.org. That was one website that I used frequently to learn about majors, SAT scores, facilities etc. It’s not bad to have a list of twenty schools on your list, but keep in mind it costs money to send applications and scores. When you’re making your list, I recommend including three to four safeties and around six to seven universities that you’re super excited about.

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Campus Tours

I know that this is not something that everyone can do, depending on where the university is located. But if possible, this opportunity should be considered and taken advantage of because upon your visit, you will quickly get the feel of the area. Try to do a few tours when you’re on vacation for summer or winter break.

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College Advisors

These are the best people to get in contact with if you’re confused about anything college-related. They’ll help you with your applications. They can also help you provide tips on college planning and even helpful hints for your essays. Whatever input they may offer, it is always useful!

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Application Forums

It is important to know the best way to apply to your universities. Is it through a paper application, CommonApp, or through the university’s online application? CommonApp is a great forum to apply for colleges because you can select many colleges you want to apply to and fill out all the information in one go. Also, know beforehand if it is required to send in additional information, such as art works or videos. You can find this information on the university’s website itself.

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Essays

This is one big pain-in-the-neck task to do during the college application process. To make this step easier, it is good to know what the essay topics are beforehand. At least be familiar with what you would need to write. You may not want to start writing yet but it’s always good to have it in the back of your mind.

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Timing

It is always best to start an application way before it is due, so that you do not get pressured and stressed at the last moment. During your free time, or when you’re extremely bored, just start filling out some parts of the application. There are times when people will be working on their application right up until the very last hour – and believe me, they go ballistic. Also, the earlier you get your applications filled out, the more time you have to review them in case any changes need to be made.

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Qualifications

Everyone has some sort of qualifications, whether it is a great work experience, awards, certificates, volunteer work, internships, sports, and much more! Make sure that these honors are in place and ready to support your application. Some universities may want proof regarding these qualifications, so keep them ready.

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Map it out

You obviously need to know the location of the colleges you’re applying to. Keep in mind the distance from home, the best transportation point and the accessibility to the city’s or town’s resources. Be aware of the geography and climate, so that you can buy your clothes and dorm supplies accordingly.

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Aim, Dream, Be Confident

You need to have these factors when you apply to colleges. Always be positive and open-minded. Create goals, either small or big, but something that will make yourself feel good in the end. Confidence is the key to a good application. Even though you’re unsure what to do in the future, as long as you’re confident that you want want to achieve something, that’s all that matters!

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It is not necessary to follow these steps in the exact order. Do so according to your comfort level. College planning and applying may not seem very appeasing, but it doesn’t have to be exhausting and stressful either. Just remember, there’s always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Good luck on your applications! Cheers!

 

Featured image source: www.contracosta.edu and imgkid.com
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