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A Quickie Guide to Planning for College


WHEN DO I START?

As soon as students enter high school it is time to start planning for college. In fact, studies show that most students decide if they are 'college material' while still in middle school. Early awarennes is the key. Planning ahead with high school course selection can be critical. Many colleges require specific courses like foreign language or algebra in order to be admitted. Summer programs on college campuses may offer high school students a taste of university life and new academic skills. In Washington, the Running Start program allows students to take college courses while completing high school.

BUILDING AN EDUCATIONAL PLAN -
HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT COLLEGE AND AREA OF STUDY

Planning is essential if goals are to be successfully reached. Unfortunately, most people neglect to plan carefully for the one decision that will most effect their career opportunities and lifetime income potential. Planning for college today can be intimidating. Rapid changes in programs, costs and government rules that effect college requirements and resources are complicating the planning process. Provided with the college planning basics, prospective college students and their families can plan for a successful higher education. This planning process is essentially the same for traditional high school and college age students, adults returning to college during their working years and even retirees seeking to start a second career.

HOW DO YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES MATCH WITH YOUR INTENDED AREA OF STUDY?

Experts often counsel students to study what they love most. Most employers recommend that students get a good basic education, worrying less about specialization and more about fundamental communication and learning skills. On-the-job training covers the more technical aspects of most work environments. For many students, the secret of a successful college experience is to focus on academic strengths and avoid any college major that requires substantial study of subjects that are disliked. The basics cannot be avoided and all colleges require a core of study that includes essential knowledge for program completion. The more a student enjoys what they study, the better they do.

 

WHAT CARRER OR LIFESTYLE OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU WANT AVAILABLE AFTER COLLEGE?

A college degree does not always directly lead to the desired job or career. Planning for career or lifestyle options can help prepare students to take advantage of academic, mentoring and internship opportunities while in college. These opportunities often lead to jobs directly from college. Do some research on prospective employers. Contact the human resource or personnel office at local companies that recruit and hire college graduates in select fields. Ask them about programs and colleges that best prepare students for their company. Ask about starting salaries and benefits. Will this allow you to have a comfortable lifestyle? By identifying prospective career options and employers, students are giving their college efforts a sense of direction.

Article supplied by College Planning Network.

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