** In collaboration**
Going off to college is a big decision. Not only is it a huge change of lifestyle – you have to be sure that you can afford it and manage the workload (yes, there’s a lot of partying to be had – but sometimes you do have to knuckle down). Here are some of the major considerations to make when preparing for college.
Getting the grades
You won’t get into college if you don’t make the grades. Entry requirements vary from college to college with many of the Ivy League universities being the most challenging to get into. There are special schools that you can attend to help prepare yourself and get the grades such as Lake Mary Preparatory School. Alternatively, you could consider hiring a private tutor to help you if you’re struggling with school. When applying to colleges, consider having a backup option in case you don’t make the grades. You can always repeat your final year at school if you think you’re not ready.
Affording your studies
Many people fund their studies with a student loan, available at FAFSA. There may also be additional grants that you can apply for to cover living costs. How much money you have access to depends largely on your family income. Generally speaking, student finance is rarely ever enough to live on and it can be handy to save up some money beforehand or arrange financial help with parents. You could even consider getting a part-time job as you study. Make sure to apply for a loan well in advance and sort out any other financial aid before you head off to college.
Many colleges will supply accommodation – this usually involves sharing a dorm room with someone, although some colleges may have separate rooms. Some colleges will have limited places, which could require finding accommodation elsewhere. Use sites such as Student Housing to look for this accommodation if you need it and contact your chosen college to see if they have any house-hunting schemes in place for students.
When heading off to college, you also need to be ready for independent living. Whilst this is probably the most freedom you’ll ever have in your life, living independently does come with its responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. Consider teaching yourself a few household skills if you currently lack them – make sure that you can operate a washing machine and try learning to cook a few meals that aren’t entirely microwaved.
Managing your own time
As a student, you’ll also have to manage your own study time. This is where many students fail to prepare – having self-discipline is important as no-one else will be there to push you to study. If your friends invite you to a party, you need to be able to say no if you’ve got an important essay to hand in the next day. Start practicing ways to study independently now without parents or teachers having to push you.
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