Are you planning to go to college after graduating from High School but don’t have an idea where to begin?
Being College Bound brings so much joy to parents and College Freshmen alike but, unless you have a well detailed plan on how to get into College, and what to do once you get there, you could end up like thousands of College Bound Juniors who end up failing dismally, because they did not have a roadmap on how to prepare for College.
In short, they put off their College preparation, until Senior year was upon them.
If this is you, don’t be like them, here’s your cheatsheet to help you avoid most Common College Prep Mistakes..
If you’re a High School Senior or simply someone fortunate enough to be heading to College, here’s are 2 common areas often ignored by most College Bound Students:
1. Constructing your final college list
2. Beginning on applications and essays
To successfully complete your list above with minimum stress and time, here’s the ideal timeline you should be looking at to do both of these things.
Goal 1: Aim to complete your college list by the last day of your High School Senior Year!
Bear in mind that every college you apply to will have different requirements you need to understand before you are able to complete your applications. This means that finalizing your college list will allow you to know exactly what types of essays you will need ahead of time so you can begin your preparatory work.
Top Tips For Compiling Your College list:
1. Do your best to compile a realistic College List.
2. For most families, affordability is very important as a determining factor.
3. Aim to send your College application to between 8 and 10 Colleges, 12 being the best. This should also include a fair share of colleges that offer full ride scholarships or grants.
4. You must take into account a good academic fit.
5. Apply to colleges that share your political and spiritual beliefs. Trust me, this matters a lot once you’re away from home, amidst strangers that you have to cohabit with every day of your semester.
6. Consider what you want in college size and location.
7. Determine your learning style and look for colleges that suit your learning style.
8. Be open-minded: there are a lot of Colleges out there that you may not have heard of that are an awesome fit to your way of thinking and life.
As you are preparing your initial college list and thinking about affordability, (unless money is not a factor that causes you sleepless nights at all!), you need to understand your family’s EFC, (Expected Family Contribution).
This will determine how much need-based financial aid (if any) you are eligible for.
It’s calculated by submitting the FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
This is the form used to get federal student aid, including student loans, grants, and work-studies. Eligibility for these various funds varies dramatically from family to family.
Goal 2: Complete your application and essay 1st-drafts by Labor Day of your High School Senior Year
One of the most common mistakes College Freshmen make is waiting for the 1st-semester year to begin this all important task.
By completing your College List by the end of your Freshman year you will be able to begin your applications and essays in the summer time frame leading into your senior year. This provides students plenty of time to do the best job possible.
The application / essay ideal timeline will be to complete all of the 1st drafts by Labor Day of the Senior Year. The first semester can then be used to “polish” them.
College Essay Tips:
1. Be yourself and never write anything that is not true.
2. Mention “Big things” or Goals about yourself, then pair those with real-life examples to personalize and make your point.
3. Don’t be boring by simply writing a list of your accomplishments; an interesting essay makes you interesting to colleges.
4. Double and triple check your grammar, punctuation and spelling!
5. If the essay instructions ask you to answer specific questions, make sure you do.
6. Write your essay drafts early enough to have time to put them aside; then come back to them later with a fresh eye.
Sadly, about 90% of College Bound Juniors have no idea about the above. This should be great news for you, for it shows you’re in the top 5% of College Bound students destined to succeed from the get-go!
The above ideas will stand you the best chance of getting into a college that is perfect for you, if you adhere to the timeline and application process.
True, we all desire to attend college that all our siblings or family members attended, as close to home as possible etc.
This is not always the case, and rarely, do plans working according to your bidding, so be open minded to apply to other Colleges outside of your area of residence, even out of state!
Search for Colleges with good academic qualifications, a good medical facility, great college towns, and also generous with their scholarship programs.
Most Freshmen tend to go for Colleges that offer Full Athletic Scholarships, whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, keeping an open mind, and applying to more colleges than what other students are doing, stands you head and shoulders above those with a far greater chance of being accepted into a great College!
Here’s to the beginning of a New life for you!
Original article here