By the time we reach the end of the school year, I will have spent an entire decade in college admissions. Ten years, three different schools in three different states, and I really wonder how time passes by so quickly! (And if that sounds like something an older person would say, don’t worry, you’ll find yourself saying it in due time.)
If there’s one thing I’m appreciative of it is how much I’ve learned over the years. Who I am now is definitely not who I was 14 years ago when I was deciding on what college to attend. There are many times when I want to go back to my high school self and just somehow impart all this new knowledge and do my [college selection?] process all over again! But what’s done is done- I can’t go back in time, and so here I am now working as an admissions counselor, doing my best to give students the knowledge they need, the knowledge I wished I had, to make the best decision for which college to attend.
When I think about what I wished I knew as a high schooler, I have to admit, the majority of it seems pretty silly to me now. But since I don’t mind embarrassing myself sometimes, here are some of the things I wished I would have known about the college process:
- Major campus events are not the only time you can visit college campuses. Admissions offices are normally open on most weekdays, and sometimes Saturdays if that works better for you and your parents.
- To follow up on that, you do not need to wait until senior year to visit colleges. You can, in fact, visit as a junior, and sometimes even a sophomore!
- Yes, each college you apply to will have an admissions counselor assigned to you who you can always contact should you have questions. (Fun fact: the only admissions counselor I remember from my search is from the college I ended up attending. We are still friends to this day!)
- More colleges offer interviews than you actually think, not just the ones that reach out to you.
- If you do a college interview, yes, you should do a little bit of research about the college you are applying to. Just don’t over-prepare. Be yourself.
- It’s definitely okay to wait until May 1 to make your final college decision. Just remember that that’s when a deposit needs to be paid!
Even as we have advanced with the types of resources available at our fingertips, everyone’s learning curve and even access to this information is different. As someone who went through the process as a first-gen student, I know the challenges that still sometimes exist. So if you’ve ever wondered about any part of the process, know that your admissions counselor is ready and waiting to answer your questions!