It is time for juniors to take a lead

feature_essays_2015By Staff Writer: Tricia Tucker

Alright juniors, it’s now your time to show.  Seniors are coming to an end and it is time to face the facts: you’re next in line, next to rule this school and receive your caps and gowns.  But first, you need to prepare yourselves for the wretched future: college.  It may seem all fun and games, but it takes work to get there, and not the kind of work that can be procrastinated till the last minute.  You need to start soon, like now.

Senior year can go two ways: easy-going or stressful. You are the one who determines this fate.  Either you can prepare for college and set everything up so you have little to worry about throughout your last year of high school.  Or, you can bum everything off until the school year starts and be forced to sweat through the jungle to your future.

I personally recommend preparing as soon as possible, initially when school gets out and summer finally begins.  Ms. Louise Laine, Howell High School’s 11th grade guidance counselor, also recommends that you get a head start on your future.  She has many helpful tips, steps, and activities that can better help you prepare yourself for college without the overweight stress on your shoulders.

  1. Identify colleges
  2. “I think they should identify the top three colleges of their choice, depending on the major they are choosing,” states Laine.  This way, juniors can narrow down their choices, and only have the pressure of eliminating two.  Laine suggests that students visit to help them understand themselves a little better and which career path would best suit them personally.  Laine also suggests that students visit their Career Cruising profile.  This year’s juniors, the class of 2015, have been primarily focusing on “schools that interest me”. They can visit their profile and view the colleges that would best interest themselves personally.
  3. College Tours
  4. Tours are very important and strongly suggested.  Through a college tour, you can experience campus life, population, class sizes, and the overall feel of the area.  However, these should not be put off until the last minute. If you procrastinate until school starts, tours are generally only offered on Saturdays, and face it, the majority of seniors don’t want to be touring a college with their parents on their Saturday evenings.  Along with college tours, there is generally a virtual tour of the campus and classes on the college’s website.  Without a tour, you won’t know for sure if you are even interested in the college, and with an application fee of up to $50, you don’t want to waste the money on somewhere you are no longer interested in.  So, be sure that you have toured colleges that interest you prior to application deadlines.  “Ideally, applications should be in by the end of October, but with early admissions, applications are due early October,” says Laine.
  5. College Fair
  6. At the college fair, students have the opportunity to meet with staff from all different colleges.  Here, they can ask any remaining questions they have, whether about their major, programs, study abroad, campus life, etc.  This really gives them the chance to get to know someone from a college and get their input on it as well as their own.  According to Laine, the HHS college fair is generally held in October.
  7. Narrow down career goal
  8. Some students, even some seniors, are undecided on their college major.  This can be a major setback because they can’t choose a college that specializes in their major if they don’t know what it is yet.  You need to break down your top choices (business, medical, military, etc.), and go from there.  Laine believes that Career Cruising can be a very helpful tool in helping students decide on a major.  It tests your personality, hobbies, likes/dislikes, and puts it all together to determine a career that they feel would best suit you.

Laine has also provided what she believes it the top three most important steps to do this summer in order to better prepare for your futures:

Step 1: Research majors

Step 2: Research colleges

Step 3: Visit Colleges

With these steps, students will be able to know just exactly what it is that they want.  The time is here.  There is no time for procrastinating; October will be here before you know it.  It’s time to surf the internet and stalk those college websites till you can’t keep your eyes open anymore. Your time is coming, and it is flying like a rocket.