Career ExplorationPreparing for College
The College Selection Process
The College Search is a Journey, Not a Destination
The key to "fit" is to make a thoughtful match between the characteristics of colleges and your personal preferences. And since you're going to have several options, the thing to do is to explore the differences and similarities among colleges, and then evaluate those differences with respect to your own educational experiences, your knowledge of yourself as a student. You know, what kind of an environment do I learn best in? What is my learning style? What are my hopes and expectations about a college? What are my fears? And so the end result is the day you go away to college—the day you leave to go to college—you're excited about where you're going and you're confident that you're going to do well there.
- Lloyd Thacker, Executive Director, The Education Conservancy
Here are some of the factors you should consider in order to find a college that is a good match for you.
YES, YOU CAN!
That is the correct answer to your question, "Will I be able to go to college?" If going to college is important to you, there will be a way to do it, and there are many resources available to help you learn how to prepare yourself for, select, and gain admission to college. The college application and selection process does not need to be stressful or pressured; it can be an interesting and fulfilling process of self-discovery that will take you closer to your ultimate goal: a meaningful and satisfying career.
Use the resources of the Career Center, the Internet, local libraries, and all of the people you know to help you zero in on a list of appropriate colleges. Books, college catalogs, college videos, college selection software, Internet home pages, and Web sites all are available to students. Visits to local colleges can help you identify what is important to you. Talks with current college students, recent graduates, and adults in careers that interest you can make a difference too.
It is easy to get swept up in selecting colleges based on prestige, name recognition, hearsay and stereotypes, peer and parent pressure--but the decision about where to go after high school is too important to be made in this way. College is an exciting step toward greater independence and a satisfying life--one that only you will be living. While you will receive guidance and information from many sources, your final choice should be one you are comfortable with and one that is realistic and appropriate for your needs and interests.
Some of the factors you will want to consider when selecting a college include:
And then of course, all of the above considerations may fly right out the window when a college just "feels right"--that gut-level reaction some people have when they walk onto a certain campus. You may hear people talk about "the perfect match." While it is true that finding a college that is a good fit for you is important, it is also true that most students who head off with an open mind and a great attitude would thrive in a variety of college atmospheres. Much of the stress students feel about selecting a college would vanish if we all kept that in mind!
Students sometimes see roadblocks that appear to stand between them and a college education: their academic record in high school, their family's financial situation, their citizenship status, their family's plans and goals for them, etc. Though these factors may have an influence on where a student is able to attend college and how long it may take to complete a college education, none of these factors needs to stand between you and a college education if college is what you want.
There are so many paths to a fulfilling future! Remember that every college offers many valuable opportunities. Choose one that's right for you.
YES, YOU CAN!!