College Planning: How to Get Started
Step 1: Get Started
Assess your strengths, weaknesses, goals, passions, learning style and social skills. What is most important to you in the college-search process? What do you hope to learn from the process?
Step 2: Make Some Basic Decisions
- Where do you want to live?
- Will you go to college full time or part time?
- What type of college/university would you like to attend?
Step 3: Enlist Help
Who do you want to assist you in this process (parents, counselors, teachers, siblings, etc.)?
Step 4: Consult References and Websites
Look at college directories (College Board's College Handbook, Barron's, Peterson's) and use college searches (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/) or (http://knowhow2go.acenet.edu/). Visit the websites of the colleges that interest you and review their admissions requirements.
Step 5: Talk
Discuss your goals and plans with your parents, teachers, and school counselor. They can provide helpful advice.
Step 6: Meet with College Representatives
Visit with college representatives when they come to your high school. Make a list of your important questions to ask the representatives. Also meet college personnel at area college fairs.
Step 7: Visit Campuses
Try to go to the college campus and take a tour, meet with admission and financial aid representatives, and ask students what they think about college. Can't make the trip? Many colleges provide virtual tours on their websites.
Step 8: Plan Ahead to Cover Costs
Seek out scholarships using various websites (www.mycollegeoptions.org/scholarships-search-by-major.aspx) or speak with your counselor. Learn about Federal Student Aid & State Financial Aid (www.gafutures.org). Learn how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (www.gafutures.org/federal-aid-scholarships/fafsa/). Speak with parents, other family members, and mentors about your options.