Today in The Washington Post, Jeffrey Selingo, a superb expert on all things higher-education-related, published an article (“As college admissions season begins, important advice for high-school seniors”) with four pieces of advice to high school students preparing to apply to college. In brief, they are:
- “Students need to hedge their bets… and cast a wide net.
- Include a mix of colleges, both public and private.
- Don’t forget about community colleges.
- Don’t focus too much on majors…” because they change. A lot.
I agree with these four points to an extent, but I would add two pieces of advice before these four.
- MONEY: Look up the price of a public state school and a private school, and work with your family to determine how much you can afford to spend in the coming four years of college. About 50% of students who start college in our country do not finish. This is partly due to the financial burden. Plan up front.
TIME: Think about taking a gap year. Regardless of whether or not you can afford four years of college at this point, a year off can benefit you in the following ways:
- You will recuperate from the stress and anxiety of high school;
- You can work and earn some money;
- You can spend time articulating what exactly you want to accomplish in college;
- You will mature a lot;
- When you arrive on campus, you will be more energetic and focused than your peers who did not take a break.