As the spring semester begins, it’s time to start thinking about your plans after high school or begin finalizing them. For some, applying to college can seem overwhelming at first. With so many options to choose from and steps to complete, where do you start? Keep reading to ensure that you’re on the right track to be college-bound after graduation.

Step 1: Discuss plans with college/career advisor

Most high schools have a designated college/career advisor, or someone dedicated to helping students plan for after high school. While creating an appointment may not be required, it is incredibly beneficial to talk through your goals for the future and gain professional advice and assistance on how to reach them. Discussing plans with your advisor can help tremendously with choosing the college right for you, and the beginning steps to apply.

Step 2: Visit your top schools

After speaking with an advisor, you should have a better idea of what schools you are interested in and want to explore. Every college has a number to call in the department of undergraduate admissions that can help set up an official visit. This will allow you to see the campus and get a feel for the school in person.

Step 3: Start the application process

Once you find the school (or schools) that are right for you, you can apply online. Most applications will ask for a well-written prompt essay so that they can get an idea of who you are as a student. It is also a good idea to ask for recommendation letters from a previous employer, teacher, or leader of some sort. Additionally, most colleges have an application fee of around $50, so consider this when choosing how many colleges you want to apply to.

After your application has been submitted, you will need to send an official transcript to the schools you applied to. We recommend simply speaking to the front office of your high school and asking for assistance in printing your official transcript and mailing it to the correct address.

Step 4: Apply for FAFSA

Once you apply to the schools of your choosing, make sure to check how much tuition is at each school. Picking a university that is in your budget is very important. Luckily, you don’t have to pay for college right away, or in full. Applying for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a great option to spread out payments and make college more affordable. Applying is free and encouraged. If you are qualified to receive financial aid, an amount will be offered, and you will be given the opportunity to accept or decline.

Step 5: Wait for the news!

After your applications have been submitted, all there is to do is wait! Most acceptance or declination letters will be sent in the mail, so check frequently (emails too). After being accepted to one or more schools, you get to make your official decision.

Educate Midland is extremely proud of our students in anything they decide to do after high school. Whether it be college, career, a trade school, or the military, we want our students to feel supported and assisted in getting them wherever they want to be. For more information on Educate Midland and our involvement, visit educatemidland.org.

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