High School Seniors

Picking a College // Advice from a Senior

February 5, 2019

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by: Sydney McCoy

Picking a college can be a stressful time with lots of factors to consider; the location, major options, cost, sports and much more.

The first step is to pick a major that interests you.

If you are going to school for agriculture, there would be no reason to apply to a school for computer programming. Do your research on schools that are highest acclaimed for the major you will go to school for.

Next is location. Now that you know what major you want and what schools offer it, think of how far away you want to go from home.

Do you want to stay as close as possible, leave the state or study abroad?

The cost of college is expensive, and dependent on if the school is private or public and in or out of state, will make a huge difference. Private and out of state schools are typically at least $10,000 more expensive than Public Universities. Since cost is a huge deal breaker, talk to your parents if they are helping aid college expenses or if you need to take out student loans. 

Apply for FASFA, this is Federal Student Aid that anyone can apply for. It is very unheard of that FASFA will give you no money towards your college education. There are also multiple scholarships to apply for at the College and state levels and even local businesses. Scholarships are easy to come by, with $500 scholarships all the way to full rides.

Ask your school counselors for a list of scholarships you may be applicable for. Even if you get a hundred dollars, that can help pay for a textbook for a class. 

Once you have limited your choices of schools, tour the campuses.

Universities have all day events typically once a month where you can talk to admission counselors, department heads and students. Some offer weekend stays where you sleep in a dorm and sit in on classes, while others have self guided tours with maps to explore by yourself. Visit every school you can and even tour the campus multiple times. This is a place you will more than likely be living on for the next four years, you need to enjoy the campus and get a good vibe. 

Choose schools that you honestly think you have a shot at. Of course, Harvard is a very well known school and looks great on your college diploma, but if you have a low GPA and bad test scores, it will be hard to get into.

When applying to schools, remember, it is about $85 or more to just send in your application. Meaning, if you even apply to 10 schools, that is a big chunk of change to just see if you get in. Only apply to places you actually see yourself at and take the time to write essays from the heart. School admission officers can tell if an essay is not sincere, or was thrown together last minute. 

Make sure you have backup schools- if you apply to one place and don’t get in, you will be very stressed to find another school. Community College is not a bad place to go.

Both my siblings went to Wake Tech for two years to take the basic classes that are required at any University, saved money and then transferred into another school. Community College is also an opportunity to reset your GPA to try to get into a four year school.

Lastly, whatever school you graduate from, will be what is on your diploma, it will not say you went to four different schools, it will be from your final school.

Pick wisely, as this will begin the rest of your life. 

senior girl in crosswalk downtown walking city streets


This is part three of a series of guest blog posts from Sydney McCoy about being life as a high school senior.  Click here to read her thoughts on the senior portrait experience or here to read what she wishes she knew as a junior.  Check back for the next post soon!

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