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Preparing for College

February 27, 2013
By Danielle Bennett of Centralia High School Activities

It is the end of February, which means the Class of 2013 has about 2 ½ months of high school left! For all you seniors who haven’t applied for college or even thought of college, THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL! Pull yourself together and start applying! We don’t have much time left! Most of us have a plan for college, but, if you don’t, or you don’t even know if you are going to college, here are some helpful tips to help you decide what to do after high school graduation. Sophomores, juniors, and freshmen, here are some ideas for you to help you prepare for your future as well.

            Mrs. Dimmitt, the school counselor, shared her information and experiences with me. When she was asked why students should go to college, she gave a simple answer: “I don’t know if everyone should go to college. I think the reason to go to college is to pursue your future career goals. But that’s not the only way.”

            So, do you want to pursue your future goals? If so, you can begin to prepare for college in your high school career by learning study skills and management skills. “I think it’s important to challenge yourself in upper level classes,” says Mrs. Dimmitt.

            The counselor’s office provides many services to help seniors prepare for college. They include Panther Pathways, Job Shadow Day, senior meetings, and evening meetings for parents and students (college planning night, financial aid night, fill out your FAFSA night). The counselor's office also prepares students by giving both the PLAN and EXPLORE tests.

            Mrs. Dimmitt gives great advice. She says, “To make the process less overwhelming, you should break up the things you need to do. First semester, apply to colleges and go on college visits. Second semester, worry more about financial aid and scholarships. College visits and scholarships can be worked on throughout the year.”

            So when should you apply for college? Mrs. Dimmitt makes the following recommendation: “As soon as the applications are available. Also, apply before their [the college's or university's] early admission deadlines because automatic scholarships are available only to students who submit their applications by those deadlines.”

            We all know how bad the ACT is. However, it is an essential part in the college process. In Mrs. Dimmitt’s opinion, students should take it at least twice. She says this because “The first time they [students] take it they are learning time management and exposure to the test is new and, by the second time, that is over. Then after that take it as many times as you’re willing to take it.” When asked if there was anything else she wanted to say to help seniors prepare for college she said, “Take the process seriously. Look at the whole college to make sure it meets your needs. Don’t let your parents do all the work for you.  Take some initiative.

            So as graduation approaches, so does college! It might be a bittersweet thing to do but apply for college, take some initiative, and get excited for a new chapter in your life.

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