Prepare for Your Future: College Edition


How do you really know what you want to do for the rest of your life? How are you supposed to make these decisions for your future based on the small amount of experience you have? It is terrifying yet thrilling at the same time. There is a risk you take when you leave home and step out into the realities of the real world, and you can either back away from it – or prepare. Alexander Grahm Bell said,

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”

An important thing to remember when trying to prepare for college is that there are so many tools in high School that are there for your success. The best way to utilize your high school years is to dive into activities and all kinds of elective classes. Doing these extra classes will expand your interests and will help you figure out a future career path. Another amazing thing that is offered to ADM students is the opportunity to take DMACC, AP, or Dual Credit courses. This aid helps you understand the difficulty and workload of a college class. There are lots of courses and options to choose from and are available to every student.

When asked, “What is something you tell students to help them prepare for college while they are still in high school?” One of ADM’s counselors Kelly Delagardelle said,

” You should try to challenge yourself, and not be afraid of difficult classes, having a high GPA isn’t better than having variety, and challenging courses.” ”

— Kelly Delagardelle

If you know you want to go to college, but are unsure what you want to do, or where you want to go, the research is key. With technology,it is so easy to find information. Every school you could ever think of  has information online, and has a website you can visit to find basic information about the university. You can also research possible jobs to come out of a degree in a certain field. This is a lot of research at first, and can be quite overwhelming. A great way to navigate is to find some preferences first, like location, size, program, cost, and acceptance rate. At ADM a resource provided with tons of information about colleges, majors, and possible jobs is  I Have a Plan Iowa. They use interest quizzes and your skills to align you with suitable careers and schools.

Once you find some main schools you are interested in, schedule a visit to the campus. This is a very important step in finding “the right fit” for you. Seeing a campus, and walking through the place you could potentially spend the next couple years of your life is pretty influential. Sometimes you just know and the feeling on that campus is magical. You need to be able to feel secure and safe, and you need an environment where you think you can flourish. You should be able to see your future right in front of you. 

A dream school is like that perfect shirt, you want it more than anything. It checks every box, until you look at the price tag. College is devastatingly expensive, especially private or prestigious schools. However, there are lots of ways to help earn money and scholarships to help make those huge dollar signs seem a little more attainable. Financial aid is offered almost everywhere, and according to the Department of Education, most students qualify for some kind of federal student aid. There are also apps and websites that award scholarships. At ADM we are encouraged to download the app RaiseMe it allows you to earn money based on your high school grades and accomplishments. Schools that use RaiseMe give you micro scholarships for your accomplishments in high school. There are other websites that are dedicated to finding local scholarship options, and obscure ones as well. Investigate scholarships actively, there is something for everyone. 

These four aspects are just some of the details you want to get ahead of before you are making these huge decisions. Try and take some college courses before you leave high school, and remember that variety in courses will make you more appealing to a university. Do your research, talk to people about their experiences, and make sure the school will meet your criteria and your needs. The mountain load will be worth it once you know you have a right fit for you. Try not to fret about the money, if you put in the effort and commitment to a school, they will help you afford their school. Ultimately, they want you to succeed. 

 Remember to keep an open mind and to not get discouraged. There are resources and people to help you. Talk to teachers, counselors, parents, older siblings/friends, as they all more than likely went through this same process and can help you navigate your options. When your future is at stake, you will be glad you took the time to prepare. This will help you steady yourself before making a life changing transition into your adult life and education.