As a high school student, pretty much everything is designed to drive you towards applying and attending college. But there’s not a lot of information provided about the process before you have to start it.
With this in mind, we’re sharing with you a step-by-step guide to applying to college and accepting your place.
1. Do you actually need to go to college?
The competition for college admission is fierce, and the costs can add huge financial stress for years to come. While it’s nice to have a degree saying you know your stuff, consider whether your chosen career actually needs you to graduate.
There are plenty of high-paying jobs and professions that don’t require it. And if you can get straight into the working world after high school, debt-free and ready to learn on the job, there’s nothing stopping you from skipping college entirely.
2. Choosing where to apply
There are plenty of things to take into consideration when it comes to choosing colleges to apply for. You might have always had your heart set on a certain school, or perhaps the decision is simply too overwhelming to narrow the choice down.
To start the process, you need to think about where you want to be based. You can save a lot of money by applying to a college near your home – as you can save a lot on accommodation. That said, college is a great place to take control of your independence and immerse yourself in the full experience.
While you do need to think about location, reputation is also important. If you’re studying law, for example, which schools offer the best course?
Finally, you should also consider where you’ll realistically get accepted for.
3. The application
Generally, college applications require a record of your GPA and – although it’s no longer compulsory – your SAT results. There’ll also be an essay required, and a letter of recommendation can’t hurt. Sometimes, high school students can take more advanced courses (AP classes) to better their chances of admission.
To help you ace your application, check out our tips here.
4. Scholarships and funding
Of course, the hardest part of college is the financial side. Thankfully, there are organizations out there that can ease the stress. You’d be surprised at how many scholarships you’re eligible for, so make sure to use the College Data so you don’t miss out.
It’s also worth applying to FAFSA – the federal financial aid for college students. Some aid is provided on a need-based setup, while other options can be dealt out via non-need aspects of your application.
5. Accept your place and get ready!
After you’ve handed in all your applications, it may take a while to hear back. But, if you’re lucky enough to be accepted for more than one of your chosen colleges, you’ll need to make a final decision and accept your place.
Once the hard part is over, it’s time to celebrate and get ready for your new adventure! Make sure to know your enrollment dates and check out a few community groups on social media, so you can make friends before you get there.
Lastly, enjoy. Work hard but make plenty of time for socializing and taking in the full experience!