Junior Year Is Critical for College Success

If your home-school student is interested in attending college, junior year is probably one of the most critical times for them to be on task . It's the time when they should be looking for colleges, taking college prep tests, and honing their essay writing skills. Paying close attention during junior year can even make up for some errors made earlier in high school.

One of the most important tasks during junior year is to make sure that your child takes the PSAT. It's only offered one time , in October, and some schools require you to sign up for it in September or the previous June. Simply call the public high school nearest you to register your child. The PSAT will put your child in the running for the National Merit Scholarship. The PSAT will also ask your student certain questions about himself, such as what grades he's getting, what classes he's taking, what his interests in the future are, etc.

Another important job for junior year is to decide whether to take the SAT or ACT . Most colleges will usually accept both. If either test is fine, then you can use a different measurement to decide which one is best. I recommend that you take a sample of each test, and have your child take it at home. Weigh those two tests and compare them, and then choose the one that makes your child look like a genius. One-third of kids will do better on the SAT, one-third will do better on the ACT, and for the remaining third, it doesn't really matter which one you choose.

During junior year, you should make sure to locate and attend a college fair . Going to a college fair is a lot like going to a home-school convention: each booth has a different college, so you can go door to door and get to know a lot of different colleges at one time.

After attending a college fair, think about the colleges that you met there, and make sure to plan some college visits. Your goal is to find a few colleges your student would like to attend, but there are too many colleges out there, so you have to make a first cut and go visit some, in order to whittle it down to a reasonable number of colleges to apply to.

Try to get to a place where you have just enough colleges to apply to, but not so many that it's impractical to do so. The national average for the number of colleges to apply to is six; my children applied to four. Make sure that you have a wide variety of colleges to consider, both public and private, and not just one.

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What Does a Community College Cost?

Community college costs are normally lower than four year universities. Students can take classes at community college and earn credits toward a two year or four year degree program at a lower cost.

Community colleges are local colleges that offer two year degrees, certifications and many classes will transfer later to a four year university. On average community college costs are lower than four year universities.

The national average college tuition cost for public universities is $ 4,694 per year for in state residents. This figure includes both tuition rates and fees for a full time student.

The average college tuition cost at private colleges and universities is around $ 20,000 per year in tuition and fees.

Now compare this to the average yearly tuition for a community college. The average cost of community college tuition is only $ 2,076 per year. This is less than half than a traditional four year public university and much less than a private college.

Attending a community college will also help offset the costs if a student decides to continue his or her education toward a bachelor's degree. Since community college costs are lower students are not likely to be accumulating student loans which will help their financial state in long term future.

Another factor to consider is that each year tuition rates rise. In fact college tuition costs increase at about twice the general inflation rate, about 8% per year. The future and long term costs are something that all college students, current and future, should consider when choosing a college.

Even though community college tuition costs and four year college costs increase, many students benefit from financial aid programs. Government grants such as the Pell grant provide funding for many college students. In fact students who attend community colleges may qualify for grants that would cover most or all of their community college tuition costs.

Scholarship programs awarded by colleges, businesses and non-profit organizations are also available to help students defray the cost of community college tuition. With a combination of savings, financial aid, and scholarships many students today are able to afford college tuition costs and further their education.

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How to Pay for College – 3 Myths That Have Been Been Around Long Enough

Is the thought of paying for college leaving you awake at night? Are you dreading what life might look like financially if you do decide to cover your child's college education expenses? Before throwing in the towel, discover 3 myths that may very well be holding you back and the facts that may give you hope.

Myth # 1: A College Education is Too Expensive

This myth is funny because it has spread in the media like wild. Consider this; Let's say I was a school teacher earning $ 44,000 a year. I decide to purchase a new car and naturally I walk into the "so called" best car dealership in town. In my town this happens to be a Rolls Royce dealership. I look around and soon discover that the average price of the most basic model is $ 295,850. I walk away shaking my head telling everyone who will listen, "a car is too expensive".

