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Thinking about college?

Thomas Edison once said, "opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." Seizing the opportunities college has to offer requires work. Choosing a college and deciding to apply can be difficult. The decisions that you make will follow you for the rest of your life. Most people want to make the right decision from the start but are given little guidance. The followings tips will help you make decisions about and prepare for college.

Deciding if college is right for you

When deciding how you want to advance your education, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would a four-year college be the way to go?
  • Should I choose a two-year college and then transfer to a four-year college?
  • Might a training program be a better option?
  • Do I want study in-state or out-of-state?
  • What is my financial situation? Can I afford school? How should I apply for financial aid or scholarships?
  • What are the qualifications required for my choice colleges?

Scheduling college tours

If you feel college is the way to go, consider scheduling tours of the campuses of interest to you. Visiting the campuses will give you a feel for the atmosphere of the school. You're going to be spending the next two to four years at this location, so visiting the school is very important.

  1. Choose the date you want to visit. Spring has always been a good time to go. This way you can clearly see the campus, and school should still be in session—you can see what everyday life on campus looks like.
  2. Create your itinerary. If you want to visit multiple campuses, try to find dates that ease travel and expenses. If you must stay overnight, don't forget to make arrangements.
  3. Contact the schools you wish to attend to schedule a tour, or visit school websites for tour information. Most schools will give you a walk through and offer you a chance to meet some of the staff and students. Some schools may even offer for you to stay on campus overnight.

Applying to college

If you decide to apply to college, you will introduce yourself in your application and college admissions essay. The overall goal here is to persuade the admissions officer that you belong at that school. In general, you are likely to encounter three main tasks when applying to college:

Keep in mind, college application requirements vary. Be sure to check out college websites for specific requirements.