career

3 Popular Myths About Going To College

By Kyle Grappone

According to a recent research study, about 70% of high school graduates attend college. This means there is a large number of students and parents who are looking to consume college related content to prepare for this critical process. This high demand for content has resulted in an overwhelming amount of articles, interviews, case studies, and videos about what you need to know to make the best possible choice when selecting a college.

Typically, this blog is dedicated to helping you sift through all of that well-intentioned advice. It is essential to identify all the factual information out there. However, it is also important to admit that there is a lot of incorrect data, as well. Somewhere along the way, various myths regarding what’s important about college starting popping up. Therefore, this week, we are going to debunk three popular myths regarding going away to college.

Myth #1 – You must go away to school

As a society, when we speak of college, we automatically connect it with going away to attend it. Somehow, we have forgotten about millions of students who attend college and still live at home. When you begin this process, you will be tempted to look at schools far away from home. After all, the idea of being out on your own is very attractive. Attending a college out of state is an opportunity to become independent, meet new people, and experience new things.

For many, this is the right call. It is important to get out into the world and experience things that are different from what you are used to. However, if this is your next step, you have to do it for the right reasons. Do not go away to school because you want to get away from your parents or you want to party all the time. If you are choosing a school far from home, you should do so because it aligns with your goals and your plans.

Also, there is nothing wrong with deciding that going away is not for you. The most important thing a student must do when looking at colleges is to understand what type of environment they need to succeed. Are you the type of person who benefits from familiarity? Will a new bed, town, and friends on top of harder classes be too much to adjust to? If that is the case, please understand it is okay to choose a college close to home. This does not make you lazy, nor does it make you ill-equipped to handle new responsibilities. It merely means you have identified what you need to succeed and refuse to put yourself in a situation where that is not going to happen.

Myth #2 – You must go to a 4-year school

Community colleges get a bad rap. For some reason, they have been labeled as a place that are reserved for those who were not driven or smart enough to get into a four-year school. This is not true. Community colleges offer high-quality education at lower prices than there four-year counterparts.

A community college is an excellent choice for someone who is not clear about what they want to study in college. It is also an option for someone who knows they want to go to college but cannot yet afford it. You can attend for two years and complete your basic requirements while you work and save money for the last two years. This allows you to continue your education and take our fewer student loans.

Again, this comes back to what your plan is. What are you looking to accomplish? Why are you going to college in the first place? Understanding your needs and goals is imperative. Many of the college graduates I speak to talk about how they regret not going to community college first. They speak about “falling into the trap” of thinking that only the unmotivated start at community college. Do yourself a favor and research your local community colleges. You will be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer and how it can fit in perfectly with your future plans.

Myth #3 – You have to have all your career mapped out before you start college

This is the biggest one of all. I left it for last, so you have something to think about after you have finished reading this article. There can be a tremendous amount of pressure placed on a high school student when it comes to planning for the future. They often think that by choosing a college, they must also know exactly what career they want to pursue and how they are going to get there. I promise you; this is not true.

The most flawed question we ask students is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. This implies that they must already know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. It is flawed because how are you supposed to be able to answer that question without knowing what all the options are. This is not a time for you to be making these types of decisions. This is a time for you to be asking yourself, “What type of person do I want to become?”.

By exploring this question, you are opening yourself up to a field of options based on the type of person you want to work towards being, and the impact you want to have on the world around you.  This allows us to have an idea of what we are working towards while keeping our options open.

You are not expected to have a concrete answer regarding your future before you go to college. College is supposed to be the time in your life when you ask more questions. Where you explore your options, talk to those who came before you, and then start to determine what you want to do with the next steps of your life. You do not need to have everything figured out; you need to start thinking about what questions you need answers too.

Conclusion

The college application and selection process is challenging. There is a lot of information floating out there. Most of it is based in fact and therefore can be helpful. However, there are, unfortunately, several myths surrounding this process that need to be addressed and debunked.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several students focused services, including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.  

4 Tips to Help You Choose Your Major

By myKlovr

Choosing a major in college can be a daunting task that many think will determine the rest of their life and their future career path. Colleges often require students to state what their intended major is before even attending causing huge amounts of pressure on High School students to know what they want to major in before they even attend their first class is immense.

How can someone choose to major in something they’ve never experienced, never even taken as a class before? It’s not surprising that many of my college friends told me they realized the major they thought they wanted to pursue was something that they did not end up even majoring or minoring in!

I have been fortunate to be supported by a variety of people in choosing my major, and I have four tips on how to best take advantage of the resources around you to minimize stress and maximize satisfaction in making this decision. As a rising Sophomore in college, I am able to relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed by this daunting task, but through my tips I was able to feel more secure with my choice.

 

1. Take a variety of classes

In college, you have the opportunity to take a variety of courses, both in your interests and outside of them. This allows you to explore your current interests and discover new ones as well. My freshman year I took a psychology class and fell in love with the topics we covered. Now, I want to double major in psychology and anthropology a new interest and an existing one. Also, don’t wait until your senior year to try new courses. I have talked with seniors who regretted waiting until the last minute to step out of their comfort zones, because they found they were really good at and enjoyed the new subject.

 

2. Use your summer

For some, summer is a much needed break from the busy school year where one can relax. However, summer should also be seen time that can be taken advantage of. The few months are the perfect opportunity to find internships, take classes online, or even take classes at another college or university. Finding a job will grant you experience in the workplace and also add a boost to your resume, and you may realize working is actually a lot different than you imagined. It can help you begin forming an idea of what type of jobs suit you. Taking classes can grant you the opportunity to find new interests in different subject matter.

 

3. Take advantage of your friends and family

Because choosing a major can be so stressful, we often face this decision alone when we don’t have to. In fact, family and friends may be the key to making the right decision for you. You may realize that someone close to you struggled with the same decision, or majored in something you are considering. They may also have advice of their own which can help lead you in the right direction.

 

4. Use your College’s Career Office

Once you’re on campus, there are so many resources all around you that are there to help you! I know as a freshman I was intimidated by the career counseling office because I thought I was too young and inexperienced to use it. However, setting up a meeting with the faculty there, was one of the best decisions I had made. You should also look for support in your professors and advisors, as they are there to help you learn and develop your skills and interests.

 

In the end, as important as choosing a major can be, it is not going to trap you on a path to one particular career. I know lawyers who studied art history, and businessmen that studied linguistics. Though your major should be a decision you put thought into, your life will also not be determined by exactly what major or minor you choose. So have fun exploring your interests!

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