The Truth – A College Education is NOT Too Expensive

The fact is that the specific college your child is interested in may be too expensive for your budget but it is not too expensive for the right buyer. Just like the car example above, if we were friends, would you agree with me that cars in this town are just too expensive or would you tell me "Hey Buckwheat, keep shopping at the 5,000 other dealerships in this city.

Myth # 2: Student Loans Are a Necessary Evil

This myth is traditionally spread by professionals who really should know better. In an effort to take their advice, many financial aid professionals make these kinds of statements to make you as a parent more comfortable with debt.

The Truth – Your child can obtain a debt free degree. As the financial landscape shifts in this country, parents are rightfully becoming more skeptical about taking on excess debt. Sadly, when asked the question about how to pay for college, many parents are being advised by some financial aid counselors to opt for excessive student loans that are totally unnecessary.

Myth # 3: I Must Come Up With All Tuition Money At Once

This myth is a good one because it preys on a person's lack of knowledge about how payments are processed for college expenses. Many people think that they must have the full amount of the cost of tuition, room and board, and books all at once.

The Truth – In most cases you will not need to have 100% of the money for your child's education rather you may be able to setup an installment payment plan with the university. This helps because in many cases, as the payments are spread out over time, it now becomes possible to pay for a college education without loans.

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5 Tips To Become A College Softball Player

If you have the dream to become a college softball player, then these five tips will help you. I was always told to put school first, that is why school is tip number one.

1. School will always be first. If it’s not first now, make it first. In most colleges and universities you are required to have a minimum grade point average (GPA) to not only stay on the roster, but also to play. In most cases your GPA needs to be a 2.0-2.5.

2. Know that you will make mistakes, but you will have to be able to flush those mistakes. You have to move on and not let a bad at bat interfere with you next at bat. You can think of it like you are flushing the toilet, you are not going to us the restroom and not flush the toilet. So if you have a bad at bat or if you make an error, “Flush It” like you are flushing a toilet. Once you flush it, it’s gone.

3. Practice doesn’t make perfect, PERFECT practice makes perfect. I know you think and you have been told that no one is perfect, but you can be the PERFECT you. Be the best you can be.

4. You can either get better or worse do not stay the same. There is no point to just stay “as good as you are today.” Why not strive to be better tomorrow than you are today. To get better you need to practice. That does not mean you just attend practice, that means you show up, work hard and improve your skills.

5. Start contacting college/university coaches your sophomore year in high school, the sooner you get your name and information to the coaches the better. Also do not just contact 2-5 schools at the beginning. You need to make a list of at list of any and every school you want to go to. Contact as many coaches as you can. Keep in mind if you need to know your skill level. Not trying to crush any dreams of playing at a Division 1 (D1) University. But if your skill level is not at least equivalent to the current players, then you might not want to contact the coach. Community colleges have great programs to offer to student athletes. You can start off at a community college and improve your skills and learn how to play the game at a higher level than in high school. Then after playing at a community college you can pursue attending a university.

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Pros And Cons When Returning To College At 40

Congratulations! Returning to school is tough overall. Compound this with everyday lives of students who have kids and jobs and you have full havoc on your hands. The pros outweigh the cons when you are 40, and returning to school. I want to list the pros first because I think they prove motivating to be motivating factors when contemplating going back to school at 40.

Pros of going back to school at 40

1. Completing your degree can help you professionally.

2. Even though, you are 40 and will be considered outdated by your younger future classmates, you are bringing something to the arena of academia which they cannot. WORK EXPERIENCE! Your experiences will help tremendously, especially if you want to be a Business major.

3. At 40 years of age, you prove wise. You will find that you contain patience and more of an eagerness to learn. You will find that you will be more zealous in completing homework as well as asking for help from the instructors if needed.

4. If you have a family and career, you already have the time-management skills, which will help tremendously while attending college.

