Now that you are about to graduate from high school, you are going to enter the real world. Some may make it sound scary, but it’s actually not as scary as you think. Going to college and finding a job is all about preparation and skill, and if you are well equipped for emancipation from teen life to adult life, you will do just fine. There is nothing you have to worry about.
Choosing a college to attend is going to be your first and biggest step into the “grown up world”. It’s a very important decision, so you must take it seriously. Here are a few things you must consider before choosing the college you want to attend….
1. Consider your major. This is very important, and it’s best to decide on this as soon as possible. Of course, you can change your major at any point while you’re in college, but it will save you a lot of time and hassle if you make this decision now. The best way you can decide what you want to major in is to write what I call a “Passion List“. Think of your best skills and your favorite hobbies, then jot them down on a piece of paper. Now think of some professions that you admire and school subjects that you do well in or enjoy. Jot those down as well. After writing these down, go back and read your list. Pick out the parts that you feel the most excitement about, and circle it. You will eventually find a pattern. Choose a major that fits well with those passions and skills that you have circled. Getting your ideas down on paper always helps, so don’t be afraid to use this tactic for other reasons (like listing goals).
2. Location, location, location. Sometimes you may feel tempted to get as far away from home as possible, but some of you may feel that you will be most comfortable if you were closer to home. But while choosing a location, I encourage you to consider what life would be like after college in that location. One thing that I learned when I was college searching is that there are some areas that are best for certain kinds of jobs. If you want to work while you attend college (or right after graduating), consider what area would be best for someone with your major. This will help keep you from being unemployed for an extended amount of time after you graduate. An area with a great job market will be very helpful to you in the long run. Research the necessary information before moving to a new (or unfamiliar) area.
3. Transportation. You must know how you’re going to get from point A to point B. Having your own car and license will make this a breeze, but if you aren’t very familiar with the area, you may feel more comfortable being chauffeured by cabs or buses. After the area becomes more familiar, you most likely will feel more comfortable driving yourself around. Also, having gas money is a must! You have to keep gas in your own car, but even when you are taking a cab or bus, you have to pay a couple of dollars to travel, so make sure you always have some pocket change if this is going to be your method of travel.
4. Housing. When you are going off to college, you MUST know where you’re going to live. Many colleges provide housing for their students, but some colleges do not. In this case, you will have to find a place to rent, or possibly find a friend/family member/roommate to live with. You may be lucky enough to have a family member that doesn’t require you to help out financially. If you do, take advantage of this great opportunity! But otherwise, you will need to have some kind of income to help pay the rent (or utility costs), so the next tip is a big one…
5. Finding a job. Finding at least a part time job while you’re a student is a great way to make extra money and gain some experience in the workforce. Even if you aren’t making a whole lot of money, the experience of working will give you a head start in the career you choose. Even if the work you are doing isn’t in your chosen “field”, you will still benefit from learning how to work with different types of people and follow instructions. And getting a paycheck at the end of the week definitely helps!
You might have felt overwhelmed with the idea of finding the perfect college, but with these tips, you can make that selecting process much easier. When I was looking for a college to attend, I wasn’t told to consider all of these things. I was just told to consider the college and the major. But I’m glad that I found some great tips from websites like www.collegeboard.com before it was too late. These tips definitely helped me, and I hope it does the same for you. Good luck!