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Preparing for College as a High School Senior 

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When you’re a senior in high school, the finish line is the only thing you have in mind. Once you graduate, the entire world is at your doorstep and waiting to be explored. For some, you may want to jump into the work force. But for others, this may be the time where you pack up your life and go to college.

But where to go to college is one question. How to get to college is an even better one. If you are a high school student looking to dive into higher education, look no further! At Collegeboxes, we’re dedicated to helping you get into the school that’s perfect for you.

Shop Around

The first step to take on your path to college is figuring out where you want to go. Every school will come with its pros and cons, so when you narrow down the list of potential contenders, it will be important to tour each campus and see what they have to offer.

While it can be easy to assume that every college offers the same type of curriculum, some schools have better programs than others. If you have a specific major in mind, try looking to see if any colleges have high quality programs centered around the subject. Even if a school isn’t considered ivy league, the odds are they still have amazing courses taught by intelligent people.

If you are still undecided on a major, then try to learn about which programs sound interesting to you. Think about the location of a school as well; would you rather be close to home or somewhere completely new? There are plenty of things to consider before you commit to a school, so make sure you are weighing your options carefully.

Take a Tour

Touring a college campus is essential in realizing which college is the perfect fit for you. Some colleges even offer virtual tours for out-of-state and international students. Exploring the buildings and facilities in person gives you an advantage before your first day of classes. You can see where your potential classes could take place, or even meet a professor or two.

Even if college seems too far away to worry about, or if the thought of it gives you stress, it is important to be aware of your surroundings when touring a campus. Pay attention to your tour guide and make notes of what you like or dislike about each school. This will help you make a decision on where to go later.

Send Applications

Applying to college early gives you a better shot at receiving more opportunities for financial aid. It also gives you a higher chance of being accepted into more competitive schools. Make sure to apply to multiple schools, even if you have your heart set on a specific university. You never know what the future might hold for you.

Keep in mind that most university applications will come with a fee of around $50. This fee can increase depending on the school, its location, or other factors. It is possible to get application fees waived if you speak to your current high school counselor but be prepared to spend some money when applying to schools.

Make Note of Important Dates

Record all of the important deadlines you need to meet before college starts. This can include application deadlines, filing for FASFA, dorm selection, and move-in day. Purchasing a handheld planner or utilizing your phone calendar can help keep you accountable. This is a good habit to pick up before you start juggling classes in your first semester.

Send Your Transcripts

Sending your high school transcript is crucial for getting accepted into college. While most universities won’t request an official copy of your transcript upon applying, you will need to send it before you are officially accepted into the school.

Most universities will require official transcripts to be sent online via their own student portal. But you may have to go in person and request your transcript to be sent by mail if there are any issues. Talk to your college and career counselor in advance to get any specific questions answered.

Apply for Scholarships

It’s no secret that college is pricey. The cost of university can make or break where someone goes to school, or if they even go at all. Applying for scholarships is impactful in reducing the amount you pay out of pocket. And who knows, you might end up with a full ride scholarship!

Scholarship applications may require different things, like writing essays, taking surveys, or participating in certain sports or clubs. Many scholarships are meant to go to certain people, like members of a specific ethnicity or culture. Make sure you read each scholarship application carefully to make sure you qualify.

The key to receiving scholarships is being sure to do your research and apply early. Most counselors will have access to new scholarship applications and other opportunities for financial aid, so check in with them regularly.

Select a Dorm (and Roommate)

Selecting a dorm can be a tedious process if you do not start your application right when it opens. Many dorms on campus will have their differences. It can be stressful trying to select the “best” dorm room for you. But try to think about which dorm will make your life most convenient.

Some dorms may offer suite bathrooms while others will have communal bathrooms on each floor. Some might have places to cook meals, while others might have a dining hall that supplies food instead. Try and see what each dorm offers and decide which one meets most of your needs.

In some cases, you might need to find a roommate. Don’t panic, the roommate horror stories that you see online are pretty uncommon. But to avoid any potential mishaps or disagreements, make sure to screen any prospective roommates before agreeing to live together. If you procrastinate on selecting a roommate, you might have one randomly assigned to you. Try your best to get all dorm and roommate reservations done early, you’ll thank yourself later.

Go to Orientation

Going to orientation is a helpful resource when it comes to learning about the university and what it can offer you. Most orientations will include opportunities to learn about programs they offer, activities that you can get involved with, or where to find extra resources on campus.

Some schools offer both online and in-person orientations to accommodate the students. In most cases, orientation is mandatory. You will have opportunities to sign up for classes, clubs, and meet other new students. There are usually multiple timeslots to choose from, so make sure you book your spot early.

Meet Your Counselor

Most of the time, you will meet your counselor during orientation. They will help you select your classes for your first semester. But for some schools, counselors may not reach out to you first. Establishing contact with your counselor is a huge step in making sure you have a successful college experience.

Academic counselors are there to help you pick classes, majors, and career paths that appeal to you. They are also great at assessing how many credits you have, as well as how many you still need to go. Setting up a meeting with your counselor, whether it is in person or over the phone, can take a lot of stress off your shoulders. If you’re ever feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to call them up.

Develop Good Study Habits

Getting into a habit of studying often determines how well you do in college. Fixing any bad study habits in high school will help you in the long run. It can be hard to keep up good study habits without the pressure of your parents hounding you about your grades, but it’s important to maintain that work ethic.

Whether you decide to study at night or during the day, finding the perfect study strategy will be unique to you. Maybe you need to find the perfect spot to feel productive, or you need the perfect tools to help you retain information, or maybe you need some friends to help keep you focused. No matter what you need to get you set up, finding a good study strategy will be crucial during college.

Join a Club

If you want to start being active in your school community, clubs or sports are the perfect place to start. Any hobby or interest you have may already have a club for it. There is usually an opportunity to sign up for clubs at orientation. But if you need more time to consider, you can reach out to the advisor or someone in the club at a later date. Campus activities are a great way to help you make friends, memories, and stay active.

Once you get all this prep work out of the way, then you’ll be all set to start classes in the upcoming semester. That means you’ll need to start thinking about moving in! At Collegeboxes, we offer an easier way to ship and store your dorm room belongings. We even offer direct shipping for any last-minute items that you might need. Don’t get stuck with all the heavy lifting, we’re here to help you share the load!