5. You will find the initiative of pleasing your family while improving the life of your family can be a motivational factor. When others give up, you will know that failure is not an option.

6. You will not have the difficulty of obtaining a social life through the college. You already have family and friends. You will be able to concentrate fully on the academic tasks before you.

7. You will be able to relate to your instructors because you more than likely will be the same age or older.

8. Your confidence will rise to the mountaintops and why would it not? Upon graduating with your college degree, you will have the pleasure of knowing you obtained this tremendous achievement while raising children and maintaining your personal life.

9. You will show everyone around you that you are a “go-getter”.

10. You will be a fantastic model for your children and family.

Cons of going back to school at 40:

1. You will feel alienated at first because let us face facts here; you are older than most everyone in your classes, especially if you are attending day classes at your college.

2. You will have to juggle your college classes along with your already busy life.

3. Your boss at your current job may not be supportive of your college schedule. If this happens, you might find yourself switching jobs that will prove supportive or leaving the workforce altogether, at least until you finish school. This could quite possibly create a financial hardship on your family.

4. You will find your energy level not as it used to be when you were younger. Younger students do not have children to take care of, a house to clean, a job to work, and they do not have the daily tasks that you have. I would recommend energy drinks while increasing your daily exercise; of course, you will have to find time to fit in working out in a gym or more walks during the day.

5. If you have children and are a single parent, you will have to make accommodations for your children while at school.

6. You might have to complete an internship for your degree program before you graduate college. This can be a nightmare, especially if you already work. Imagine having to work your regular job to help support your family plus a non-paid internship. More times to none if you are already working a job, the college might waive the internship because let us face it; you already have work experience at 40 years of age. Make sure you ask your academic counselor about this.

7. If you are a parent, you are going to miss things with your children. Most students at 40 years of age are forced to go to school at night. This will eliminate momentous time with your children at night and bedtime.

As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons of going back to school when you are 40 years of age. The best advice I can give anyone attempting this monumental feat is to never give up. It becomes quite desirable to give up when you are tired from your long day of work, dealing with your children, and knowing you have to sit in class for 3 hours at night.

You must focus on the future. What is a year or so of your life in sacrificing when you will be benefitting immensely from your sacrifice with a better financial future? Hang in there and keep reaching for your goals. You will find that at 40 years of age, you will appreciate the sacrifices and opportunities presented to you more than your younger classmates. You will eventually be able to look back on this ordeal as a huge milestone in not only your own life but also that of your family. Your family is depending on you and you cannot let them down. Keep going and good luck!

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The Rise of Free Online College Courses

To say that attending college is an expensive process is an understatement. As at 2012, total student debt in America is believed to have exceeded $1 trillion. In 2011, the New York Times reported that average student debt was approximately $26,500 and online college courses are not much cheaper. However, the advent of free online college courses, other known as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), could change the face of education forever.

It started off as an experiment but all signs point towards it being a huge success with large numbers of public universities set to offer MOOCs to anyone who applies in the hope that many of the participants will pass the course; enroll in the college and pay the normal tuition fees. In a country where a degree in religious and women’s studies in a prestigious university can cost up to $100,000, MOOCs could open up the world of education to students. Why are colleges interested in offering these free taster courses? Many American colleges are in huge debt and need some method of attracting more students.

Growth of a Phenomenon?

The University of Arkansas, the University of Cincinnati and Arizona State are just three of the well-respected colleges involved in the plan. The growth of MOOCs really spiked in 2012 as start-ups such as Udacity and edX came to the fore and offered hope to those who previously couldn’t afford education. These courses were founded by professors of top schools such as Stanford and Harvard with millions of people worldwide taking the teachers up on their offer.

