Getting a head start on your college search is key in getting into your dream college. Schools like to see that you are actively looking for a college or university to apply to and hopefully attend. Showing them that you are getting a head start lets them know that you are determined and ready to start to your future college life! And it’s never to early to start! Here are some fantastic ways to get a head start on your college search!
1. Take the PSAT
The PSAT is a great way to get ahead on your college search. Not only will you get great practice for the SAT but you can opt to receive emails and letters from interested colleges and programs. It’s always helpful to have colleges send you emails and letters to make sure you get the latest info. Plus, if you receive letters by mail too, you can keep them in a box and go through each college one by one! And it’s a great way to stay organized too!
2. Visit Schools
Visiting schools is a huge part of preparing for college. Pictures and online videos sure are handy as a quick reference, but in order to get the full effect, you have to go there in person. It is easy to schedule a visit, as colleges are constantly offering tours and open houses to welcome newcomers. You can even talk to the tour guides, who are usually juniors or seniors who actually go to the desired school, and get some important questions answered!
3. Talk to Your Guidance Counselor
Although your guidance counselor might seem like just another teacher, they are there for a reason! Guidance counselors have been through everything you’re going through in your college search and there’s a great chance that they can answer a lot of your questions and even help with finding the perfect college for you. Remember, don’t be afraid to talk to them. They are there to help you!
4. Think about Possible Interests
Having some interests that you might consider as your major in college is vital in your college search. You want to find a college that specializes in your desired field or has received awards based in your area. For example, if your talent is music then you might consider a highly ranked school of music such as Julliard. There are tons of colleges that offer a wide variety of majors. Look into them and see where you fit in!
5. Research Scholarship Opportunities
It is never too early to get a head start on some financial aid! You want to make sure to apply for as many scholarships as you can so you have as many opportunities as possible. And researching is key. It would be perfect to find a scholarship that embodies everything that you are and everything that you work for, such as an academic scholarship, music scholarship, or even scholarships for different ethnicities! What ever your specialty, try to find as many scholarships based around that as possible!
6. Talk to Older Relatives or Friends
Unless you’re a first generation going to college (there’s a scholarship for that too!), you probably have an older relative, parent, or sibling who has gone to college. They can be extremely helpful in your college search because they have experience. They can show you the in’s and out’s of applying and give you tips on campus life! So give your great uncle a call or go talk to your parents! They’ll be more help then you think!
7. Summer Programs
Although summer is your time to relax and recover from the school year, a summer program for a week or two won’t take too much away from all of your "me time." Many colleges offer high school students great programs that will allow you to actually stay in a dorm room and take some real college courses! It is a great way to get a taste of what’s to come!
8. College Fairs
A lot of high schools hold college fairs where students can meet representatives from potential colleges in a public environment, get some brochures, and ask some questions. A lot of the time, they are held during school hours so juniors and seniors can go and take a peek at what’s to offer! This is a great start to figuring out where you want to go on your college journey!
Preparing for college is a huge step in any teenager’s life and getting a head start is always a great idea. It is never too early to start searching and before you know it, the perfect college will be right in front of you! Remember to focus on your wants and your needs in a college and be sure to find the right college that fits you! Do you have any more tips on getting a head start on your college search?