How To Start Your College Journey

The following story was written by a student enrolled in HDV’s Journalism Production course.

By Rosa Cunningham ’22

College is a very scary topic, but when there’s no one there to help you it’s even more terrifying.  So how do you get ready for college? Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself: 

Start your freshman year by taking classes you need to graduate, so when you become an upperclassman you have more time to focus on your future rather than not having enough credits.  Try to take as many electives as you can, as well as joining clubs. Joining clubs and electives gives you a community and people who share your interests.  It also teaches you teamwork and responsibility.  Another option to find your passion is career fairs, not everyone has them but if you’re able, try it out.  Finding the perfect college for you all starts with what you want to do!  These will give you a sense of what you enjoy and possibly what you can see yourself doing later in life.  Start making a list of schools that intrigue you as an underclassman; a year later you may hate half your options but you need to start somewhere.

Once you reach your junior year you can start messaging schools of your interest and signing up for college news emails. If you get the chance and are able, go on as many college visits as you can.  College visits give you an idea of what your life would be like on campus.  Most college visits are on weekends, but going to the campus during a regular weekday while everyone is going through classes as normal is also a really helpful tool.  Junior year is also usually when you take the SAT and ACT; schools still care about these, though the importance lessens with each year, meaning not all schools make it mandatory.  It’s also a good year to start thinking of ideas for your college essay and trying them out.  Some schools don’t require one, but it shows a part of yourself that your grades don’t.  Colleges care about grades, but they love good character even more.

These are just simple things for the beginning of your process.  When you reach the summer in between your junior and senior year, things get more serious.   Just remember that this process isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s the next step towards your future, that’s huge.  You are also not alone, and if you have no one at home to turn to, talk to a teacher or even classmates or people already in college.  College is also not for everyone, so don’t feel out of place if you decide not to go or even take a gap year (or two).  Your life is your life, and no one can tell you how to live it but yourself!  But if you do decide college is your path, these tips should help you be more prepared and a little less stressed.

Photo by Rosa Cunningham