Attending college is a huge step in any student’s life. Whether you attend public or private school or you are homeschooled, there are several important things you will need to know about not only getting into college but how to pay for it as well. Being fully prepared for college can be stressful, especially for those who are homeschooled. Here are a few tips to help guide you through the college selection process, testing, getting your foot in the door, and financial aid.
Searching for Colleges
When you’re looking for a college to attend, think about the major you’ve chosen. Look for schools that are accredited for that major, and read about the college to be sure they will offer the courses you need or want to take. Decide whether you want to enroll in a college that provides online classes, if you want to stay on campus, or if you’d just prefer a school closer to home that you can drive to and from. You will also want to determine whether you’d like to enroll at a state university, private college, or some other college. Write down a list of your wants and must haves as well as a list of extra perks. Use this as a starting point of criteria when you send out those applications.
Most high school students must take some form of tests in order to get into college. The two most popular and widely used tests are the SATs and the ACTs, but there are other tests that colleges use as well. Be sure you know all about the testing prerequisites before you apply so that you will have scores to give them with your application. If you are homeschooled, you will want to find out when you can be scheduled to take these tests. It is also recommended that you look at some sample questions and take a few practice tests. This way, you will know what to expect and be prepared on testing day.
Find out exactly what your target college requires for admissions. Most schools also have an application fee that must be sent in with the application. In most cases, an essay is also required. Some modern schools even ask for video essays or presentations. Be sure to get creative and sell yourself to the college. Convince them that you will be an asset to their university, and talk about your personal goals. Include past achievements such as any awards you’ve won, any community service you’ve done, and any teams or organizations you have been a part of. Just because you are homeschooled does not mean you don’t have anything to offer, so focus on the things you have accomplished and highlight them.
Of course, part of going to college is determining how to pay for it. Fortunately, there are plenty of different financial aid options available. First, fill out any required federal aid forms. Then, you can opt to apply for grants, which are money given to some students that does not have to be repaid. There are also many different scholarships sponsored by different private companies and other organizations that you can apply for. If you choose to apply for scholarships, it is recommended that you apply as early as you can and for as many as you can. In addition to scholarships and grants, there are many low-interest student loans available as well. Do your research and find out which loans have the best rates as well as which ones you will qualify for.
Keep in mind that college is a time to expand your horizons and work toward that degree you’ve been hoping for. If you want to save money, choosing a close-by campus or community college or taking online classes might be your best option. If you decide to stay in a dorm, make a comprehensive list of everything you will need before you head to school. Ask your parents, friends, and family members for good advice about college life. Remember to always keep your eyes on the prize and focus on studying as much as possible.
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