I had often heard about it from my parents and teachers—even my older sister—but it wasn’t until the Fall Semester of my senior year that I began to realize that it too, would come for me. All of a sudden, it felt as if an enormous, flashing red arrow had been hoisted above my head that said: “Real World”, please hit here. Applications? You mean colleges aren’t going to be busting down my door with scholarships? Transcripts, you say? My high school counselor will take care of that right? Early action? What does that even mean?
If you are anything like me, when the time comes to begin making decisions about colleges, you’ll feel completely overwhelmed. All too soon you will begin to realize that your high school counselor has 100+ other students with exactly the same dilemma. What now?
Start with the basics:
Discuss your options. Before you begin your college search, sit down with those who will be helping finance your education. Know what options are realistic for you financially and start from there.
Apply to as many schools as possible. A large number of schools—one of which being Transylvania—utilize “The Common Application” which allows you to distribute multiple copies of a standardized application to various institutions (and it’s FREE). Regardless of outside factors, apply to EVERY school possible (if finances are an issue, there is no harm in applying—scholarships/grants have not been taken into account yet). It will be a lot of work but expanding your options will give you more leeway in making your final decisions.
Mark the date. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get a calendar/planner designated specifically for all things college related—ACT/SAT dates registration and test dates, FAFSA deadline, application deadlines, scholarship deadlines, interview dates, etc.
Talk with an admissions counselor. Corresponding with a college admissions counselor can be a tremendous help in quelling any fears you may have about a potential college. Admissions counselors are here to help you answer any and all questions you may have and act as a resource to you as you navigate the college application process. At Transy, our admissions counselors are an especially vital part in introducing you to our community.
Visit the campus. Visit as many campuses as you can. No matter where you end up, it is important that you feel at home. The best way to determine if a college is right for you is to get a feel for student life—eat in their dining hall, sit in on a class, spend the night in their dorms.
Talk to students. Campus tour guides have essentially been trained to market the school. Impromptu conversations with students outside of the admissions office can often provide you with information about college life that isn’t always a part of the admissions script.
In spite of the chaos surrounding it all, just remember:
Keep Calm and Stay Strong!