When to Start Looking at Colleges

January 9, 2020

We know that college isn’t for everyone, but if you’re interested in pursuing a higher education, it can be hard to decide when is the right time to start looking at colleges to attend.

Our team wants you to feel prepared as you begin your college exploration, so we’ve put together some tips on when to start looking into higher education and what your next steps should be.

Getting Started

Most high school students take the SATs during their junior year. Even if you aren’t a junior, it might be worth thinking about where you want to go. If you’re not sure what your first step should be, try reaching out to your guidance counselors, an advisor, or career coach to help get you started.

If college sounds like the right fit for you, you might want to start asking the people in your life where they went to school. You’ll probably get a wide range of suggestions, from large universities to local community colleges like our own Kellogg Community College. Be sure to ask your family and friends if they have any advice from their own search and experiences too! That can help you if you need help finding a good place to start.

If you’re a junior or have already graduated, that’s okay! It’s never too late to start exploring a college or university education as an option. If you’ve been out of high school for a few years, you may qualify as a non-traditional student, which could even mean that you qualify for additional grants or scholarships, too.

What to Look For

Once you have a few colleges you’re interested in it might be time to start looking for key factors that can contribute to your success. If a college or university catches your eye, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this college or university offer a degree that I would like to pursue?
  • What are the admission requirements, including required test scores, essays, and application fees?
  • How expensive is tuition at this college or university?
  • Does this college or university offer financial aid? What about scholarships?
  • Will I feel welcomed and inspired at this college or university?

If you find that the answers to these questions match your expectations, or if you can’t find enough information to know the answers, you might want to arrange a college tour. That way you can explore the grounds and talk one-on-one with someone who can answer your questions directly.

Start Preparing

If you find a college that you want to attend, it’s time to start preparing. Ask around at your school to find out if there are any scholarship opportunities that you could apply for. You can also typically find scholarship contests online that offer small but useful boosts to your education fund. Check out BCCF and BCCAN for great resources for local available scholarship opportunities.

Some universities may require letters of reference. If you’re thinking of attending college, it’s never too early to start asking people in your network for letters. Check out our blog on how to get started.

Remember that everyone’s educational experience is different. It isn’t a race to the finish, so keep your head up and do your best. After all, every step you take to further your education can help you change your future for the better.

The BCVision team is dedicated to fostering talent development in Battle Creek. We are happy to provide assistance and resources for you throughout your college application experience and into your career. Contact us for more information.