At this stage, one wonders if MOOCs can one day replace college degrees. If this were the case, it would make a profound difference to an incredible number of would-be students. One issue was that colleges were not giving credit for MOOCs but even this looks set to change. A number of universities in Austria and Germany are giving credit for MOOCs and this could spread to American educational institutions as Colorado State has made noises about following the lead of its European counterparts. The University of Washington is also considering this course of action though students at the college will need to pay a fee and do extra work with a professor from the institution if it goes ahead with the plan.

The Future of MOOCs

These free online courses are no longer a novelty and will continue to be used as a tool to encourage prospective students to enroll in a university. The University of Texas in Arlington has teamed up with Academic Partnerships to offer free online college courses to would-be nursing students. To date, more than 80% of those that accepted the free offer returned and paid for the on-campus course. If nothing else, MOOCs give students a ‘try before they buy’ option, a valuable resource when courses are so expensive. Free online college courses could pose a threat to traditional education but if these institutions find a way to utilize MOOCs to their advantage like the University of Texas, giving something for free could turn out to be very lucrative.

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Is High School Preparing Students for College?

The struggles of youth without college degrees determined a labor-market crisis as they move from one dead-end job to another, unable to develop skills, status, and earnings. Employers complain that these employees lack basic skills, which must be provided on the job. Growing shortages of skilled workers suggest that educational reform must address improving the abilities and opportunities of high-school graduates. This article shows that schools have misunderstood work-entry problems by focusing on college entry and that students have misunderstood incentives for achievement. Moreover, many other nations communicate incentives effectively, and American schools could improve incentives and job entry.

Schools View Students' Problems Too Narrowly

High schools have responded to the poor labor market primarily by encouraging college-for-all policies, leading the majority of seniors to plan college degrees, even those who perform poorly. However, their expectations will be largely disappointed, since only 37.6% of those planning a degree receive one in the 10 years following graduation; and of those graduates with high-school Cs or lower planning bachelor's degrees, only 16.1% attain the degree after 10 years. Despite good intentions, high-school counselors underinform students about the effort required to graduate college, encouraging unrealistic expectations without exploring well-paid careers in trades that would be more realistic options for many.

Furthermore, school policies focus too narrowly on academic achievement, overlooking soft skills like motivation, dependability, attention to quality, and social interaction, which many employers value above academic skills. Even such a basic skill as effort remains unexercised, since students believe that academic effort bears little relation to their futures. Moreover, behaviors like absenteeism, insubordination, and incomplete work are tolerated in high schools, while employers value the opposite behaviors in young workers.

Students Need Clearer Incentives

Educational policies also fail to give students a clear understanding of incentives for mastery of both academic and soft skills. Teachers are exhorted to increase students' motivation, but the rewards for such efforts remain obscure. Institutions need mechanisms for communicating the value of students' actions for college and career goals. Instead, schools often indicate that school behavior is irrelevant to immediate goals, since colleges' open-admissions policies allow even weak students to enroll. Further, employers ignore high-school performance records in hiring, partly because they do not consider them trustworthy or cannot obtain them. Instead of using high-school performance in hiring decisions, they limit graduates to entry-level work until they prove themselves. As a result, students cannot tell if or how their goals are attainable.

Incentives in Other Nations

Many other nations provide clearer incentives for achievement that Americans could use as policy models. Foreign educational systems clearly link school performance and career outcomes. In Germany, for example, work-bound students strive for apprenticeships that lead to respected occupations, knowing that secondary-school grades affect selection for those opportunities. Afterwards, apprentice certification gives German youth a sense of accomplishment rare for US youth. Unlike our unemployed graduates, unemployed German apprentices feel unlucky, not incompetent. Similarly, in Japan, high-school grades are linked to entry into respected occupations for the work-bound. If their achievement is too low for their goals, Japanese students know it in advance and can increase effort or lower expectations.

