Monday, 19 December 2016

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before College

It’s your senior year of high school, time for parties, friends and senior activities. People say your last year of high school is the best experience you will ever have. While that assumption is true for most of the year underlying tensions are bound to develop. Being unsure is normal, your choice of a university will determine your future, however, it is important to understand that the process can get overwhelming extremely quickly. These are some simple tips that most people wouldn’t think about, but hopefully, they will  smooth out the process and let you enjoy your last year of high school as much as possible
  1. Volunteering- Volunteering is extremely useful when applying for college/university. It creates a win-win situation for you, not only do you get the hours to put on scholarship applications but you gain the reward of knowing that you did something great for your community as well. It’s best to start early, in Britsh Columbia scholarships usually, start looking for volunteer activities in the 10th grade but if you start earlier it is an added bonus! Commit to an organisation and put in as much effort as you can, you will be rewarded with an inner happiness and hopefully a little less debt.
  2. Start Looking at Colleges Early – Looking early -and by early I mean the summer before your senior year- gives you time to make a decision that is not rushed, fleeting or wrong for you. When you evaluate schools it’s best to research things including distance from home, financial aid programs, courses, programs and of course tuition. Apply to two or three schools so you have more options. I spent a good part of my summer binge-watching Gilmore Girls, I watched Rory Gilmore’s system of choosing a college and thought it rocked! In the show she used the pro and con system to determine what school was best for her, so in mid august, I dragged out the whiteboard and compared tuition, distance from my home, courses and my thoughts on the school! It sounds silly ut it was a huge help and makes the process clearer, there is nothing worse than losing yourself in paperwork and then making assumptions, with the facts in front of you, it’s easier to compare schools holistically.
  3. Keep Your Grades Up- While I personally believe that people are not defined by the numbers on their GPA colleges think a little different. Aim to do the best you can in every course that you are taking. Researching the grades required by your list of schools will help give you a better idea of what your grades need to be
  4. Keep Your Personal Wellness In Mind- While I am not a doctor, med student or therapist I do now the importance of making sure you take care of yourself mentally as well as physically. Mental health is an important thing, it determines how you view the world, there is nothing wrong with realising you need help.  Senior year is majorly stressful, you are planning your life in the span of a school year and that alone is enough to make even the calmest people panic. Make sure to tell someone you trust if things are getting too much. They can help you move through this process, you are not alone.
  5. Hold Off On Buying Books – Usually, when you pick your classes and start to buy your school supplies students will want to rush and buy their books. Usually, in course outlines, you professor will include the number of your textbook, plug that into amazon and see how the prices compare to your bookstore. My bookstore was selling a book I needed for my European history course for  $150 I found it on amazon for $60 dollars later in the semester, needless to say, I was a little gutted when I realised my error. Use caution though and make sure you check everything with your parents first.
  6. Notes- before my first term I was so stressed about finding the right computer to tend to my every academic need, for me, that included projects, essays and online school (as well as some Pinterest surfing). However I soon found that my secret  Pinterest surfing had got a little out of control, so I switched to writing my notes. I feel better now that my focus is on the professor the entire lecture. Don’t stress so much about how fancy your computer is, make sure it can do what you require and keep your focus on the class.
  7. Early Admission – I took advantage of early admission at all the schools I applied to, I found it helped me relax knowing that my application was done and submitted, as an added bonus it frees up more time for school work and friends. People who apply early admission have access to the big entrance scholarships that everyone wants to scoop up, keep it in mind!

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