Dear Savvy Winter 2011

By Melissa Regan on September 15, 2013
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By relying a great deal on help from those around me. I spent a lot of time consulting my parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, asking for assistance and advice.

As people who have gone through this process before, they were perfectly willing to help me with things I didn’t understand, as well as direct me towards schools or programs they thought might interest me. Also, I made sure to stay on top of things. Like with any project, the key to successfully completing your college applications lies in giving yourself enough time to do so.

If you procrastinate and whip a presentation together at the last second, it shows; the same concept applies here. Complete your research well in advance.

When asking someone to provide you with a letter of recommendation, make sure to give them a few weeks to write it. Keep all of your important documentation (essays, forms, transcripts, etcetera) well organized.

Most importantly, keep an eye on deadlines! Don’t let everyone’s hard work go to waste by submitting your forms too late!

There are students who feel a certain college is the right fit until they get there and decide it wasn’t a good decision. How can someone make a wise choice on a college they’ve never been to nor experienced? - Ashley, Hephzibah, Ga.

First, you should be aware that there are ways to experience life at a college before actually attending as a student. Most colleges are happy to give campus tours to potential freshmen; a good number of schools even have weekends dedicated to such events.

You can talk to students and professors, eat at the cafeteria, and even spend the night in the dorms. If, for whatever reason, attending such an event is not an option for you, there are still other ways to assess your compatibility with a college. A school’s website will often host descriptions of classes, photos and videos, student blogs, and the contact numbers of people who can provide you with additional information.

Contact the school’s admission counselors, who are happy to meet up with students and answer any questions they might have. If you can’t meet up with counselor at the school or a college fair, try shooting them an email or giving them a call.

It’s important to remember, though, that no matter how much research you do, sometimes a certain college just isn’t for you. That is perfectly okay. There is no shame in transferring; that’s why credits are often transferable!

Just make sure that your dislike for the school doesn’t stem from outside factors, such as missing your family or the general stress that comes with being a freshman.

How did going to college change your worldview?- Sara, Watertown, Mass.

I don’t know if college has “changed” my worldview so much as “widened my gaze,” which has made me realize that I’d only understood small pieces and parts of life before. High school tends to be a rather static environment; people laugh at the jock/cheerleader/goth stereotypes we see in movies because we all know and understand them.

People truly blossom as individuals when they break away from home and embrace independence for the first time. They learn new things about themselves and realize they relate to the world a little differently than before. I’m realizing how unique every person from every culture is. Fundamentally, I think my views and opinions have stayed the same. However, I think I’ve turned into a smarter, more accepting person.

About the Author

Melissa Regan

Melissa Regan

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