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HeartsLove7's avatar

Where can I get help/counseling for college admission/selection?

Asked by HeartsLove7 (225points) June 12th, 2012

I am going to be a first generation college student. In the next school year I will be a high school junior. I have no clue where to start with the whole college thing. I need help, cause neither of my parents know anything about college. Where can I get some help/counseling?

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18 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Do you have guidance counselors in your school? That’s a place to start. And don’t let them tell you not to try college. I’ve seen way too much of that. Where are you located, roughly and what kind of college are you looking for?

HeartsLove7's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe It’s summer vacation and I can’t talk to my guidance counselor. Also, at my school, the guidance counselors don’t talk to the students about college, they mainly talk to the students about situations going on in their life. I live in Indiana, and I have no clue what kind of college I’m looking for.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@HeartsLove7 Okay. You’ve got plenty of time. Every college has a web site. Start with those and just look around. Both of my parents dropped out of high school. I was the first in my family to attend a four year school and get a BS degree. Think about your interests and look for a school that fits. And don’t be afraid to go with an undeclared major at first. You’re major is your specialization.

HeartsLove7's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe What things should I be looking for in a college? There are many colleges in the U.S, where should I even begin? I’m willing to do research and all that jazz, but I don’t even know where to begin with it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@HeartsLove7 What kind of budget would you be working with, do you like being away from home, and how adventurous are you?

HeartsLove7's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Well I’m hoping to get some academic scholarships. I don’t want to be on the other side of the country, but being within a state or two, I don’t mind. I would say I’m kind of adventerous.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@HeartsLove7 How big is your present school and how are your grades? I was asking how big because I went from a town of 2500 and a graduating class of 50 to Cornell University, 25,000 students. Talk about culture shock. But I came to love it. It was a great experience. Would you think you want a big university or something smaller?

HeartsLove7's avatar

My high school is a good size. The junior class size is about 374 students. My GPA is about 3.6 and I’m in the top quarter of my class. Maybe a medium-large university?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It sounds like your options are wide open. Does Indiana have a land grant college program? That’s where the state offsets part of the cost so instate students get lower tuition costs.

HeartsLove7's avatar

I have no clue if they do or not. I’ll look into that. Thank you

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Your other options might be to look into a community college or a two year school and then transfer to a four year college, but I think you could jump right into a four year school. Think about what you like to do and then look for a school that fits in with that.

gailcalled's avatar

If I were you and felt really at sea, I would start this summer by visiting local colleges and universities to get a feel for them. Call the admissions offices to see about taking the student-led tours; then wander around by yourself.

Walk around the campus, look at the library, talk to students, see whether you can sit in on a class or two, and simply absorb the atmosphere. Then you can read about them in the better reference books such as The Fiske Guide to Colleges and The Insiders Guide to Colleges

The reading will give you a sense of the competitiveness, size, cost, special programs, quality of the food, kinds of extra-curricular activities and whether you can order a pizza at 3:00 AM.

Then get back to us.

wundayatta's avatar

To search for a college, go here: You can filter colleges by region, by speciality, mission, SAT scores and lots and lots of other things. You can also go here to look at how much a college really costs. Colleges have sticker prices, and then they have the real price, which is the sticker price less grants, scholarships and loans and things. Places like Princeton may have very high prices—50K per year or so, but no one pays it, because anyone who can get into Princeton also qualifies for scholarships that pay the whole freight.

What you do is you decide what kind of school you want. Like my daughter wants a small, rural liberal arts school in New England that is not too close to her grand parents. We, of course, would rather see her go to Harvard than Bennington, since Harvard (which is not rural) is practically free if you can get in, but Bennington costs more than any other school in the country and doesn’t offer much in the way of scholarships, I think.

If you want a good program for some arcane subject, like maybe dance or conducting or social architecture or whatever, you can look for those schools, wherever they may be.

So you sort through the schools, identify twenty or so you are interested in, and then go visit the top five or ten on your list. Go during the school year so you can attend classes. Get a feel for each school, and then apply to your top schools, including the ones you really want to get into and also a “safe” school which is a school you are pretty certain you will get into.

You apply, and see what happens. Then you get an acceptance, and you wait for your financial aid package to see how much each school will cost you, and then you decide where to go. If you don’t like it, you can always transfer. Or quit for a year and find another place that is better. Nothing is written in stone, and if you leave a college, that is not a failure. It just means it wasn’t for you.

Have fun and good luck.

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HeartsLove7's avatar

Thank you all so much for your help. I’m gonna take a look at the websites and insight given to me from you guys. Hopefully this whole process will seem a lot easier and a lot less of a jumbled mess.

ETpro's avatar

@HeartsLove7 If there is a college or university close to you, try contacting their admissions office and asking them if they have a councilor you could talk to. Explain that your high school councilor doesn’t deal with college issues, and that you want to make sure you are taking the necessary courses in your junior and senior year; and that you are ready to ace the SATs. Best of success.

livelaughlove21's avatar

You don’t need to freak out about it now. You’re only about to be a Junior. Most students don’t start ACTIVELY looking until the end of their Junior year. So, you’re fine. Enjoy your summer, and then speak to a high school counselor sometime next year. They can be a great help to you.

One important question is do you want to go to an in-state or out-of-state college? Another is what do you want to study? These things will determine your search. Check out You can search colleges by all types of criteria and compare them based on that criteria (tuition costs, majors/minors, location, size, etc.). They also have a part of the website that you can check out potential majors and it gives you typical career paths of people who get degrees in that field of study. That website was hugely helpful when I was searching.

Find a few colleges that fit your goals/personality and check out their websites. When you get a list of schools you like, set up some college visits during the school year or next Summer. After that you should know where you’d like to go and what you’d like to study way before it’s time to start filling out applications.

Good luck!

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