Getting Started

We know that you are interested in going to college. Today, college probably seems like it is a long way off.

But in just a couple of years, you will begin to think about particular colleges that you might want to attend. In the end, picking one college out of hundreds of possibilities will require lots of thought and quite a bit of research. Here are some ways in which to begin thinking about your college options.

Getting Started
It is important to remember that you want to pick a college that is just right for you! You will be sitting in the college classroom—not your parents and not your best friend. You will want to seek lots of advice along the way, especially from teachers or counselors who know colleges well. But, in the end, no one can tell you where you’ll be happy. So start by asking yourself questions about how you feel about school right now, like:
  • How do I learn best? In large classes or small groups?
  • Do I like being one of the best in a class, or do I need the competition of other equally bright classmates in order to challenge myself?
  • Do I learn more quickly when structure is clear and uniform, or does freedom to make choices about how I spend my time for a class fit me better?
  • What extracurricular activities have been most important to me? Which will I want to continue in college?
  • What have I learned about my academic interests and abilities that will influence what I might study in college?
  • Who are my friends? Do I want my relationships in college to be similar or different?
  • Answers to these questions will help you apply what you have already learned about yourself as you think about college possibilities.
Include Your Family
Now is a good time to start talking with your family about college. Are they ready to support you as you plan for college? Are there colleges that they hope you will consider? Are they comfortable with allowing you to travel a great distance for college? Are there limits to what they can or will contribute to your college finances?

If you and your parents are on the same page—great! If not, ask your family to talk with your counselor in order to learn more about the advantages and range of colleges. If they are worried about paying for college, your counselor can help them understand the financial aid process.

Back to: Guidance for Freshmen