Many high schools have college fairs, so you can also go to yours and check out local college information. But, many other college fairs are held across the country. You can easily find a college fair near you by visiting the National Association for College Admission Counseling website at: http://www.nacacnet.org/MemberPortal/Events/CollegeFairs/. These college fairs give you an excellent opportunity to learn about many colleges all at once. It can be very expensive to visit all of the colleges on your list, so going to a college fair saves you lots of money on travel expenses. You can even pick up brochures, applications and financial aid information for your prospective colleges. Be sure to have any questions you may have ready to ask the college representatives. Also be sure to bring a pen and pad of paper for take notes. You'll be speaking to lots of people and you won't be able to remember everything! Junior year is a hectic time. You're officially an upperclassman now, and a whole slew of new responsibilities are foisted upon you. You probably have your driver's license by now and may be working and going to school simultaneously. While you will certainly be busy, you need to keep in mind your college goals and what you can be doing now to make them a reality. You may feel as though your life is tough enough, but taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes offer students numerous benefits. Not only does it look good to do well in an AP class, but at the end of the year, you'll be given the opportunity to take an AP test. If you pass this test, you'll receive college credit in that course! Just think of it! You'll have college credit before even setting foot on campus! Plus, being consistent from freshman year to senior year with high difficulty level courses shows you are dedicated and committed to your education. When you're a freshman in college, you'll be thankful for the rigorous high school curriculum you took. College is entirely different from high school, so you can look at AP courses as a transition.
You should be notified sometime during the summer of who your roommate is and their contact information. Take some initiative and call them. 99% of the time, they'll be glad you did. Take this time to talk about yourself and ask questions about them. What are their hobbies? Where did they go to school? What are they thinking about majoring in? You get the idea. Getting to know your roommate before you live with them can be helpful in eliminating some of the awkwardness associated with moving in day. You don't have to become best friends over the phone, but try to be open to one another and listen. These first initial talks can really shape your relationship down the road once you are roommates. Try to stay away from controversial topics like religion and politics. Use your best judgment when asking questions and talking in general. It's great to be open and honest, but don't divulge your entire life story. This can be off-putting and make your roommate feel uncomfortable if they don't wish to disclose as much as fast. If, for any reason, you do not think you'll be able to live with the person selected as your roommate, contact the housing department at your college immediately. They typically do their best to make new students feel as comfortable as possible. But be warned: the housing department must meet the needs of thousands of students. Don't be discouraged or insulted if they cannot meet your request. After you've had a few nice chats on the phone with your new roommate, be sure to bring up the topic of the dorm room itself. Who will be bringing what? It's best to distribute the items as evenly as possible so neither of you will feel taken advantage of. One person can bring the TV while the other can bring the stereo. One can bring a bedside lamp while another can bring a chair. You see how this works? You'll both need a computer of your own. It's going to be cramped in your dorm room, but you'll manage so long as you keep an open line of communication. If you are an only child or have never had to share a room with a sibling, this will be an entirely new experience. Just take it day by day and try to enjoy yourself.
Going to college is an entirely new experience. While you may be the kind of person that thinks they can do things on their own, you will need help when it comes to becoming familiar with your new school. Most colleges offer a summer orientation program that shows new incoming freshman around the campus and provides valuable information on how college works. Some things you'll learn at such a workshop include: The location of important buildings and offices, the college's academic requirements, how to register for classes, assistance in registering for classes, tips on getting to know instructors, how to make the most of your college experience, where to go to join clubs and become involved, etc. One of the most important factors of this orientation is the campus tour. Trying to find your classes without having been shown around campus first can be next to impossible. This isn't high school anymore. College campuses are huge and unless you know your way around, it's very easy to get lost. You may have already registered for classes at the summer workshop, or just been given instructions on how to do so at home. If you were merely given instructions, you will need to register for classes on your appointment day. Even though it may say you can register anytime after your appointment date and time, register as close to this time as possible. Incoming freshman and transfer students are on the lowest rung when it comes to registration priority. Your appointment date and time will most likely be scheduled after most of the returning students have had a chance to register. Make sure the classes you register for all count toward your general education requirements. You're going to want to get these courses out of the way as fast as possible so you can begin focusing on your major courses. It is also a good idea to have several back-up classes on hand. There is no guarantee there will be room in the classes you register for. If the class is full or you are put on the wait list, you will need to have a back-up class in mind. For many students, if your enrollment drops below 12 units or below full time, your financial aid will be lowered or dropped! Always be mindful of this. It's tough to get all of the classes you want, but try to make your schedule as varied as possible. Four really difficult classes may not be the best way to start out your college experience. Try to mix up your schedule with a few difficult classes and a few fun-but-still-count-toward-my-degree classes.
