All of the adults in your life tell you that you have to go to college, but they all fail to mention one thing: how? Over ten million students apply to colleges each year. If you’re confused or overwhelmed, you’re in good company!
Now, how should you begin planning for college?
We’ve created this brief guide to help you learn how to apply for college like a pro. It can help you create a college plan so you’ll be ready when application season rolls around!
Keep reading to discover everything to keep in mind as you navigate exactly how to plan for college in 2022.
How to Choose a Major
Many students believe that they must have a major in mind when they’re ready to apply to a school. In some cases, that’s correct.
Many specialty programs have limited slots. Programs in the arts might even require auditions. In those unique cases, you might need to apply directly to a program or school.
If you’re not sure yet, don’t worry. At most liberal arts colleges, you don’t need to declare a major until your sophomore year!
Take as many general education classes as you can during your first two semesters. Try to take an introduction class to the fields that interest you most.
Remember that you don’t have to work in the field you major in! Many students go on to work unrelated jobs. Others pursue graduate studies in different areas entirely.
All that to say, there’s no rush!
How to Fill Out a College Application
The first thing to know about college applications is that they come with a fee. If you visit a college campus or reach out to an admissions representative, you can often get a fee waiver. That can make the process more affordable.
Many schools utilize a “common application,” which you can use to apply to multiple schools. They include standardized questions and essays, so you only need to complete them once.
For many colleges, you may need to write a bespoke essay. If you need help, look up some compelling high school essay topics. Always have another person look at your work before you submit it!
How to Pay for College
College loan payments can be crippling, so do all you can to ensure that you choose an affordable path. Many states reward high achievers with free in-state tuition. You can also begin applying for academic scholarships as early as junior year.
When you enter art or essay contests, you might win educational grants. A grant is a financial reward that you can use toward your education. These can help out a lot with paying for textbooks and supplies.
Consider doing two years at a local community college before transferring to a four-year school to finish your degree. You can graduate from an impressive school and pay half the tuition.
Planning for College One Step at a Time
Planning for college can be an overwhelming prospect, especially if you’re a first-generation student. If you take the process one step at a time, it’s easier to manage each task. Consider creating a checklist to help track your materials and deadlines.
Are you still daydreaming about that perfect major? Check out the rest of the blog for more college and career advice.