College Chaos and How to Calm It
November 13, 2022
Life beyond West can be an intimidating thought for students. It’s hard to know how to plan for the future when most of us have been in the same school district for the past 10 years. We don’t know much beyond the schools we have learned in for a decade. However, there is an exciting world beyond high school. Whether you choose to attend a trade school, go to a college, enter the workforce, etc., there are so many thrilling possibilities you can find. Many students at West look forward to attending a college after their senior year. If this is you, you might be feeling some stress and confusion, whether you are a lowerclassman or an upperclassman. Here are some tips to help you plan and relax as you navigate the path of high school.
- Do your own research. Naviance lets you explore colleges you might like. You can input criteria you prioritize, and it will match colleges to you. Keep in mind factors like student body size, majors offered, distance from home, etc. There’s a lot of information you can find just from colleges’ websites, too! If you don’t know what major you want to take, you can use online quizzes that will suggest them for you.
- Ask your friends and family. Talk to your parents and guardians about what rules they have for you about college. Do they want you to stay close to home? How important is financial aid? Asking questions like these can help you know what colleges to explore and which to avoid. Your older family members can share the experiences of their college if they attended one, or your friends may have visited a college that would be perfect for you.
- Prepare for the SAT and ACT. Many colleges are test-optional, which means you do not have to submit your SAT and ACT scores to them. However, if you do want to take these tests and send your scores for consideration, then it’s best to prepare for the tests in advance. You can use Khan Academy for free to match your PSAT results to a custom study plan. Doing a few minutes of practice each day for a few weeks or months can build up to success. You can even do full-length practice tests to simulate the real experience of taking an SAT to prepare for your sitting. There are also practice workbooks that specialize in English and math for the tests.
What colleges you are or are not accepted into do not define you. If college is for you, there will be a college for you!”
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your student services counselors are there to help you through the college application process. You can also talk to siblings, friends, or family members who have applied to college in the past and ask for advice. Having another pair of eyes to read over your essays can also be helpful, for example. You might not notice a mistake until someone else reads over it.
One last thing: make sure to pace yourself. College applications can take a long time to complete, so leave plenty of time before deadlines to begin applications and any writing supplements you need to complete. Give yourself breaks to take time to relax and hang out with friends; reading and rereading your applications can drive you a bit crazy. Also, what colleges you are or are not accepted into do not define you. If college is for you, there will be a college for you!