Somebody recently told me that they thought talking to high school juniors this early about their college search was just a scare tactic. Halloween’s over! The “scare” will be if you put off beginning your college search much past this Thanksgiving. Why the rush? Here are just 5 good reasons:
1. Junior Year Grades Are Most Important
Let’s face it! Spring semester of your junior year in high school is your last chance to make an impact on your GPA for colleges to consider. You can’t afford to mess it up. And, senior grades count too! You don’t want make the process of college choice any more stressful than it already is!
2. You Have Only 3 Days Left for College Visits
Call me crazy, but consider this: If you’re a very involved student (academics, athletics, music, debate, etc.), your every weekend is packed with activities, competitions and homework. I know you don’t want to miss any AP classes! So, that leaves 3 possible time slots to visit colleges: MLK Day, Presidents’ Day, and Spring Break. After that, it’s summer! What good is it to visit colleges in the summer when there are no students or faculty to interview?
3. It Takes Time to Figure Out Your Major
Sure, going into college as a “Still Deciding” major is just fine! And, the more you know about your career interests, aptitudes and plans, the further ahead you’ll be, even as an Undecided! If you go into this decision “blind,” then you can expect your degree will take a semester or two or three longer than just 4 years.
4. Get Acquainted With the Financial Picture
Do you know where the money for your college education is coming from? There are many things to learn about college costs and funding options. Parents would do well to have an honest discussion with their students about the realities of your family college-funding plans. Waiting won’t make that conversation any easier.
5. Exploring Colleges Takes Time
People often compare the college search to shopping for a house: You’ve got to research and visit a lot of them before you can make a good decision. You need to consider and understand what is important to you and why certain colleges will fit you better than others. Look at more than location, cost and majors offered. Really, there are more than 40 different factors to consider as you look at colleges!