By Hannah Kingsley
Juniors and seniors alike are regularly asked the same question by peers, family, and their community: what will you do after high school? For most, this can be a daunting question to have to answer, but there’s no need to fear the future. For those planning on going to college after high school, you don’t have to know what you want to major in right away. Colleges and universities have help readily available for those who don’t quite know their path, and you don’t have to know when the time comes to fill out the applications. Another benefit available to those applying for colleges is a particular app called the Common App.
Furthermore, this app makes applying to colleges much more efficient and quicker. It’s a method I highly recommend as a senior who has started applying to colleges. The Common App can be found online at commonapp.org, and all you have to do is create an account, add your colleges of interest to your dashboard, and start applying. The nifty thing about this app is that you can fill out all of your general information required on all applications before you start applying, and the Common App will save that information so you don’t have to repeatedly fill it out. Then, you just have to fill out all of the college-specific information required and make sure you get any required documents, like your transcript, sent in. The application process should then take no more than 5-10 minutes depending on how much extra information you need to fill out. There’s also information on how to fill out scholarships and financial aid along with links on where to do so.
One thing any seniors graduating the next school year should keep note of is that October is Free Application Month in Minnesota, meaning that all Minnesota college and university applications can be filled out for free! The best advice I can give to anyone wondering which colleges to apply to is that there’s nothing wrong with applying to as many colleges as you can. The best thing you can do is to give yourself options if you don’t have your heart set on a singular college or university. I also recommend going on college visits/tours. The environment of the campus and learning what your opportunities will be at different colleges can be a huge determining factor on where you choose to go.
As an overachiever and overplanner, something I also recommend for those planning on staying in a dorm room their first year of college is to find a layout of what the dorm rooms look like, whether this be through a virtual tour of the campus or an in-person visit/tour and create a list of everything you might need for your time there. This doesn’t have to be an in depth list. Just a generic list of necessities and where you might find them. I’d suggest going on the Target website and looking at their assortment of dorm essentials for options. Something worth investing in as well is a good quality laptop. Now might also be a good time to start learning how to budget.
In all, planning for your future doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Take a deep breath, stay organized, and don’t allow yourself to succumb to the pressure put on all young adults to know right away what you want to do with your life. You have so much time to figure everything out. You’re doing great. I wish everyone undergoing this process the best of luck. If you’re not going to college, that’s ok, too! You know what’s best for you. Happy planning!
Hannah Kingsley is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of 13 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 25th year.