How to Prepare for College and BeyondBy Staff Reporter
If you're in your last year or two of high school, you might be looking ahead to what you will study in college and what career you might pursue. Whether you've known what field you wanted to work in since you were a little kid or you have no idea what you want to do with your life, these tips can help you prepare for college and beyond.
Choosing Your School
This is a big decision, but you can break it down by keeping some criteria in mind. It's easier if you know exactly what you want to study since you can narrow it down immediately to the schools that have the strongest programs. However, there are other factors to consider as well. The size of the school, where it is located and the campus culture are all factors that will affect your experience and enjoyment of college. If possible, once you have narrowed down your choices, try to visit one or more campuses.
Work Out Your Finances
Although it isn't much fun, you'll save yourself a lot of unnecessary worry if you work out how much money you'll need. Once you know for certain where you'll be going to school, you'll know what your tuition will be and you can work out a rough cost for other expenses. You can use a FAFSA calculator to see how much you qualify for in federal student loans and grants. For many students, federal aid is not enough, but this will let you know how much you need to borrow in private student loans to make up the difference. You may be able to borrow from both online lenders and from a traditional brick-and-mortar bank or credit union.
Network and Learn
Once classes start, try to meet as many different fellow students and professors as you can. Even if you are set on a particular career course, challenge yourself occasionally by taking an elective class or two that would not ordinarily be part of your curriculum. For example, if you are an art student, consider an entry-level class in economics or business and vice versa. You'll rarely have another time in your life when as many opportunities and resources are available to you. Take advantage of internship offers, opportunities to join clubs and professional societies, and even chances for overseas study, making the most of your time and ensuring that whatever career path you pursue, you get a well-rounded education.
You might be close to finishing college and feeling a little panicked because you still don't know what kind of job you'd like, or you might graduate, get your dream job and face the growing realization that it isn't what you want to do after all. Above all, don't panic. Both of these situations are very common starts to people's career trajectories, and even if it takes you a little while to figure out where you belong, it's unlikely to represent any kind of serious setback. In fact, you may end up changing careers two or three or even more times throughout your life.
* This is a contributed article and this content does not necessarily represent the views of universityherald.com