One year ago I was a high school senior stressed about the college application process. As you narrow down your list of colleges and begin (or continue) the application process I would like to give you some advice.
Firstly, dream big, My mother always encouraged me to dream big and this motivated me to be the first person in my family to go to college. Whether or not you’re the first to attend college, you should dream as big as possible. Don’t limit yourself. Apply to your dream school or a private school or an out of state school, even if you can’t afford it, who knows you may get an awesome scholarship. Though you should dream big, you should also be realistic. You should apply for at least one in-state or affordable school. You should also be sure to apply to a safe school, or a school to which you exceed the requirements and are guaranteed a spot.
Also, take advantage of your resources. Utilize your guidance counselors and school’s graduation coach. Personally, my schools GEAR UP (a college preparation program) coordinator Jennifer helped me a great deal in my college search and application process, she even got one of my application fees waived. Also learn about your financial aid options including scholarships, grants, loans, and college application waivers.
Another helpful tip is to avoid procrastination. Last year I waited until the day before my application to my dream school was due to submit it. Avoiding procrastination would have made the process easier and less stressful. To avoid this, I would advise submitting your application at least 2 weeks before it is due.
Also I know the college process is competitive and the pressure of having high GPAs, SAT scores, and ACT scores is intense. It is vital however to not focus on your weaknesses but to focus on your strengths. For instance, you may not have the highest GPA but may have an impressive community service record. In the application process it is also okay to ask for help like asking a teacher to review your essays.
For underclassman, it is never to early to start planning for college. You can research colleges, take college tours, and perfect your standardized test scores and more.
Good luck on your college application journeys!