Suggestions for high school students and parents
College planning season is upon us, with students and parents thinking about how to get ready for the transition from high school to college. Adrea Spoon, Director of Admissions at Bowling Green State University, shared some wisdom on how to get ready for college.
Spoon recommended taking both the ACT and SAT at least twice, if possible. “Students often get better scores as they become more familiar with the tests. A good practice is to start taking standardized tests by the junior year (in high school).”
According to Spoon, “The college planning process can be overwhelming for families, whether they are seasoned (college attendees) or first generation. One of the best tips is to visit any college you’re interested in exploring.” Visiting campus is helpful because it allows students to imagine living on campus, find out about study abroad, research, and athletic opportunities and more.
Spoon encouraged students to apply to several schools, because “A school isn’t going to offer a scholarship to a student who hasn’t applied.”
When it comes to loans and tuition payments, Spoon suggested students apply for as many scholarships as possible—and to continue applying throughout college! “Second, file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to maximize opportunities for scholarships and to be considered for grants and low-interest loans.” Additionally, Spoon said that higher education should be viewed as an investment, and that “Some debt is worth having.”
Spoon also recommended reaching out to high school counselors, friends who have already gone through the process, and the admissions department at the institution itself. “An Office of Admissions will typically assign a rep to each prospective student. Use that person as a mentor!”
Finally, Spoon noted that “The college planning process continues after a student is enrolled and on campus.” Students and families should keep that transition in mind and support students in growing and exploring once they have arrived at the school.