A college prep guide for seniors

Graduates+say+goodbye+to+the+place+they%27ve+known+for+the+past+four+years.

Photo from HippoPx

Graduates say goodbye to the place they’ve known for the past four years.

As senior year comes to an end, many seniors are left confused over what to do as they head into their freshman year of college. Lots of seniors have already committed to the school of their choice, but do not know what to do next. Here are some helpful college prep tips for seniors in need. These tips are also helpful for underclassmen who are planning to attend college.

It is never too early to start planning for college. Many high schools offer plenty of courses that can help to gain a better college experience. There are many opportunities offered such as Advanced Placement (AP) classes, courses involved in specific interests, and dual enrollment opportunities. Dual enrollment is when a student can take college courses along with their high school classes. This helps students to get a head start to their college careers.

Campus Tours

Once an academic plan is put in place, it’s time to start looking at schools. Before committing to a college, it is very helpful to visit the campus beforehand. Many schools offer opportunities to take tours to help to get a feel of the school, what campus is going to be like, and what life is like in the surrounding areas. This also allows potential students to gain an understanding of the curriculum, get to know the staff at the school, as well as potentially making friends.

Due to Coronavirus, many colleges have opted out of doing in-person tours of campus. In place of this, plenty offer guided virtual tours. These tours give the same information that a regular tour would, stopping at the same places, and are more accessible than a normal tour. These virtual tours are also helpful to people who might not be able to travel great distances to visit a school. These tours can be found on the school of choice’s website.

Resources

Using the resources provided by schools is also incredibly useful. Colleges will provide financial aid opportunities to help students pay for what they need. Financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and loans are offered to make college more accessible and affordable. There are also plenty of online resources to use to find financial aid. If you need help, make sure that you set up a meeting with your school counselor. It is their job to help you to succeed. They can help guide you along the way and are there for you when you need them.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required for students to sign up for student aid. It is a questionnaire that can help determine financial aid opportunities to help with the cost of college, and determine what sort of financial aid that you are eligible for. The form explains the process of how to fill it out and apply.

Bellefonte Alumni Jenna Etter is attending Penn State Behrend in Erie, PA. She is majoring in Communications.

“I was actually all over the place when it came to preparing for college…I remember being super stressed out and crying a lot because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing when I was preparing.”

Jenna continues, “Things are so uncertain right now, and being one of the classes that also had to deal with a lot of senior activities being canceled, once you are graduated and done that stuff honestly doesn’t even cross your mind anymore. Once you get to college or out into the world, there are so many new things to experience that will top what you could’ve done your senior year.”

She said, “There’s so much freedom which is intimidating to a lot of people but it’s so refreshing from high school. When it comes to college, just stay on top of what you’re being asked to do, because you won’t have professors emailing or chasing you because you have late work. So just be aware and responsible but take time to focus on yourself and enjoy the freedom.”

Jenna encourages college-bound students to form a good relationship with their academic advisor. She also believes that it’s important to talk to people if you have questions, even if that means coming out of your comfort zone.

Reach Out

Preparing for college is also an emotional journey. It is a completely new experience, but you are not alone. College is an unknown experience that is new to you and all of your peers. It is important to stay open and voice your worries and concerns during this time period. Reaching out to peers, counselors, teachers, and parents can help to relieve some college stress from your life.

Keeping these in mind, the college experience is different for everyone. The journey is a long and stressful one, but fulfilling at the same time. The road may look tricky up ahead but keep your chin up. It will all be worth it in the end.