A Beginner’s Guide to College Planning

By Elena

As a high school junior, I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about and doing some research on college. Although it’s not for everyone, and no one should be pressured into going to college, I know college is going to be a part of my future. There’s a lot you have to think about when planning for college, so here’s the rundown of the main things you should focus on.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Goals

To begin with, you have to think about some of the goals you have for yourself. You absolutely have to make goals during the college planning process, but you have to make sure that they’re feasible.

Start thinking about what kind of scores you need to get on different tests, where you want your GPA to be, and what you want colleges to see you as. You can only do these if you set goals for yourself.

At the same time, you can’t set goals that are too high for yourself, or you’ll just end up stressing yourself out far too much. Just because your parents want you to have a certain goal in mind doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s a goal you should have for yourself or that you should be trying to achieve.

Think about yourself and what you want first and foremost when creating the goals.

Make a plan

You need to make a plan for yourself. This plan should include concrete steps and deadlines for yourself to achieve the goals you have and to finish everything on time.

For example, if you want to get a certain score on the ACT, make a concrete study plan with how you’re going to get there.

Make a plan for every aspect you can think of, and do research on what you don’t already know.

Talk to people

Friends

Likely, you have friends who are a bit further ahead than you are in the college planning process. Talk with them on how they got there, and ask them about what they wish they would have done differently.

You want these perspectives. You want to know what other people have done, and you want to evaluate how helpful that would be to yourself.

Parents

Talking to parents is going to help you rethink about what kind of goals you can make for yourself. Talk to them about your family’s financial situation, how much you should get in scholarships in grants, and where you really can consider going.

Sadly, higher education can be extremely expensive, and there’s a lot of moving parts. You have to understand what you need to do to be able to afford it in the first place before you can really start planning.

Furthermore, your parents might have to have a conversation with you on what your situation even is. They might have more research or information than you on something, and it’s important to hear them out and hear out what they can and can’t do for you.

Counselor

You should also make an appointment with your school counselor. You want to talk to them about what the schools you’re hoping to get into need from you.

They might also be able to give you a different perspective, and in many cases more information.

You should plan to have this meeting somewhere in either your sophmore or beginning of junior year of high school, so that you can have plenty of time to plan accordingly.

Evaluate yourself

You need to evaluate your own interests. Think about what you’ve achieved, and think about what you might not want to continue doing.

Evaluating yourself can help you figure out how overwhelmed you are with everything, and what you career path you might want to possibly take. You don’t have to decide anything this early, but it might be a good idea to think about what fields you might want to go into to evaluate which schools might be better for you.

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