Are you worried that you might not be able to afford to go to college? Do you think your grades might not be good enough to get into college? Are you wondering which classes you'll need to take to be prepared for college? Are you nervous because you'd be the first person in your family to go to college?
You are not alone! Lots of students have the same concerns that you do. The most important thing to know is that there are higher education options for everyone! So how can you begin working toward your goal to attend college?
Study hard. Challenge yourself and work to the best of your ability in each subject area. You will find areas where you excel as well as areas where you'll need to put in some extra time ̶ and that's okay! You don't have to be the best at everything; you just have to do the best you can.
Learn about different career options. New careers are constantly evolving. Jobs that people have today may not be the same 20 years from now. Go on a job shadow ̶ or two ̶ and follow someone in a career you like. It's a great opportunity to ask questions and see what they do on a daily basis. It's never too early to start finding out what types of careers interest you.
Start saving money specifically for college. You may not have a lot of money to spare, but anything that you put into a college savings account will be helpful when it's time to go to school. Maybe you can set aside some birthday or holiday money. Maybe you babysit or mow lawns in the summer and can stash away a little bit from there. You'll thank yourself later for planning ahead now.
Center for College Planning counselors help people plan and reach their dreams for college. We'd like to help you too. If you have any questions, please contact us at (800) 525-2577 ext. 119 or email us.
Have you ever visited a college campus? You will find that they are very different than what you are used to at your elementary or middle school. Your cafeteria, gym, classrooms, the nurse's and administrative offices are most likely all located in the same building. When you get to college you will realize that these places will be scattered throughout many buildings all over campus. All college campuses are a little different. Some are bigger than others. Some are located in the city, some in the suburbs, and others in rural areas. Some have tens of thousands of students and others are intimate enough for you to know everyone. The best way for you to learn about different types of colleges is to visit them. You don't have to be in high school, and you don't have to know what you are going to study when you get there; all you have to do is go with an open mind and be ready to explore.
If you live near a college or university take advantage of events that are open to the public. Most college campuses will allow community members to use their facilities, especially the library and gym. Colleges may also host speakers and events that are open to the public. If you like sports, start following your local college team and attend games hosted on campus.
If you have a family member, friend, or neighbor that currently attends college go visit them! Ask them to show you around their campus: their dorm room, the café, the gym, an academic building. It's never too early to start exploring all of the different options available to you!
Many students find that they had difficulty managing their time as they begin to juggle class work, extracurricular activities and jobs. Most students don't schedule enough time to get their work done while maintaining their commitments at school and home. Here are some helpful tips to help you budget your time now and when you go to college.
Stay organized! Organize your desk or work space. Label your notebooks for each class and keep a folder with handouts and syllabi for each course. Keep a file for personal correspondence and one for upcoming bills. Keep a supply of needed items on hand and take a little time to put things away each day. Determine where's best for you to study. Can you study in your room if your roommate is listening to the radio or watching TV? Keeping organized will save you time and frustration.
Before the beginning of each week, sit down and list all of the things you need to get done in the upcoming week. You may want to assign tasks to given days of the week if you have a tight schedule. Keep a day planner and schedule and assign your tasks daily. Be sure to check your month calendar to plan ahead for large tasks. Be sure to prioritize tasks. Carry your “To Do” list with you during the day. Consult it when needed to make sure that you at least completing your task throughout the course of the day.
Practice the SQ3R method; the reading and studying system preferred by many educators:
Remember, there are only 86,400 seconds in the day. Make them count, what you don't use, you can't ever capture again!
Did you know that community service and volunteering is not only something you should consider spending your time doing now and in high school? College students volunteer their time as well! There is no age-limit on giving back to the community.
In college there is a department called Student Activities that oversees all the different student groups on campus. Oftentimes there are several different types of volunteer groups. Habitat for Humanity allows you to help build homes for families. There are tutoring groups that go into the local school districts and help elementary and middle school students in their areas of difficulty, such as reading or math. Some colleges have a requirement to complete community service during Orientation (a time during the summer when incoming first-year students become familiar with the campus and meet other students) and students have been assigned to clean the homes of the elderly, work in a neighborhood garden or help clean the local beach. Colleges believe it is important for students to help local community members!
Do you think volunteering sounds boring? It doesn't have to be! Find out about local opportunities that sound interesting to you. There are plenty of ways to give back using the talents and interests that you already have.
Do you like to play soccer? Maybe you could coach or ref a younger league's team. Do you enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors? Maybe you could lead a Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop on a hike through local trails. Do you love animals? Animal shelters and SPCA's are always in need of happy, friendly people to play with their animals or take them for a walk. The possibilities are endless!
Volunteering can be a very rewarding way to spend some of your spare time. Start researching ways that you can give back!
Many students think that they have to be in high school or college to start asking adults about their careers, and we want you to know that you don't have to wait! Have you heard of a job shadow?
A job shadow gives you a glimpse into the job functions that someone typically does in a specific career. It's a great opportunity to ask questions and see what they do on a daily basis without actually having to work! By finding out more about the daily activities in a career, you can begin to decide if it sounds like something you would like, if parts of what they do sound interesting, or if the career isn't really what you thought it would be.
As an example, let's say you want to be a veterinarian because you love working with and helping animals. But, you may not know all that goes into being an animal doctor. They have to be really good at science and math, read a lot of medical journals to stay on top of the latest medicines and technologies as well as meet with pharmaceutical representatives about different medications. If they own their own practice they will also be responsible for advertising, paying the people who work for them as well as their office bills. There is a lot that goes into a career as a veterinarian. You may speak with one and discover that you love it and can't wait to learn more. You may also find that you like parts of what they do and that's important for you to figure out too. If you like working with animals, but not some of their other responsibilities, you can begin researching other careers with animals that do interest you.
Ask a teacher or school counselor about getting involved with a job shadow. Talk to adults that have jobs that interest you. They would love to talk with you and share information about their career. What are you waiting for? Go do a job shadow today!
Personality Zone Dr. John Holland is a psychologist at Johns Hopkins University. He is fascinated by career choices and has done extensive research about careers. Dr. Holland has a theory that individuals' interests, skills, qualities and talents can be categorized into six personality type-groupings. Your top three areas form your Personality Code.
Your personality code will help you learn more about yourself and can help you unlock the secrets to finding the best career fit for you.
CareerOneStop: On this site you can search by career and view information such as: average salary, skills needed in that type of work, tools and technologies used in the job, and typical tasks a person in that career must complete. They also have career videos available so that you can watch a person actually going about their daily work activities.
O Net Online: This site allows you to search by a particular occupation or look for careers that utilize particular skills. Once you choose a career the site shows you it's outlook for the future as well as the work responsibilities, skills necessary, etc.
Road Trip Nation: This is a great website to visit if you want to be inspired. Watch videos of people in all walks of life (music producers, authors, business men and women, etc.) that were filmed by high school and college students. Those interviewed share their journey to get to where they are, what they love about their career, perhaps what they wished they had done differently. Watch real professionals give honest answers about their career choices.
Get online and start researching your favorite careers today!