When it comes to this whole college thing, if you remember nothing else, remember this: nobody’s gonna do it for you.
- Nobody’s going to visit campuses and translate the gut feeling you get when you first arrive.
- Nobody’s going to tell you what makes you the happiest, whether it’s a college major or a possible job.
- Nobody’s going to force you to visit your professors, whether you really need help before the midterm or you’re just curious about their other life as a physicist or journalist or dancer.
You need to make sure your college and scholarship applications are submitted by their deadlines, or even early, in case something goes awry. You need to pore over graduate placement rates and average debt and employment stats to see what your job prospects look like after graduating. You need to keep up your GPA to maintain that scholarship. And you need to put in the time and effort to figure out—really figure out—which colleges are the right fit for you academically, socially, and financially. It’s a lot of work.
Granted, your family likely has a lot of thoughts and opinions on these matters, but even if they’re pushing you through your college search harder than Jillian Michaels pushes Biggest Loser contestants, at the end of the day, it’s on you. But that’s a good thing. You want your college search to be all about you, so you get exactly what you want out of the experience.
Now, before you panic, keep in mind that just because nobody’s gonna do this stuff for you doesn’t mean it won’t get done. You can do it. Thousands of students do every year. They bust out an awesome college and scholarship search and go on to have incredibly meaningful, eventful college experiences, full of parties and internships and great friends and maybe a mentor or two. Others don’t put in the effort and miss out on opportunities.
You also have plenty of people to help you along the way, from admission and financial aid counselors to professors, friends, and family. The trick is to be as informed and involved as possible. There are a lot of moving parts in the college game, and it behooves you to get to know them. As long as you’re trying your hardest, you’ll find very little can hold you back.