College Tips

John Doyle, Editor in Chief

For seniors who have already (hopefully) applied to California State universities, and maybe out-of-state institutions, the stress is real. Look no further, for here you will find wise and insightful knowledge regarding the application process, majors, and scholarships!

Finding the right college is perhaps the hardest part of the process. While one would think that searching the most popular colleges is the first step, I think one should truly start their college search by thinking about places you’ve visited in the past. Maybe you went to San Diego or San Luis Obispo for vacation at some point and you really enjoyed it. Back in 2012, I visited Flagstaff, Arizona, returning this year to check out Northern Arizona University, and now I’m convinced it’s the school for me, mainly because I love Flagstaff so much. Location is the most important factor in choosing colleges, and ideally should be where you start your search. Head to commonapp.org to begin!

Next, you need to look at what you’re most interested in majoring and minoring. To start, think about what you’re best at currently. Most likely that is what you’ll study in college, but perhaps you want to study something which you’ve never considered before, which is completely okay! Some colleges force you to pick a major in the application process; thankfully at most institutions, you can change what you want to study very early on.  

Finally, and perhaps what students usually forget about most often, are scholarships and general financial aid, such as FAFSA. Without these, paying for college becomes substantially harder. You should first start by looking at the list of scholarships on the LQ Counseling website (visit lqhawkview.com for the direct link). (https://sites.google.com/desertsands.us/lqhsblackhawks/counseling/scholarships) A good majority of scholarships have early deadlines, so future seniors, keep this in mind! For more scholarships, sign up for an account on Scholarships.com, which is essentially the main database for all scholarships. As for which scholarships to apply for, start with the ones that require no actual effort (usually called the “no essay” scholarships), and then move on to more challenging scholarships (essays and so forth.) Don’t be deterred by how much the scholarship is worth; the $500-$1000 scholarships can make a big difference! If you feel really confident, go for the big ones ($5,000-$10,000).  

At this point, seniors should have already applied to their desired colleges and began working on scholarships. Juniors, while it’s perhaps still early to begin this laborious search, you should definitely begin thinking about it. The time where you have to begin this process will come quicker than you think, and for it to come up suddenly might overstress you, like it has to many other people in the past. Think ahead and you’ll succeed at your college search!