Applying to college is a big step. There’s a myriad of choices to make and information to compile in what feels like no time. Yet, with the right preparation, it can be a fun and smooth journey into your university life. That’s why it’s important to check out these 12 things when taking that next step on the professional ladder.
Transcripts are a copy of your permanent academic record. The copy includes all the courses you’ve taken with its respective calcification, honors included. The sum of the grades divided by the number of credit hours completed equals your Grade Point Average (GPA). A “good” GPA fluctuates from 4.00 (A) to 3.50 (A-). When requesting your transcripts ask for one for each application and an extra copy for yourself. Official transcripts are mailed directly from the school to the university; the extra copy is for your personal use.
2. GPA Score
A high Grade Point Average (GPA) increases your chance of joining your choice of school. But, don’t worry, with a standard or lower GPA, there are still good options to choose from. Each university has its category, definition, and range to what is a “good” score. Ivy leagues tend to accept students on the range from 4.00-3.80. Below that, chances are slim, but not impossible! Other high-ranking schools demonstrate a flexible range from 4.00-3.50. A lower score is still acceptable in many institutions. Knowing your GPA narrows down the list of potential places to choose from, while highlighting the areas you can strengthen in your application.
3. SAT’s Score
The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is a standardized test, colleges and universities ask for to “weigh-in” a student’s knowledge, important when deciding on a student’s admission. The exam evaluates scholastic competence, that’s your overall knowledge on two main sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, plus an optional essay. The first testing session begins in August till December and the second session begins in March till June. Similar to the GPA score, the higher the SAT score, the higher your chance at entering more schools. Both sections of the test can add up from 200-800 points, 1600 being the highest score possible. The average student scores 1060, anything above that is optimal.
4. Search for Your Major
Choosing what seems to be even harder or more overwhelming than picking where. But, it doesn’t have to be. If unsure of a major, take an aptitude or career test to see which professions are most akin to your abilities. If unconvinced by the results, make a list on which careers interest you or which don’t. Sometimes by working backward, that is noting what you don’t want to do, you’ll zone into that you do want. If still unsure, write your life-style goals, if you want a family, fixed hours or freelance, income, etc., and find which career matches. Remember if once you start, you don’t feel it’s your thing, you can always change majors.
5. The Best Institution for Your Major
Higher education tends to be synonymous with specialization, and certain places are known to excel in a particular field of study. The most common fields of study are Science, Medicine, Technology, Communications, and Arts. Once you find a University fitted to your interest, compare its ranking with other schools. The ranking is a comparative score that analyses faculty proficiency, school recognition, and alumni success rate, among other things. Finding the right choice for you is key to a successful academic experience.
6. The Pre-requisites
Each college and university has particular interests in students. Besides academic proficiency, many institutions search for dynamic, well-rounded people. Common prerequisites you’ll encounter, when applying to college, include the following: essays, work sample, interview, portfolio, community work, and other extracurricular activities.
7. The Campus
Book a tour and feel yourself around the campus. There’s nothing more reassuring than seeing your next home in life and all colors. Once there, ask questions regarding campus life, admissions, and student opportunities. Go to your faculty, meet the professors and directors. Also, schedule a sit-in, so you can sample a class. Visit the recreational areas and trail by the different spots on campus. Afterward, you will know if that is the right place for you.
8. The Deadlines
All test scores and personal documents are to be handed in by a deadline. On the school’s website, you can find a complete list of all the dates. You can either apply for early acceptance, which, if accepted, you have a limited period to accept or decline. If you accept, you are obliged to go to that place. The regular application session has a longer response waiting period and more competition. Either way, don’t stress, any of the two options are great. Just make sure you send all the documents on time!
9. The Cost of Attendance
Attendance is pricey, no doubt about that, but still possible to cover. The most economical alternative is to attend your state’s college or university, since, as a resident, you have a discount. If your choice of school is out-of-state, then the price may double its regular tuition. Don’t worry, whatever you choose, there are alternatives to pay the cost.
10. The Housing and location
Lodging sometimes falls at the deep end of the file cabinet, yet it’s one of the most important decisions to make when applying to college since it’ll be your home throughout your college career. The options are endless, which gives you space around the budget. For example, there are in-campus housing and out-of-campus housing with options from single, double, triple, and all you can fit option throughout the vicinity. As well as, Co-ed (male and female) dorms and single-dorm options. If near or within a city with transportation, you can save on commute spending, or if it’s a rural university, with on-campus housing, you can walk to class. If not, you’ll have to plan for a commute.
11. Scholarships Eligibility
To offer quality education to all sectors of the community, universities, government departments, and external entities award scholarships to those eligible. To access these funds, firstly, fill out the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FASFA). Then, research the university’s scholarships, fellowships, and awards catalogs. Other great online sources are studentaid.gov and scholarships.com. With scholarships aimed to empower minorities, academics, and athletes, there’s an aid for everyone.
It’s important to calculate the total cost of attendance for each potential school. That means the application fee, tuition, housing, transportation, materials, and spending money. Also, note the total funding received from the financial aid. If in need of further assistance, ask about student-work alternatives, to help pay the cost of tuition. By creating a list of weekly, monthly, and annual spendings you significantly cut back on the stress that is funding college. By calculating a budget, you can apply to your choice of schools that best match your academic goals.