As we journey on into our own lives, there is always an uncertainty that we come across, and that is college. Some people go directly into the workforce, some people national services, while others go to college. However, even after choosing to go to college, there is always that nervousness on how to get prepared. Nonetheless, fear not as we will discuss a few tips to get you prepared for college.
Talk to Someone With Experience: I know, I know, you are probably reading this and are like, well duh, I know that. However, learning about another’s experience will give you an outsider’s perspective that you just can’t attain on your own. If you do not have anyone you know, do not worry since being someone who experiences something first hand will just hold you more accountable for those younger than you. In addition, it is good to keep note that on your college website suggestions might be posted about how you could get into touch with a current alumni at a certain college and talk to them online to have your questions answered about certain aspects of college such as the environment or transition between high school to college.
Researching About the College: Researching about specific areas or programs about a college of your choice will decrease your nervousness. Research about what clubs and organizations a college has to offer as well as the classroom environment. Just browse their website for any and all useful details you might need or want! That way, you will get a good idea of what each campus has to offer and you can make a final, informed decision.
Touring the College: Ok, so I am well aware of the pandemic that is going around outside, making it impossible to travel. However, I guarantee you each college has a virtual visit page in which you can view and schedule a date to have a virtual visit to the college. It usually also ends with a Q and A if you still have any questions.
What if you do not know what you want to major in?: This is a question that comes up very often, the “what do I do when I am unsure what I want to major in?” Well, no problem, in fact, going to college does not necessarily mean that you need to figure out what you want to do right away. Every college has an option to start your first year undecided. This idea is convenient as anyone can go into their first year of college without worrying about making the decision just yet. Your major, however, must be decided by the end of your sophomore year in college.
Financial Aid and Scholarships: Alright, so say you have made a decision of where you want to go and are unaware of how you are going to manage your tuition, books, and dorm costs. It can get pretty pricey. One thing that is strongly recommended by all colleges is to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is an application that determines federal aid for any permanent resident or U.S. citizen. Sometimes the FAFSA does not provide you with aid or scholarships, but it does however provide every student who signs up with the option of both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. If you are not a permanent resident or an American citizen, all hope is not lost because all colleges have a scholarship portal to find a scholarship (or several!) that are right for you. For example, the University of Arizona has the Scholarship Universe and ASU has their own scholarship portal containing both internal and external scholarships.
Social Aspect: Whenever I talk to anyone or hear about college, one of the biggest things I hear about is the social aspect of it. The living in a dorm with roommates, getting to meet new people who can potentially become life-long friends or even the clubs and activities within the college community. This is a really cool experience whether or not you are an introvert and extrovert. If you are a shy person and want to get to meet new people, keep in mind that every single person might be nervous starting off their freshman year in a school they might not know. It is always helpful to make the first move by saying hello and let me tell you that hello can go a long way.
It is understandable that you would be stressed about choosing a college and making a decision that will impact the next 2-4 years of your life. However, you will thank yourself later for being extra prepared. A choice of college should be a decision based on a myriad of factors such as geographical location, campus environment, program options and so much more. You get to make your own decisions, and you should do so wisely.