Improving Labor-Market Entry Policies

Schools in the United States already have a system linking academic achievement to goals on the foreign model, but it only extends to the minority of students aspiring to selective colleges. Test results inform high-achieving students well before graduation of the likelihood of admission and of the need for increased effort. Low-achieving students, who typically aspire only to less selective institutions, lack such incentives, which apprenticeships or more rigorous college admissions standards could provide. The perceived gap between high-school performance and job success could also be bridged by educating students about research showing that better high-school grades and soft skills predict better earnings. For example, a rise of one letter grade (from C to B) is associated with a 12% earnings gain 9 years after high school.

Further, high schools could link job-finding aid to achievement and inform students about research that indicates that job entry through a school contact increases nine-year earnings potential by 17%. Counselors and other educators should stop keeping students in the dark about the consequences of their performance, even if they withhold information only to be kind to students or to placate parents.

Improving College And Employer Contacts

Improved student contacts with colleges and employers can clarify incentives for achievement. Two reforms have been promising, despite difficulties aligning these high-school experiences with later demands. First, tech-prep programs articulate junior and senior year curriculum with community-college technology programs, teaching students about college and occupational demands and making for a seamless college transition. Tech-prep success indicates that a student is prepared for college, and failure motivates efforts to improve and to adjust goals. Unfortunately, existing tech-prep programs often have below-standard requirements, leaving students ignorant of college-level demands and relegated to remedial classes in college. Further reform should focus on integrating those demands into the preparatory curriculum.

Second, youth apprenticeship and cooperative learning programs give some students the work experiences they need to improve their chances for success in the labor market. Apprenticeships coordinate school and workplace learning under close supervision. However, they are so expensive that few US employers are willing to pay for them. In co-ops, sometimes seen as inexpensive apprenticeships, students are released from some classes to work in positions that ideally provide more training than average youth jobs. In practice, however, too many co-ops are average youth jobs with little training and few postgraduation opportunities. While apprenticeships increase a student's earning potential, co-ops often do not, unless students are able to secure jobs at the same company that provides their co-op experience. These potentially useful programs could be improved through expansion, increased quality, better training, and improved communication of a given student's job readiness.

Improving Signals Of Student Value

Unlike Germany's and Japan's, our high schools do not clearly convey graduates' readiness for college or employment. Several policies could begin to solve that problem. First, colleges involved in tech-prep could adopt standardized tests of college readiness. Well before graduation, these tests could indicate academic quality clearly to students themselves, allowing time for backup plans. Second, high schools could provide employers with better signals of soft skills. Indeed, by reflecting attendance, discipline, and motivation, grades already do this to some extent, and further signals of student qualities could be developed. Some high schools have already created employability ratings tailored to employers' needs, and these schools have reported increased student motivation. Further research on the effects of such ratings is needed. Third, high schools could build more trustworthy employer relationships, for instance through vocational teachers, so that the best qualified students could more easily be hired. Employers indicate that such relationships aid hiring and give them dependable information. However, connections between schools and employers are still rare; only 8% of seniors get jobs through school contacts, despite the clear advantages. Hiring through contacts may limit the applicant pool, but large applicant pools do not help employers if they cannot assess applicants' quality. Hiring selectively is preferable to hiring randomly. Teachers can build relationships through trade experience, careful applicant screening, and candor.

Employers and teachers should establish reciprocity so that both parties value the relationship for meeting mutual needs and not for extrinsic benefits, such as teachers pleasing administrators by placing weak students or businesses improving public relations by extensive co-op hiring. When extrinsic benefits are central, teacher-employer relationships have little reason to develop. In such cases, sacrifices for reciprocity's sake, like better student screening despite administrators' demands and more intensive yet less visible apprenticeships, could establish the trust needed to foster the relationship.


Regrettably, current policies work against improved school-employer contacts, since vocational programs and their well-connected teachers are being curtailed in favor of college-for-all policies. To reverse this trend, vocational education should expand in high schools and community colleges. Teachers with good trade contacts should be retained and rewarded for making good placements in industry. Teachers and counselors should also be encouraged to give employers candid information about students and to be forthright with students about their abilities and opportunities. These policies could encourage employers to see high schools as valuable sources of hiring information. Other steps could include acquainting counselors with noncollege options and evaluating students' college and career abilities more accurate and consistently. The underlying conditions for such policies are present; the key is making the institutional actors aware of the importance of improving students' opportunities for job-entry success.

