Spring semester is just beginning, and high school seniors are one step closer to entering what may be some of best years of their lives: college.
With their high school careers winding down and graduation in sight, most high school seniors are anxious and excited about taking the next step. But in all the busyness, stress and excitement, it’s easy to forget there are still a few things to check off the checklist before starting college next fall.
Narrow your choices
By now, many seniors may have already made their choice about what college to attend. It’s important to have narrowed your list of schools by this point. If you haven’t visited your top choices in person, it’s not too late to do so. Visits often help you to determine if a school is the right fit for you. These visits could make the final decision easier. Click here to sign up for Trevecca's preview day in March!
Take financial aid into account
Financial aid can heavily influence your final decision about where to go to college. Therefore, seniors and parents should be comparing financial aid packages at this time. Comparing will help you understand what your family can afford. It will also give the family an idea of how much loans the student should take out.
Enough technical talk; it’s time to get emotional. College is about more than fun. It’s a chance to grow academically, spiritually, physically and personally. Your college experience can be life-changing—and you will most definitely face stressful moments or seasons. Are you ready for it? That question is sometimes forgotten or overlooked as you check off the items on your list of things that need to be done to prepare for college. Take the time now to think about how you handle stress, what you want to learn or gain from your college experience and the people you need around you for support.
Develop key qualities
Being emotionally and mentally prepared is half the battle of college. Social skills, time management and taking responsibility for yourself are all important qualities to develop before leaving the nest.
Social skills are more then just being friendly; it’s about your ability to communicate. Communication is going to be very important during your college years because you’re essentially handling situations by yourself. If there’s an issue you need to talk over with your roommate, can you communicate effectively? What are some appropriate ways to communicate with a faculty member or ask a question about your grade? Now is the perfect time to start assessing your communication skills. If you’re hot-tempered, take the time now to learn to deal with your emotions without hurting others. If you’re passive aggressive, work on speaking up about your emotions, always remembering that a problem is rarely solved if the person doesn’t know about the issue.
Being able to manage your time will be a big part of your college experience. With papers, projects, work, extracurricular activities, studying and spending time with friends and family all on your schedule, it’s easy to let things slip. Prioritizing is the key towards successful time management. Being able to keep track of deadlines can help you finish things on time and stay ahead of the game. A simple calendar is a great tool for prioritizing. Writing down important events and assignments will give you a better outlook of your week. If you’re a high school senior who is always behind on something, get a calendar or planner and start writing down assignments. This way you can already have an idea of prioritizing before starting college.
Also take some time to think about responsibility and your level of it. Responsibility is so much more then just being out on your own. Do you have self-control? Can you make mature decisions, and do you hold yourself accountable for your actions? These are things you must be able to do when you’re in college.
Responsibility can be tricky to prepare for, but there are some habits that can help you grow more responsible. Start small and make a list of a few things in your life you want to take more responsibility for in these last few months before college starts. It could be as simple as doing laundry or cooking a meal. Begin getting comfortable with admitting your mistakes and learn to see the lessons in them. Practicing self-control is also important because a part of being more responsible is controlling yourself to do things that are best for you, rather than what you want to do. Remember, growing in this area will take some time, so be patient with yourself.
Make it count
In just a few months, you’ll be walking across the stage at your high school graduation. Make the most of these last few days and classes.
And once you and your family have made that final decision about where you’ll attend college, jump into it wholeheartedly. College is going to be exciting and scary all at once, but the future will be as great as you make it.
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