- Start with yourself. You should begin or should have begun seriously looking at colleges in your junior year. Your main objective is to select a college that fits your personality and will provide you with the opportunity to reach your educational goals. Other important factors are: Your Grades and Cost of Attendance. These factors play a vital role in college selection. Listed below, in detail, are explanations and checklist that will aid you in selecting a college.
WHAT KIND OF PERSON ARE YOU?
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Meaning, are you outgoing or shy. Are you looking for excitement or a consistently quiet study environment? Do you prefer large classes or small classes? These are factors to consider. Hopefully, by your Junior year you will have an idea about your personality and social preferences. The better you know yourself and the more comfortable you feel with who you are before you start this process, the better you will be able to handle all the confusion and make a good decision.
THINK ABOUT YOUR GOALS AND VALUES
- Although you may think that you have a pretty good idea of who you are; you may soon discover differently. Most of you, as teenagers, will go through a phase where you “Try on different personalities” to see if a particular personality provides a good fit. As time and experience grows, you will soon find a personality or combination of personalities that feel comfortable to you. In any regard, you now have the ability to draft a preliminary life and career road map. It is suggested that you really think about how you want your life to be 4 years, 6 years, even 10 years from now. Long-term planning helps to provide a visual roadmap for you. Of course as time passes you will alter you roadmap, but the important thing is to have a map. Think about it, before you go on a trip you map out the best route, every step, to take; same principle.
Be sure to map out your Educational, Career, Financial,etc goals and record them in your Life/Success Journal. Also, be sure to review them periodically. Planning, Committment, & Execution is the Key.
EVALUATING YOURSELF NOW WILL GIVE YOU A HEAD START
- Doing some serious thinking about your academic strengths and weaknesses, your personality, your goals, and your values will help you know what to look for when you read about colleges and when you visit them. It will also prepare you to present yourself in the best possible light to the colleges you do apply to. The more seriously and honestly you think about yourself now, the easier it will be to make a good impression in your college inter views and in the essays you submit with your applications.
SELF EVALUATION CHECKLIST
How competitive are your grades and SAT, ACT scores?
Have you taken the most challenging courses available to you? Why or why not? What kinds of courses have interested you the most?
What kinds of courses have you had the most trouble with’
What kinds of learning have you pursued on your own? For example, do you like reading about under water exploration, current events, what makes people tick?
Do you enjoy traveling and making discoveries about different ways of life?
Is it hard to tear you away from your computer or from tinkering with mechanical things?
Do you enjoy solving problems or expressing yourself artistically’ Are you happiest when you’re working alone or working with people?
What kind of learning style do you have? Do you learn better when you are closely supervised or when working on your own?
Do you function better in large classes or small ones?
Are you at your best in practical lab courses, small discussion groups, lecture courses?
What is your high school like? Has it been challenging enough for you? Too challenging?
Are your interests academic, artistic, athletic respected there?
How would you change it if you could?
Do you feel prepared for college level work! Why or why not?
Do your grades and test scores accurately reflect your ability:, Why or why not?
Has anything held you back in your high school career?
Do you really enjoy intellectual work reading about ideas, discussing them, contributing your own?
ACTIVITIES AND INVOLVEMENT
What social and recreational activities do you most enjoy? How do you like to unwind after a hard day?
Are sports important to you? Movies? Theater? Musical events?
Are you basically a loner or is it important to you to get involved in the community around you?
Are you experienced in dealing with people whose interests and backgrounds are different from your own?
How have you responded to such people in the past?
Do you look forward to such experiences in the future?
Are you eager to get far away from home or would you rather stay near your family and the things you know?
GOALS AND VALUES
What is your idea of success:, What do you hope to accomplish in your life?
What accomplishments are you most proud of in your life so far?
Do you feel you have missed out on anything in your high school years’ What would you do differently if you had it all to do over again?
What experiences in your life have influenced you the most?
What kind of person would you like to become?
Which of your talents would you most like to develop?
What would you like to change about your self?
How would the people who know you best describe the role you play in your school, your family, your community?
How has your home, school, and community environment influenced you?
What expectations have other people set for you?
How do they differ from the expectations you have set for yourself?
DECIDE ON THE TYPES OF COLLEGES YOU ARE INTERESTED
- Now that you know a little more about yourself, you are ready to learn which colleges would best match with you. Do not worry. You can start slowly. Look over the following checklist. Check off any item that describes a strong preference. if a factor like size or location does not matter much to you, check unimportant. If you’re not sure what you want in 9 given category, check unsure. Remember, your ideas may change about some things but it is good to start with some idea of what you are looking for. At the same time, keep in mind the types of schools that are likely to be most interested in you). Also bear in mind that all decisions involve tradeoffs giving up one thing in order to gain another. No situation is perfect. That small college in the country may be cozy but may also have limited re search facilities and course offerings. That large urban school may have an incredible library and wonderful cultural activities but lack a sense of community. Over the next few months you will be discovering which of the following factors are truly most important to you.
VISIT YOUR COLLEGE COUNSELOR
- Once you have done some serious thinking about yourself and the colleges you are interested in, you are ready to talk to your college counselor. Your goal over the next few months is to collect as much information as you can. Your counselor should be able to help you locate this information and to give you some idea of the types of schools you should be aiming for. Remember to take advantage of COLLEGE COMPASS. It can help you locate information on many topics of relevance.
Your school may schedule regular guidance appointments for juniors and seniors. If not, set one up yourself. the first visit for the middle of your junior year. you visit the counselor, take a record of your grades PSAT scores (or SAT scores if you’ve already taken them). Also take the What Are You Looking For? checklist in this section. Discuss your college preferences and ask the counselor’s advice on schools that may be of interest to you.
See your guidance counselor as often as possible. He or she will have information about scheduled college fairs which you can meet representatives from various college or give you tips on scheduling tests, filling out applications, selecting teachers to write recommendations, or lying for financial aid.
P Find out what information is available in your guidance office and public library. Using these free resources save you time, money, and effort. Some schools have programs or card files on colleges, with information organized according to factors like size, geographical area and competitiveness. Start compiling a list of schools that interest you for one reason or another.
SIGN UP OR THE STUDENT SEARCH SERVICE
- Another way to learn about colleges is through the Student Search Service (SSS). which you can sign up with when you take the PSAT or the SAT. If you register for this service, your name and address will be sent to colleges that are looking for students whose credentials and preferences match yours. But beware: you may be bombarded with material if you sign up for this service. and just be cause colleges send you a new piece of mail every week does not necessarily mean they will accept you if you apply. But if you really want to collect as much information as possible, then you may want to register for SSS.