Choosing A College

The college application process can be complex, especially if you or your family has never gone through it before. What follows is a list of steps that, if followed, can simplify this process.

STEP ONE: ASSESSMENT OF INTERESTS.

This is best done by sharing with someone (your parents, a friend, the school counselor) what your dreams are. What would you like to study? What skills do you have? Do you like to work with people? information? things? all three? What are your best subjects in school? It isn’t necessary for you to know exactly what you want to do, what’s important is that you think about the future and the importance of a college degree in achieving your dreams. Explore different options. Dream!

STEP 2: WHAT TYPE OF UNIVERSITY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Think in terms of:

(a) LOCATION – Do you want to stay close to home? How far are you willing to travel? Do you want to be in a small town? In a large city?

(b) SIZE – Would you like to be in a small college/university where you will get more personalized attention? How about a larger university that might have a greater variety of resources and academic offerings? Or maybe a middle sized one that may offer a bit of each?

(c) TYPE OF UNIVERSITY/COLLEGE – Do you want to go to a public or private institution? A liberal arts school or a technical college? A four year institution or a two year college? We encourage you to consider the State System universities.

STEP 3: MAKE A LIST OF UNIVERSITIES.

After completing the first two steps, figure out what type of school best fits your interests. Based on this information, make list of universities that meet your needs. In order to come up with this list, you may want to talk to other family members or friends, and your school counselor. We recommend that you look at a university/college guide which you will find in your counselor’s office or in the public library. Find our if there are any organizations in your community which provide assistance with this process. If you do not have such organizations in your community then use service wich writing essay for money, they will definitely help you! Write to the schools selected and ask for a catalog, an admissions application, and a financial aid application. Try to attend some college fairs and bring your parents along.

STEP 4: NARROW DOWN THE LIST.

Review the materials that the universities send you. Which ones have the majors/programs you’re interested in? Eliminate the ones that have a good match with your interests. Look at the academic requirements. Do you meet their standards? If you don’t think you do, is there a special admissions program for students who may not meet the academic standards but have the potential for doing college-level work? One such program is the Act 101 Program. Inquire if the university/college has it and, if so, ask what the process is for being accepted into it. All State System universities have an Act 101 Program.

It is always a good idea to visit the campus. Do so if you get an opportunity and ask many questions. Remember, you are also interviewing them to see if they meet your requirements.

STEP 5: DECIDE WHICH UNIVERSITIES\COLLEGES YOU WILL APPLY TO.

Based on the search done in steps 1 through 4, select the universities/colleges which meet your requirements. It is always a good idea to discuss your selections with family members, friends, your guidance counselor, since they may have some information about the schools you are considering. Some admission officers suggest that you apply to at least four universities/colleges: the best school you can get into, two where you might be accepted, and one where you are certain you will be admitted.

Do not eliminate a university/college simply because it appears to be too expensive! If you are not certain you can afford the costs, remember that all universities/colleges offer some type of financial aid. BUT, you need to fill out the financial aid forms early. Universities and colleges in Pennsylvania, generally speaking, require that you submit a PHEAA application (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.) You may pick up this application in your guidance counselor’s office. Remember to submit all applications before their due date.