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How to Properly Prepare for College

Millennial Magazine - prepare-for-college

College is an amazing time in a person’s life. It’s the first time you get to be on your own, away from home for extended periods of time, and it can feel simultaneously scary and exciting. The transition to college can also be difficult if you don’t know what to expect or how to prepare for it. This blog post will go over some things that will help ensure your success as a freshman at college, so you avoid all the pitfalls when transitioning into higher education.

Apply For Scholarships, Grants, And Loans

The first step to prepare for college is applying for scholarships, grants, and loans that will help pay your tuition. In September of each year, the schools publish their deadlines for submitting applications, so you need to get on a timeline right away if you haven’t already! The FAFSA website has a list of online resources via their “Where To Apply” tab where they’ll show potential awards from different sources both nationally and by state.

You can also find information about how much money different types of federal student aid are worth in terms of yearly award amounts under the “Eligibility Information” tab. It’s important to fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible and follow up with additional paperwork about scholarships and grants from sources like state agencies, non-profit organizations, or private corporations. There are also multiple scholarship search sites online where people can look through different options based on interests they have.

It’s also important to start saving money for college. You may be able to set up a 529 plan, which is an investment account that can include contributions from you and others as well as earnings on those investments. This type of savings account has tax benefits and will allow the funds in the account to contribute towards eligible education expenses at qualified institutions without taxation or penalty on withdrawals made for these purposes after certain conditions are met.

Figure Out What Your Major Is Going To Be

Figure out what your major is going to be. There are literally a million things you need to figure out before heading off into the real world, but knowing this early on will make it easier for you when it comes time to start registering for classes and picking your schedule. Your major can also help narrow down where in the country or even world that might be easiest for you to live after graduation based on culture, climate, cost of living (think housing prices), etc.

Research The College You Want To Go

Research the college you want to go to and find out about their academic programs curriculum, teaching philosophy, student culture, etc.

Find out about the student population and what their personalities are like. You may prefer large universities because it feels easier to get lost in the crowd rather than stand out as someone new; this can also allow for more diversity among social circles, or you might find it overwhelming at times when surrounded by unfamiliar faces all day long.

Other things to find out include:

  • Where most students go for resources.
  • How far are the nearest hospitals?
  • If there is a police station nearby to report emergencies if need be or just in case anything happens while you’re out exploring new territory on campus at nighttime.
  • Research into the best places to live. Is there a campus housing website?
  • Find places that are close by with stores or other means of transportation within walking distance- is it near any public transit, walkable neighborhoods, bike lanes, so you can spend less on gas money and make more for school shopping?

In short, you want your living conditions to be as convenient as possible because otherwise, everything else will become too much work without time left over at the end; this is YOUR college experience after all, not just someone else’s! So take charge of what happens next!

Get In Touch With Current Students Who Are Enrolled At The School

Some schools offer opportunities to connect with current students who are enrolled at the school. These could come in the form of events, online groups, or email lists that you can join. This is a great way to connect and get advice about what classes they take, how they manage to take 15-18 credits per semester while being a full-time student worker on campus.

You also may want to talk with them about other aspects of college life such as dorm setups, meal plans, and cooking for yourself if you’re not able to live off-campus or commute back home every night after studying all day long! The benefits of connecting with current students are getting valuable tips for college freshmen; like knowing whether or not your financial aid package is set up correctly before enrolling in any courses (you should never pay anything upfront when applying). Also, getting acclimated to their campus routine, so you can figure out how much sleep/study hours per day work best for your lifestyle, and knowing if there are other organizations on campus that align closely with your interests.

Meet With An Advisor From The College

Once you’ve met with the advisor, they will create a class schedule for you. This process can take time and requires patience since it is usually first-come, first-served on which classes are available to sign up for.

Select classes, you are interested in but do not sign up for them until they finalize your schedule. The advisor will let you know which days and times each of the available courses will be offered to take so that you can select a class that fits into your schedule.

During this time, it is important to keep track of deadlines, since all colleges have different policies about how often students need to update advisors with what they plan on taking in future semesters. It’s also important during this process to meet with an academic counselor who may tell you if any changes would need to occur before registering for certain courses such as switching majors, changing degree programs, etc.

For many, the idea of going to college is exciting and full of promise. But for others, it can be frightening because there are a lot of unknowns about what happens when you get on that campus. This post covered some steps to prepare for your first year at college- from figuring out what major you want, so you’ll know which classes to take in high school, researching colleges before applying, getting grants and scholarships if possible, and meeting with an advisor who will help guide your transition into higher education!

What do you think?

Written by Brooke Chaplan

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan

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