By Neya Ross
March 13 and 14 were long intensive days for high school juniors in the state of Michigan. While freshmen, sophomores, and seniors were still in bed sleep, juniors were at school taking the ACT and the MME (Michigan Merit Exam). So what now? Many of you may think that it’s time to relax until your results come back, but don’t sit down yet because there’s still a lot more things to be done.
Now that you have taken the ACT you need to start researching colleges. Right now you should have about 6-10 schools in mind that you might want to attend. There are a few things that you should ask yourself when thinking of colleges you might want to attend.
First, you need to start thinking about a major. A major is what you want to study in college to prepare you to get a job. If you want to go into education you would look for a school that is known for their education program. The same goes if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer. You want to find the best school for that certain major.
Second, after you decide what you want to study you need to find a college that offers the major you want to study. There are some websites that you can visit that will help you find a college or university that meets your needs. Some of these sites are:
o www.ncaa.org/eligiblity/cbsa (this site is the NCAA Guide to College Bound Student Athletes)
o www.collegplan.org/cpnow/collplan.htm and,
Once you have selected a few colleges you need to do some research on them. There are a few things that you want to keep in mind when making your final decision. Find out if you need to take the ACT or the SAT. Most schools only require the ACT but a lot of schools on the east coast require the SAT. You need to check the school you are looking at to find out which one they require. After you find out which test is needed, you need to find out what score you need to get on the test to get accepted.
Now that you have found out this information you need to plan on taking one of the two tests. Remember: If you are not satisfied with the first score you got, you can take it again and the school you apply to will only look at the best of the two scores.
It would also be in your best interest to visit a few schools. You may think you know exactly where you want to go for school, but one visit to their campus just might change your mind. You may not like the location of the school, the weather, or the population.
Other things to remember when searching for schools are the cost of tuition, the population of the school, the male/female ratio, and the type of school it is (i.e. 2-year, 4-year, private, public, etc.), and if they offer the sports or clubs you want to participate in. You also need to find out if there are any scholarships or financial aid available if your family cannot afford to pay tuition. All of these play a large factor in your final decision. That’s why you need to start planning early, so that when your senior year rolls around you already know exactly where you want to go.
Hold your horses because I’m not done yet. Just because school is out for the summer doesn’t mean you can rest quite yet. You need to spend this summer narrowing down your list of schools, searching for scholarships, visiting more schools, and doing community service. You should also think about securing a summer job to help pay for some expenses of your senior year. Or you can go to a summer program where you stay on campus and get a feel for college life. Your school counselor should be able to tell you about some summer programs. You should try to find one that has to do with what you want to major in because these programs sometimes offer scholarships and that would benefit you. Make sure that you start looking now because most deadline for applications are in April.
Rodneya Ross is a 16 year old and she attends Cass Technical High School in Detroit, MI.
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for some summer programs that you could attend.