Juniors Already Beginning the Search for the Perfect College
by Sarah Grace McElwain
With the end of their second to last year of high school approaching, many WHS juniors have already started, or are now starting their college searches in preparation for their senior year.
The end of your junior year is a great time to start looking at colleges. It is a good idea to think about what you are looking for and what you do not want at the school you want to attend. Making a list can help you organize your thoughts. “I want a school with lots of diversity that has internships and hands on opportunities,” said junior Antoinette Aburto.
When looking at colleges, you should consider whether you want to go to a big or small school, public or private school, and whether or not you want to go out-of-state. It is also a good idea to consider the athletic teams and clubs available on campus and whether you like their student life on and around campus.
There are plenty of resources online that can help you find schools and look at aspects of ones you already know. Some websites, like Cappex.com, even include an admissions calculator to show you how high your chances are for getting into certain schools. As usual, Naviance is also a great resource to utilize during your college search (Links for these websites, and other helpful sites, are listed below).
Visiting colleges is a great way to get an idea of what going to school at that college is like. Many schools offer campus tours as well as Q&A sessions with professors, financial aid advisors, admissions counselors, and even students and graduates from that institution.
“I think [juniors] need to start visiting schools, obviously, hopefully they’ve already done that and to look at the requirements for admission. If they have not taken the SAT or the ACT yet then they should take it immediately,” said Guidance Counselor Geri Beth Chavez.
Whether you leave the campus visit wanting to go there or not, college visits can be very informative and can help you narrow and refine your must-have lists. By visiting a wide variety of schools, you can broaden your horizons and experience certain types of schools you may or may not have considered before.
While visiting campuses, you might decide you want to go to a small private school, when before you started you thought you would only like a large public school. Sometimes you do not realize what you like or do not like until you get there and experience it for yourself.
Many schools also offer overnight stays for prospective students. Visitors are paired with a current student and live with them for a day, eating meals with them and going with them to class. This is a fantastic opportunity to experience daily life first hand and see if the classroom and teaching styles are for you. You can also see how good the cafeteria food is, which is always a bonus.
For many juniors, their college search has just begun. “I visited St. Mary’s College last month. It was the first school I visited and I fell in love with it,” said junior Felicity Poulin. “I don’t even feel the need to visit any other schools because I want to go there so bad.”
Some students get lucky and find their dream school that is the perfect match after one try. Other juniors have been looking for a while and have seen many schools already. “I have only been to two schools, but so far I definitely will be looking into the University of Georgia,” said Aburto.
However, there are some students who have not started to look at schools yet, due to hectic schedules and commitments. “I haven’t visited any schools yet, but I should probably get on that,” said junior Rebecca Raub.
If you are a junior and are planning on attending college after graduation, now is the time to start looking around and exploring your options. You do not need to know exactly what you want to do and what you want to major in, but it can be helpful in making a decision.
Try to start comparing schools that you have looked into and like, and start checking your GPA and testing scores to see if you meet their admission requirements.
Involve your family and friends and have fun going to schools and finding where you fit. Even if you are not a junior yet, it is never too early to start planning for the future. The college search process is a fun and exciting time!