Editor gives advice for college
SAT. | 03-05-22 | OPINION
It’s senior year. Students have waited for this for as long as they’ve been in school. There are many benefits and privileges that come with this milestone. Some seniors don’t have a full schedule, so they leave campus. Seniors also get to participate in events, such as awards ceremonies and prom. However, there is some baggage that comes with this year, and the most notable is applying for colleges.
With so many to choose from, it can get pretty overwhelming. If you’re like me, you get emails left-and-right from all kinds of colleges claiming to want someone like you. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re the best for you. They may be more expensive than you expect, or they don't even have a department for the major you want.
Graphic by Liv Carpenter
Here, I plan to give the best advice I can for finding the best place to study.
Step one: Find your major. This is probably the hardest part of all. I like to get the rough parts out the way first; that way everything else is smooth sailing. If you’re having a little bit of trouble, try thinking about your interests and thinking about the potential careers you can achieve. It also wouldn’t hurt to research your career choices a little bit to help you narrow it down.
Step two: Finding your top schools. There are a few apps and websites that can tell you the top schools for your major. I personally would recommend Niche. They grade colleges based on their academics, party scene, dorms, athletics, and many other things. It allows you to search for the best schools for specific majors, starting with their number-one and working their way down. The first few schools you see will be expensive ivy leagues and private schools, so keep pricing in mind.
Step three: Financial help. If you already applied for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), then you know that the amount of coverage you get will be determined by your financial status. This is another big thing to keep in mind when looking at schools, because you don’t want to pick a place you can’t afford. Teachers, parents and any adult you ever meet will emphasize the importance of applying for scholarships, and I’m here to say that they are absolutely right. Every little bit of money you win can mean so much in the long run. Every $100 is another $100 you don’t have to pay.
Step four: Continue the research even after acceptance. Pretty soon, you’ll receive a letter of congratulations in the mail, and it is the most rewarding part of the process. However, you may end up getting quite a few, and this is where the stress will kick in. You will begin to ask yourself what the best final decision would be — and fearing you’ll answer wrong. Look deeper into your accepting schools and look at what benefits they offer. ALWAYS think about the prices of their dorms, books, classes, etc. Most importantly, follow that gut feeling of what feels right. Your first choice is usually your best choice.
I hope these tips can help you a little bit. I really wish I had these when I first started applying at the beginning of the year. If you happen to get lucky and get offered scholarships from your accepting schools, keep those in mind as well. Good luck searching, and PLEASE, try not to overthink. Take your time. This isn’t a race to see who can get accepted first, or who can apply to the most colleges. This is YOUR future, so try not to be too hard on yourself.