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Juniors, although high school graduation is still over a year away, now is the best time to create a plan for your post-secondary education. Senior year is an extremely busy time in your life, so the more research and preparing you knock out now, the less stress and sense of urgency you’ll have on your plate next year. Believe me, you’ll be happy you got your ducks in a row ahead of time!

Where do I begin?

If you don’t know what you’d like to study in college, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your interests and skills? Think both inside and outside of the classroom!
  • What careers fit those interest and skills? Could you make a living with that career?
  • What colleges offer classes that can help you prepare for the career you’re considering? What degree does my career require and how long am I willing to attend college?

Research colleges 

There are four kinds of colleges, and knowing what type of degree you’ll need for your career can help to narrow down which one you attend.

  • Two-year community college: Offer certificates, diplomas, Associate Degrees and Gen Ed/Transfer programs.
  • Four-year public colleges and universities: You can obtain a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree.
  • Four-year private colleges and universities: Degrees will be the same as a four-year public institution.
  • Career schools: Technical and vocational programs, typically two years or less, that offer certificates and diplomas.

Talk with your school counselor about your plans so they can provide information and help guide you on your journey. When college admission reps visit your high school or you attend a college fair, have a list of questions ready to ask them. They know their college best and can inform you of important opportunities and deadlines. Also utilize College Profiles on EducationQuest’s website, to obtain details about colleges throughout the nation.

Narrow your choices 

Once you’ve determined a career and researched colleges, it’s time to start narrowing down your list to a handful. Factors to consider to help you accomplish this include:

  • Academics – Does this college offer the right curriculum for your major?
  • Size – If you need more one-on-one interaction with professors, then perhaps you should consider a smaller college. If you excel, regardless of class sizes, then maybe a large university is for you.
  • Location – Consider the size of the city, as well as the college’s proximity to your home town. The farther you move away may dictate how often you can return to visit family and friends.
  • Cost – Make sure you know what it will cost to attend each college for an entire academic year. This is a sticker price, so if you’re really interested in a college, give them the opportunity to offer you aid which can potentially bring down the cost.
  • Career prep – Does the college help set up internships, offer mock interviews, or have resources for job placement?
  • Social climate – Are there events and opportunities held on campus for you to connect with other students?

Visit colleges

Just like buying a new pair of shoes, you need to visit each of the college campuses to determine if it’s the right fit for you!  Spring of your junior year is the best time for campus tours! Visit colleges while they are in session (not during their breaks) so you get a real feel of the campus . Contact the admission’s office at least two weeks in advance to schedule your tour. You can expect the following while on a visit:

  • Tour of campus, dorms and cafeteria
  • Ask lots of questions of the following people
    • Your tour guide
    • Admissions rep
    • Financial aid staff
    • Professor in your field of study, if you schedule in advance
  • Ask yourself if you can see yourself attending that college

Stay focused

Juniors will have the opportunity to take the ACT exam this spring. So regardless if your college requires an ACT or not, we strongly recommend you prepare and take the exam very seriously.  Doing well could mean $$ in scholarships, to help pay for your college education.  And finally, finish your junior and senior year academics on a high note! This is no time to hit cruise control, as colleges will determine admission and potentially scholarships based on your final high school transcripts!

If this process seems overwhelming, contact the EducationQuest location nearest you for free help.