If you haven't worked before, now is the time to suck it up and get a job. Let's face it: college is expensive! By getting a job over the summer - and saving the money you earn, of course - you'll be able to buy those school supplies and books once the fall semester begins. Even if your parents are paying for all of your college expenses or you're getting a federal grant, you will still need money to pay for food and other items, especially if you're living on campus. What if you run out of printer ink the night before a paper is due? You'll have to run down to the campus store and buy some. You obviously can't do this without some money in the bank. Another added bonus of having a job over the summer is it will take your mind off of the impending start of college. Many people find themselves stressed out at the change college brings to their lives. Having a job keeps you productive and focused rather than sitting at home worrying. You may even be able to buy yourself something fun before you bury your nose in books for four months and don't reappear until December. Regardless of what you do, having a job keeps you disciplined and in top shape for a fast paced environment. You'll be ready to attend classes like a pro. This may be the last summer you have at home. It also may be the last time you see some of your childhood friends. So, even if you plan to work during the summer, try to balance it out and save some time for your family and friends too - they miss you! If you grew up in the same place you went to high school, you've probably known the same people since you were five years old! It will be sad to say goodbye, but you can make the most of this time by doing fun things with those you care about. Be sure to collect the contact information of your closest friends. You'll want to keep in touch once you start college, and it will be too hectic at the beginning of the semester to do such things. Exchange addresses and dorm information BEFORE you leave to move in. You can also make an extra effort to spend time with those people that will be going to colleges far away from where you will be attending. Do things in your hometown and enjoy the home life as much as possible. In a few short months, you'll be missing it.
College is a major expense and you need to start saving now, if you haven't already. Two of the first people you should talk to about paying for college is your parents, and your school counselor. Having initial conversations with your parents and your counselor will not only get you thinking about the important aspect of paying for school, but it will give you a general idea of what you can expect your school budget to be. Becoming familiar with as many possible sources of financial aid available is important. Get to know important application deadlines and what information you need to pinpoint ahead of time. Check to see if you are eligible for a grant or scholarship. Also check to see if a loan is a realistic option for you. Another financial aid option is work-study, where you will pay for your college tuition by working on campus. There are even tax credit programs for getting through college. Do your research and find the financing options that will work best for you and your parents. Why make this decision now? Because before you know it, financial aid applications will be due. Stay ahead of the game by learning about all of your options now. You can gain insightful information from virtual college tours, but before actually applying you should have a good idea of what campus life is like for each of your selections. Most colleges offer campus tours for new and potential students. You need to check each individual school for information on their tour program. However, they do share many things in common. For instance, you will definitely want to attend campus tours on a weekday on a normal school day. Holidays, weekends and big campus events like graduation tend to throw a wrench in the works insofar as your ability to gauge what the campus is really like. Spring break is a great time to get many campus tours out of the way because it will still be during the spring semester but you won't have to miss any school. While the majority of your tour consists of walking around campus with a guide, you can do many other things as well to ensure you gain a well-rounded perspective of the campus. For instance, you can stay overnight in one of the dorms to gain a sense of what it would be like to live there, what the students are like and the accommodations. You can eat in the cafeteria and you may even be able to schedule an interview. You can also sit in on a class or two. What are the instructors like? What is the classroom dynamic? Does it feel like an environment you'd like to be a part of? Have a list of questions prepared for each campus you visit. Keep a pen and pad of paper handy as you tour each campus, as well. You'll be quite busy and it's really easy to forget the details. This is an excellent opportunity to interact with current students of your prospective schools. Are they a part of any on-campus organizations you'd be interested in joining? Ask about it! Do they enjoy their classes? Loathe their professors? Need a break? Regardless, ask current students questions to gain a real life perspective on each campus in addition to what the scheduled tour can give you.
Signing up for a class that prepares you for those college entrance exams (SAT/ACT) is perhaps one of the best things you can do to get yourself into a decent college or university. The material on these tests should be familiar to you, but their presentation and formatting may be entirely new to you. Taking a class makes it so come test day, there are no surprises. If you will be taking the SAT, you'll need to also take the PSAT, which is just a practice test to prepare you for the one that counts. You can also take PSAT classes. Do what feels best for you but keep in mind that less work doesn't mean it's the right path. Do your best to prepare for the standardized tests you need to take now and you'll thank yourself later. Pay particular attention to your math class. Formulas and equations you learn now will most likely appear on these tests. While your primary focus should still be on your high school education, you can start planning ahead now. Sign up for http://www.fastweb.com. You'll have to answer several questions about yourself, but once you do, you'll receive scholarship updates, job opportunities and even internship opportunities. You can even opt to receive e-mail notification of these updates. FastWeb is great because it allows students to get a heads up on scholarships they are eligible for. That's why you answer all of those questions first. The results you receive are completely customized to your background, ethnicity, interests, extracurricular activities and GPA. You can expect to frequent the site often. It also offers excellent financial aid information and resources and articles to help you get abreast of what this whole college thing is all about. Why sign up during your sophomore year? This allows you plenty of time to become familiar with FastWeb and all it offers. So, once it's time for you to actually apply to scholarships you'll know the requirements like the back of your hand. Being prepared is the major theme here, in case you haven't noticed. Make use of FastWeb and all of its resources and you'll definitely have a leg up on your classmates.
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