Finding the perfect college does not happen over night. It takes time spent researching online, attending college fairs, and going on college visits. This is such an important process for high schoolers that expect to go to college after graduation. This effort will not advance, though, if the student does not put in the time and effort.
Most admissions officers and guidance counselors suggest that students start the college search as soon as possible—if not by sophomore year, than definitely by the end of junior year. It is most common for students to start looking into different colleges during their junior year.
“Students should definitely start junior year by researching online,” said Assistant Director of Admissions at Saint Anselm College, Kathleen Farmer.
Visiting colleges is another important step when planning for the future.
“Exposure to a lot of different colleges helps you see that there is so many different types of colleges,” said Farmer.
In addition to visiting colleges, students should begin to learn what it is that colleges are looking for in an applicant.
Colleges typically look at the applicant’s classes and levels, high school transcripts, class rank, standardized test scores, leadership qualities, and extracurricular activities.
“We want to see you committed to an activity rather than not as committed to ten activities,” said Farmer.
This is the opposite of what students think—that joining as many possible clubs at school will help them get into colleges. Instead, it’s not the amount of extracurriculars that they are involved in, but their level of commitment to them.
Getting into college is important, but another aspect of the process that holds the same significance is the ability to financially afford it.
Many people get accepted to places that they cannot pay for. To try and prevent this, students and their parents should begin to create a budget that they can afford. Students should also do their part by applying for as many scholarships as they can. Every scholarship earned takes a little pressure off those paying for college, whether it be the parents or the student.
Woodland juniors were given the opportunity to continue their search for a college at the Hartford College Fair. Surrounded by more than 180 colleges, students could find out about most of the colleges that they were interested in. Junior Casey Stevens found the experience to be very helpful to her.
“It helped me to recognize other colleges rather than the prominent schools mentioned today,” said Stevens. “It also helped me to narrow down on majors so I could ask questions concerning research opportunities.”
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