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Road Signs that say Past and Future.I think it’s safe to say that there’s quite a bit of anxiety when it comes to being a senior in high school – about getting good grades, choosing/paying for the right college, moving away from home, making new friends…the list goes on and on.  While this anxiety could certainly hinder your ability to make the right choices, it can also fuel you to forge ahead and do what needs to be done with the big picture in mind: What does the ideal college experience look like to you?

I had the opportunity to gather input from many EducationQuest staff members and asked them, “Knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself as a senior in high school?”  They had some insightful thoughts, as you can see below:

Improve Grades and ACT Score

– Victor Garcia, Bilingual College Planning Specialist

“My ACT and GPA were considered super low; so Young Self, I would say…improve, improve, improve; don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  For example, I maybe should have looked at Central Community College, then transferred to UNK.  I should have built my resume earlier on.  Surround yourself with the professionals you want to become.”

Budget, Manage Time, Develop Social Skills

– Les Monroe, Director, College Planning

“I would tell myself: 1) Learn how to budget your money, and spend responsibly; 2) Learn how to manage your time, and use it appropriately; and 3) College is about much more than grades.  It’s your opportunity to develop (or further refine) social skills that will impact your successes and failures long after graduation.”

Figure out the Money

– Amanda Ludwig, College Planning Specialist

“I would have told myself:  Be sure to apply for scholarships; do not be shy about being proud of what you have accomplished in school and know that there are scholarships out there for you.  Also, look at the investment you are making over 4 years and not just planning for one year at a time. It was easy to just look at making the first year work financially but you have to plan for your whole education. Do not lean on credit cards to pay for expenses, work part time during school and seriously consider doing a work-study job.”

Think Big

– Eric Drumheller, Assistant Vice President of Grants & Scholarships

”Don’t limit yourself based on what you think you can/cannot do as you think about going to college; e.g., don’t assume you can’t go to an out-of-state or private college or university.”

Figure Out Who You Are

– Kim Brown, College Planning Specialist

“I would tell my younger self, ‘Girl, get to know yourself!’  What are your interests and skills? What are your talents and strengths? What are your values?  It’ll save you from taking tons of classes and will save you lots of money in college. Also, you’ll use your self-awareness to find a career that’s the right fit.”

Apply for Scholarships 

– Cecilia Herandez-Chavez, Bilingual College Planning Specialist

I would tell my younger self:  Apply for as many scholarships as you can, like your life depends on it (because it does), learn more about money management, attend college visits, job shadow.”

Explore Your Options

– Stacy Seim, College Planning Coordinator

“it’s okay to ‘not know what you want to be when you grow up’.  And along these same lines – job shadow, explore what some jobs really are all about.  In my case, I wanted to be a mental health counselor, but after taking my first counseling class my junior year of college, I realized that I hated it! I felt panicked about spending more money in extra years of school and I didn’t know what I wanted to change to.  So, I think students should take some different electives their first few semesters and explore some areas they might be interested in and see how they feel about those classes.”  

One constant theme prevails: Do your research, weigh your options, and ask for help if you need to.  In addition to your high school counselor, the College Planning Specialists at EducationQuest would LOVE to help!