How You Can Prepare for College

Picture of Old Main at Penn State. Penn State is a popular choice among State High Students.

Photo/Arlo Nicholas

Picture of Old Main at Penn State. Penn State is a popular choice among State High Students.

Jacopo Congiu-Hughes, Staff Writer

College is something on the minds of many students at State High. While some may be years away from college, and others are only months away from it, most everyone has at least thought about the possibility of university once or twice. And that makes sense. Every high schooler will have to make one of the most important decisions of their life in less than four years. 

If someone decides to go to college, they still have to think about which one to go to. And even if they have made that decision, they still have to prepare. There is a lot to figure out. While this can all seem daunting for the average student, there are a lot of resources available.

One of the most important resources for students looking to go to college seems obvious but is often overlooked: counselors. For sophomores, juniors, and seniors, there are six counselors, and all can be found and contacted from the State High website. According to State High counselor Brenton Mitchell, one of the most important aspects of applying for college is self-advocacy.

“The most important part of the college application process is to hone the lifelong skill of self-advocacy,” Mitchell said. Self-advocacy, according to Mitchell, is “not being afraid to ask for help, and to know how to help yourself.”

Unsure about a part of the college process? Schedule an appointment with a counselor, or ask a sibling or parent for help—chances are, they have faced similar problems you have.

Making sure to do something you love is also very important. Penn State alumni Annalyse Kehs now works at her alma mater as an organizing director. Kehs knows the importance of simply following what you love. She said not to worry about the cost too much, because there are aid programs.

“Everyone goes into this with a different level of capacity to cover the cost, but there are different programs that can help you to cover the cost of college and higher education,” Kehs said. “As long as I was working on something that drove my curiosity, the money would follow.”

Another important thing to remember is not to just go to college because of pressure or because everyone else is doing it. Gregory Mason, the Director of Advising and Certification for the College of Education at Penn State, deals with students and their applications all the time. He says a lot of people just go to college with no real passion, incur large amounts of debt, and eventually drop out. 

“Students say ‘Well somebody told me I’d be a good mathematician, so I majored in math’ and I say ‘But do you want to be a mathematician?’ So, I think people need to spend some time to think about […] what is an intersection of something I like and something I’m good at,” Mason said. 

To go to college, one must not only know how to ask for resources and opportunities, but they must also know what they’re passionate about.