I’ve been in college and will remain in college longer than I ever hoped. At this point, I feel like I am some sort of expert. I have seen and done everything college related besides joining a sorority and the only reason I didn’t do that is because I couldn’t afford it. However, I have learned a lot from my time in college and would like to share my knowledge with the world!
And so begins my “Surviving College” series! In this series, I am going to touch on anything and everything that has to do with college. From the first day of school, off-campus housing, to how to get home safely after a night on the town. I want you to tackle college head on, equipped with some advice that someone else had to learn the hard way.
January through May your senior year is when things get real. It has officially become time to get serious and decide what the heck you are going to do once you graduate. You will spend the last few months of your high school career applying for schools, applying for financial aid, and so much more. You will have to make some hard decisions. It is a scary, thrilling, emotional roller coaster that only stops one you get settled into your new routine.
So here is my best advice to help you begin this journey!
1. Consider Community College
For some reason, community college is attributed to under-achieving or being lazy. I hate that. Community college is one of the best ideas for any up and coming college student for many reasons. It is a great place to start your college career without putting yourself thousands of dollars in debt. It allows for a smoother transition from high school to college with its smaller classroom sizes and personable professors. Your professors will most likely learn your name and be willing to work with you. Community College is a less stressful, cheaper way to ease into a college environment.
2. Pick Your Top 3 Colleges
Picking your colleges early is important. You don’t need to decide your major quite yet, but you do need an idea of where you are going to complete things such as FAFSA and scholarship applications. Picking your future college is no small task and I urge you to do your research! Some things to consider are:
- How far from home is it?
- How much is tuition?
- Does it have the major(s) I am looking for?
- What is housing like?
- What is there to do on and off campus?
These are just a few questions to help you get started. Don’t be afraid to be picky! Transferring college is annoying and difficult at the least. You want to make sure you are happy where you are going and that you are set up to succeed!
3. Apply for Financial Aid…. NOW!
Financial aid is the worst. Financial Aid will do everything in its power to keep you from succeeding but you can’t let it! That is why you need to apply for financial aid as soon as possible. The sooner you apply, the more money you are likely to get and the more time you will have to battle with the financial aid office at whatever school you choose.
You can start that here.
4. Apply for ALL the Scholarships!
Seriously. Do it. This is something I wish I had taken more seriously. Scholarships are the best way to earn money to help ease the financial burden that is college. There are scholarships for EVERYTHING! You’re really tall, there’s a scholarship for that. Pretty good at duck calling? There’s a scholarship for that. Just sit down once a week and take a few hours to research and apply!
There are lots of resources to help you find scholarships. You can sign up for websites like Scholarships.com or FastWeb.com to help you. You can purchase books like The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2017 or Confessions of a Scholarship Winner: The Secrets That Helped Me Win $500,000 in Free Money for College. Do whatever you think is necessary to help you out!
“Planning the future is not something you want to put off till the future.”
5. Give Yourself Lots of Time
This is the most important piece of advice I can give! Planning the future is not something you want to put off till the future. Giving yourself plenty of time means you will have time to make sure you are making the right decision. It will cut back on stress, worry, and the chance of rushing into something. You never want to look back with regret because you didn’t take your time.
So, there you have it! My top 5 ways to begin your college journey! I will continue this series adding new pieces of advice as often as possible. My goal is to help your college experience be the best that it can be! Till then, keep up the hard work!