Choosing a College

    The college exploration process can be daunting and overwhelming.  It can also be very exciting and informative!  Deciding on where to attend college after high school is the biggest decision most students have ever made.  For this reason, it needs to be well thought out and researched.  Students who are planning on attending a 4-year college after graduation should seriously start considering their post high school graduation plans at the beginning of their Junior year.

    What Should I Consider When Choosing a College?

    The best way to start narrowing down your options when choosing a college is to think about the course of study that you plan on pursuing.  This is called your "major".  For example, if you plan on pursuing a career as a State Trooper, then you would most likely major in Criminal Justice.

    Next, consider the type of college and location of the college and if it would be a good fit for you.  Do you want a very large college with 20,000 students in a big city, or do you prefer a smaller college in a more suburban or rural setting?

    Research the college admissions standards.  What did the average freshman have in regard to grade point average and college admissions exam scores when they applied to the same college?  Determine if you have a chance of being accepted based on this information.

    Narrow down your list of colleges you are interested in.  A total of 3-5 colleges is an adequate number to apply to.  Break them down by colleges that are very competitive and are "reach" colleges, colleges that you know you have a great shot of being accepted to, and then back up colleges-no problem to be accepted, but not your top choices, either.

    College Admissions Representatives Visit LCS to Meet with Students!

    Juniors and Seniors are strongly encouraged to meet with the various college admissions representatives who visit in the fall.  They are there to answer questions about their academic programs, get students on their mailing lists, and encourage them to visit their campuses.  Below is a file to download that will assist with questions students can ask the representatives during their visits to LCS.

    Visiting Colleges

    Students MUST visit the colleges and universities that they are interested in.  This gives students the opportunity to see the campus in person, including key areas in which they will be frequenting.  These include the lecture halls, dormitories, library, bookstore, dining halls, athletic facilities, etc.  The best time to visit a college is during their Open House program.  These are typically in the fall, on a Saturday.  The program usually includes an admissions presentation, as well as campus tours and maybe interviews with counselors.  The Open House dates are listed on the college websites, or you can call the Admissions Office.  You must register for an Open House online or by phone.

    When do College Applications Need to Be Completed and Submitted?

    Generally, it is recommended that students apply during the fall of their senior year.  The application process should start in September, and be completed around Thanksgiving.  Give yourself plenty of time to complete the applications, write the college admissions essay if needed, get required letters of recommendation, and create an activity resume.  An example of an activities resume can be dowloaded below.

    Be sure to be aware of the deadline to apply, and do not submit an application after this date!  Most colleges receive applications between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The sooner that students can submit applications, the more likely they will be accepted and be able to take advantage of any financial aid grants and scholarships. 

    Finally, weigh the decision about applying either early action or early decision.  The following information was obtained from the collegeboard website (www.collegeboard.com)

    Early decision plans are binding. Your child agrees to attend the college if accepted and if the college offers an adequate financial aid package. Although your child can apply to only one college for early decision, applying to other colleges through the regular admission process is allowed. If your child is accepted by the first-choice college early, all other applications must be withdrawn.

    Early action plans are similar to early decision plans, but are not binding. If accepted, your child can choose to commit to the college immediately, or wait until the spring. Under these plans, your child may also apply early action to other colleges. Usually, candidates have until the late spring to let the college know their decision.