How To Prepare For College


Aryanna Goode

It isn’t uncommon for teenagers to feel a little lost and overwhelmed by the idea of college. Most kids don’t know how or when to apply for college. It’s never too soon to start planning but, sometimes it just takes that extra nudge. But, it starts with getting informed.


“If it causes you anxiety, it’s too early to start planning for college,” counselor at Mountain Ridge High School, Ms. Angela Belnap said.


The ideal time to start applying to colleges is the summer between junior and senior year. It’s even easier to start looking if you already know your major, so you can choose a school that works for you. If you have a specific school in mind, it’s smart to apply under early decision so you’ll know whether or not you got in beforehand.


When picking a college you should look at things like location, cost, size, major, degree program, and most importantly, if it’s a good school that will fit your needs. A lot of students get overwhelmed because they don’t know what they want to do or where they want to go after high school. So knowing how to pick a school can be really helpful.


Some kids decide to take a gap year after high school but school counselors and parents don’t encourage it.


“As a school counselor, my recommendation is to not take a gap year. Typically, they get into non-school related activities like work and get out of the habit of school,” said Ms.Belnap.


There are also students who choose not to go to college after high school or while in high school they just choose to work. A junior here at Ridge, Alex Papworth, says he doesn’t like the school atmosphere and would much rather just work right after high school.


College is a very scary idea for a lot of kids, for most it will the first time they will live away from home. Talking to a school counselor and taking some advice from an adult could help ease that anxiety a little.


“It was like stepping out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire,” says journalist Melissa Steward.


Getting ready for college is not only an academic matter but also a social and mental matter. It’s a big change that takes some adjusting to get used to. When kids aren’t good with the social and emotional aspects of school, the academic portion is negatively affected. It’s all about balancing everything.


But, if finances are a factor in struggling to apply there are things that can help. You can apply for grants or scholarships or depending on your family’s financial situation, you can go to the financial aid office at a college or high school counselor to get some extra help.


Some students can apply for grants which is money provided that doesn’t need to be repaid. Versus scholarships, which are merit based like academics or sports, but they can both really influence where you go to college.


Sometimes college just isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. But before you make the decision as to whether or not to go, talk to your school counselor and go to the college visits. Also listen to the announcements to look out for opportunities to hear from schools to help choose which school is best for you, and if college is a good option.


Check out the counselor’s websites for more information on colleges.