As a graduate of one small college (1,000 students in a town of 10,500) and…
Somebody recently told me that they thought talking to high school juniors this early about their college search was just a scare tactic. The “scare” will be if you put off beginning your college search much past the Fall of Junior year. Why the rush? Here are just 5 good reasons:
1. It Takes Time to Figure Out Your Career Direction
Sure, going into college as a “Still Deciding” major is just fine! And, the more you know about your career interests, aptitudes and plans, the further ahead you’ll be, even as an Undecided! If you go into this decision “blind,” then you can expect your degree will take a semester or two or three longer than just 4 years.
2. Parents Need to Get Acquainted With the Financial Picture
Do you know where the money for your college education is coming from? There are many things to learn about college costs and funding options. Parents would do well to have an honest discussion with their students before the college search about the realities of your family college-funding plans. Waiting won’t make that conversation any easier.
3. The College Search Takes Time
People often compare the college search to shopping for a house: You’ve got to research and explore and visit a lot of them before you can make a good decision. You need to consider and understand what is important to you and why certain colleges will fit you better than others. Look at more than location, cost and majors offered. Really, there are more than 40 different factors to consider as you look at colleges!
4. Junior Year Grades Are Most Important
Let’s face it! Spring semester of your junior year in high school is your last chance to make an impact on your GPA for colleges to consider. You can’t afford to mess it up. And, senior grades count too! You don’t want to make the process of college choice any more stressful than it already is by waiting!
5. The Best Time for College Visits is in the Fall and Spring
Call me crazy, but consider this: If you’re a very involved student (academics, athletics, music, debate, etc.), your every weekend is packed with activities, competitions and homework. I know you don’t want to miss any AP classes! So, that leaves 3 possible time slots to visit colleges: MLK Day, Presidents’ Day, and Spring Break. After that, it’s summer! What good is it to visit colleges in the summer when there are no students or faculty to interview?
Are you interested in schools that are not easy for you to visit? Check out this blog post – 10 ways to research a college when you can’t visit.
Want to know more? My College Planning Team would love to help you with your college exploration. To find out how we can help you plan and prepare, email us today!