Moving On

Its been a year since I began writing this blog. Since then, I’ve covered a wide variety of topics, all covering ways to help prepare you for college and your career. Whether you’re homeschooled, public schooled, or just starting college, you now have a resource here to get you started, if nothing else. I’m confident at this point that I’ve covered just about everything that needs to be said. Now, it’s time for me to move on and pursue other projects.

When I first started, my goal was to provide you with valuable information, to give you the resources needed to make it through college, on your own. How well I’ve done at that, it’s hard to say. I could have provided more sources to gain more insight on or gone a little more in depth into discussing each topic I’ve outlined; things that slightly more credible  sources do. But take it as it is: it’s a starting point.

My purpose here these past twelve months hasn’t solely been to tell you what to do and how you should do it. I mean, it has been to a degree, but that was never my main focus. Its been to give you awareness, to push you to do your own research and make your own decisions. If I ever said that I had all the answers, I was either lying or just being plain stupid. I don’t have all the answers. Nobody does. I can only give you what I know. You must find the rest for yourself.

But I won’t just leave you hanging with that. Like any good conclusion, it must give a good summary of everything that’s been covered. With 160 posts (including this one), I couldn’t possibly go over everything without being redundant and exhaustive, so I’ll be brief. There’s a lot here, so I’ll only outline the essentials so you can work off from there.

Preparing For College

Learning how to study or how to take notes would be the first two that come to mind when preparing yourself for college, but also knowing what to do if you find yourself unable to pass courses can be just as helpful — like seeking tutoring, organizing your stuff, or even managing your time efficiently for example. Dual enrollment is something also worth mentioning and should be taken advantage of since it allows you to get a head start on college and that tuition and everything else is practically paid for. Also, should you take the ACT or the SAT? The question won’t be that big of deal since in a couple years, College Board will be changing their test, making the difference between the two negligible.

Another thing too is simply knowing how to socialize with people. It’s a common stereotype that homeschoolers have no social skills, but even for me, being public schooled most of my life, I had worse social skills than most homeschoolers. Learning how to interact with people in an acceptable manner can be an important step towards preparing for college and developing connection that may prove beneficial to your career. And if all else fails, just purpose yourself to hone in that social awkwardness, all the way to the point of mastery.

Understanding the Costs

College is expensive. I’ve said those three exact words countless times, and its all been to emphasize a point. Unless your parents plan on paying for your education, you’re going to be seeking out scholarships, grants, and — if all else fails — loans to front the expenses for your education (and don’t forget to fill out a FAFSA). Colleges aren’t normally very open about how much it will really cost you each semester, as the sticker price would be enough to drive anyone away; so only will you be paying for tuition, but you’ll also be forking over cash for food, room and board, textbooks, and other college expenses. Fun stuff.

Also, know that your only options aren’t the prestigious Ivy League schools (although such institution do provide more financial aid than most) or any of the public universities that you may have on your list of choices. There are cheaper options out there that won’t leave you in debt for a good portion of your life. Now there is such a thing a good debt, but there are certain choices of colleges and degree choices that don’t fall under that category.

Your best bet would be to start off with an accredited community college and get your general education finished. If you’re one of the many who really have no clue what you want to do with the rest of your life, then that makes this an even better option since you won’t be pressured to major in something that you may not find all that interesting later on.

Applying for College

It’s important to find the college that’s right for you. Research the costs of each institution, look up information on each on to find out which better suits your talents and personality, and even go to college fairs if you have to.

When you’re applying for your college of choice, know that your GPA and test scores don’t have as much weight to them as you may think. Colleges want to know that the reason you want to enroll with them is that you desire to learn and excel at whatever it is that you aspire to do. This is best expressed in your essay and better supported by whoever it is that you have write your letters of recommendation.

By the way, when you get there, don’t casually date your degree. Find the major that best suits you first before before going to a university or a four-year institution of sorts. Please.

Living the College Life

This not only covers how to get by day to day, living off of what little money you may have, but also what you should and should not do while you’re at college — cheating on tests and dating being a couple things that could potentially become disastrous. It’s good to know how to fight college expenses, to budget yourself and live life on campus as comfortably as possible (overcoming the stressful college environment, anyone?), but it’s even more important to understand that your time at college is meant to train you how to become a more responsible individual. I mean, what would you ever do in the event there was an emergency, for instance?

Building Towards Your Career

The most important thing you should be focusing your attention on in college is building a bridge towards your career. In fact, this is something you should be doing before you even finish high school.

First, you must get a job. Employers look for certain skills in employees beyond just textbook knowledge and technical know-how. While you’re in college, you should have opportunities available to you to seek internships. Take advantage of them. Not only will you get first-hand experience in your desired career field, but you’ll learn good people skills — because, you know, that’s important.

Don’t just stop there though. You should be spending your free time (or at least a good chunk of it) networking with people, getting involved in organizations and finding yourself some volunteer work. If you don’t have have a job or an internship, at least be doing this. Create a LinkedIn profile and utilize it (it’s not Facebook, by the way). Build your resume, expand your portfolio, and write a compelling cover letter even. You need to be able to get employers’ attentions if you ever hope to get a job once you get out of college. Otherwise, that degree will just end up being an expensive wall ornament.

To say that I’ve covered everything there is to say about preparing for college and building towards your career would be rather naive of me. You can find all sort of content on the interwebs that go into more detail than what I’ve gone into in this blog. Again, this is just a starting point. I don’t claim to know everything, my purpose here was to simply guide you along your journey. From what I’ve left here for you, you’ll at least know what to expect and be able to prepare for the years ahead.

With that, wish you the best of luck in your college and career pursuits, and bid you adieu.