When it comes to choosing a college, plan your work and work your plan. Take initiative and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. By taking 15 minutes every few days, or even every weekend, you reduce a lot of stress for both you and your parents.
Begin early—your junior year is a good time. Start to narrow your choices by asking yourself, “What is important to me?” Is it size? Location? Cost? All are good starting points for most students. Although cost shouldn’t be the primary reason you choose to attend or not attend an institution, let’s be honest, it’s a factor. Verbalize your ideal school in three or four words. (We would say the College of Santa Fe is small, creative, and has great weather!)
Start thinking about your area of study. If you don’t know, that’s OK! For example, College of Santa Fe has ten areas that are strong, and we don’t claim to be everything to everybody. CSF is looking for the right fit, you should be too.
Once you have a list of four to six schools, plan visits by calling the institutions. Make it a priority. If you can visit three institutions before your senior year starts, you’re ahead of the game! I know you’re busy, but these visits impact your future tremendously. Change your thinking from, “we can’t visit there” to “how can we visit there?” By simply re-phrasing your mental approach, your creativity blossoms and options begin to present themselves. When you visit, everybody you encounter will hound you with, “do you have any questions?” Prepare some!
Next, check out Web sites and create a login, password, and contact name for each school and post it by your computer. Look for Web site perks! College of Santa Fe has its own version of Facebook or MySpace for admitted students. Many of our incoming students use this service and make friends before they set foot on campus!
Many schools have somebody assigned to work with you, an admissions counselor or somebody similar. I spend a good portion of my day answering questions for prospective students and parents. Many of them choose to come to College of Santa Fe because of the personal attention. Once your applications and other required documents are submitted you should ask yourself, “What do I need to see, know, or have in order to make my decision?” Once you know, go after it! Don’t let the process control you….YOU are in control of the process. Taking ownership of selecting a college will kick start your future. Plan your work, work your plan.