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New Book Will Be College Students' Best Friend for Four Years and Beyond

Succeeding in College and Life by Jonathan Wong is jam-packed with everything a prospective college student will need to know to succeed. As a former English professor who taught freshman composition, I wish this book had been in print when I taught because I would have made it recommended reading for all of my students.

For me, what makes Succeeding in College and Life stand out is that it gives a bird's-eye view of the college experience. Yes, there is plenty of advice in it about studying to get good grades, but the college experience is far more than that. It is about discovering oneself. It is about building relationships with friends that could last forever. It is about being away from home and living on one's own. It is about the educating of the mind and the awakening of the personality in new, surprising, and magical ways. Jonathan Wong, who has been a longtime college instructor himself, understands all that, and he's got it all covered between the covers of this book. While I can't mention every topic Jonathan discusses in these pages, I'll hit on a few highlights.

One of the biggest issues with college is the idea that one needs to be perfect. Writer's block can also become study block and performance block. Jonathan reminds students that they don't have to be perfect; they just have to do their best. He also reminds them that not earning an A and even failing is okay so long as you're learning, which is the real purpose of education, not just grades. This practical advice helps to give a reality check to the real importance of a college education.

Jonathan then walks the reader through all aspects of the college experience, from choosing a major, to picking classes and how to develop study and time-management skills. He also provides lots of advice on how to network, find internships, get good recommendations from your professors, and other activities you can do to make you stand out from the crowd while in college so you'll impress potential employers.
I also greatly appreciated all of the financial advice in the book. Jonathan explores all the ways to fund a college education, from scholarships and financial aid to how to balance work with studying. He also gives wonderful tips to students on how to handle their money during their college years.

College is also a time to have fun. There is advice in these pages on networking with other students and participating in various activities on or off campus to build lifelong friendships. Perhaps most importantly, Jonathan reminds readers that their classmates, especially within their specific fields of study, will be their colleagues in the workplace, not only competing with them for jobs but also possibly becoming their employees or bosses in the future, so the stronger the relationships you build in college, the better your chances of career success and personal happiness.

Throughout the book, Jonathan stops readers to ask them to reflect. Each chapter concludes with one or more exercises so students will think about everything from where to get counseling if needed to knowing how to use the library and other resources on campus. These exercises, when completed, will make the book a directory of resources for students.

Finally-well, there's a lot more, but I'll just mention one last thing-I went to college in the early '90s like Jonathan did. In those days, we were just starting to be required to use computers to type our papers. Today, there are countless technological resources available to students that we did not have then. Jonathan gives advice on all of these different resources, including word processing programs, various types of software, computers, websites, etc. Many of them are based around people different personal learning styles and can provide incredible benefits. I was thoroughly impressed by all the technology I did not even know existed that could be helpful to students.

I wish someone had given me this book when I graduated from high school. While a lot of the information may seem like common sense to people already enmeshed in their careers, it isn't always clear to an eighteen-year-old freshman. Had I devoured this book over the summer before my freshman year, I would have been far better prepared for college. I wish someone like Jonathan had told me to make more of an effort to network and be sociable during my college years, so I could leverage how people could help me not only in the classroom but in my future career. In short, this book can even help introverts.

Anyone who knows a prospective high school graduate should give a copy of this book to him or her. It will be a college student's best friend during the academic years, and it will set students up for success in their careers and even their lives.

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Homeschoolers and College Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment (attending community college while still in high school) has become a very popular trend among many homeschool students. After all, the chance to reduce college costs is pretty attractive! There are some great benefits to this choice, but I've found that many parents are unaware of the potential pitfalls when their 16 or 17 year-old student participates in classes designed for older adults.

Our sons attended community college when they were 16 and 17, and one of the most surprising things we experienced was the abundance of pornography. There was pornographic material for sale in the student bookstore right next to the engineering books (because presumably engineers are males). One parent told me that her daughter signed up for an English class, and one of the pieces required for reading was pornographic in nature.

During one of our son's foreign language classes, they showed movies of unclothed people, in order to "experience the French culture". In their speech class, the class and the teacher were great, but another student in class gave a speech that was pornographic in nature. My children were trying hard to act cool, but as a parent, I was pretty mortified that I put them into that situation.

At a college fair I went to, a representative from one community college took me aside and told me to give a message to homeschoolers, that their children are sitting next to adjudicated adults – people who have just been released from prison and registered sex offenders. Community college is an adult environment . There is no way that adjudicated adults can be refused admission.

We were also astounded by the vulgar language. One of the calculus teachers would drop the F-bomb when he spoke all the time. I think he was trying to be cool and trying to fit in with the group. It's important to note that not all teachers do all of these things; we just found these to be true.

Community college is similar to a public high school atmosphere without the moderation that comes from being with other children. At community college you will see people smoking without being concerned that they're smoking, people swearing, etc. They bring this content into the classroom because they're all primarily grown adults; It's not a children's environment .

Students who are perfectionists tend to have more difficulty in community college. This is not an academic problem, because they can get an A with little effort. The problem comes when students transition from community college to a university. When they go on to university, all of the sudden much more effort is required to earn an A. When they realize they did not get A's because they were a genius, depression can be the result.

Carefully weigh the pros and cons before you enroll your student in this environment; the costs just may not be worth it.

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5 Steps to Selecting the Best College

For many high schools juniors and seniors, selecting a college is the biggest decision they have ever had to make. It can be an emotional decision and of course, a financial one. To find the best college for you takes time and research. There are certainly a lot of steps in selecting a college but here are five that you should consider.

1. Determine What You Want to Do: Do you know what field of study you would like to focus on? If you are exploring careers, reach out to people who are already working in those areas. For example, if you wish to become a veterinarian, interview several veterinarians to learn what they do. Ask them how they like their job, what are their day-to-day duties, etc. In whatever field you chose, it’s important to understand what you would be getting into.

2. Conduct Your Research: Research multiple colleges to determine which one will meet your need. Finding the college that meets your needs is one of the most important decisions in the college selection process. You don’t have to attend one of “name brand” schools if they don’t fit your needs. Your needs fall into several categories such as career needs, financial needs and possibly location needs. Do you want to attend a large school or a school with a small student population? Do want to attend an all male or female institution? These and others are the type of needs you will need to research to make a decision.

3. Financial Documents: Make sure you have completed all of the required financial paperwork that your school requires. The majority of colleges will need for you to complete the FAFSA application. Get started early in gathering and completing your financial paperwork because it can help to relieve stress as you narrow your collegiate choices.

4. Find Money: College is expensive. Determining how to pay for it can be a stressful process. Start early applying for scholarships. There are multiple sites such as FastWeb and Scholarships.com where you can research scholarships. You will also have to decide if you will pursue college loans. If you chose this route, make sure you understand that college debt can be a hindrance after you graduate because you are obligated to pay the loan back. So think about this decision carefully.

5. Be Selective: After you conduct your research you will then have to narrow your choices down to a few colleges. You don’t want to waste time applying to colleges that don’t fit your needs. So be selective in picking colleges that you really want to attend. Make sure these colleges fit your needs and are ones that will help you obtain the career you are seeking.

While knowing what you want to do for a career is important, there are times when you may be undecided, and that’s fine also. Many times you can use your freshman or sophomore years in college to help you select a major. Do not let the fear of not knowing what to do stop you from achieving your dreams of a college degree. Explore, ask questions, and learn from your experiences. Your dream of a college degree can come true.

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