#collegematch

Applying to college? Here’s where to start.

You’ve decided that you are ready to start the college application process. Chances are you’re a sophomore in college and realize that this is the time to begin thinking about colleges. The problem is once the initial excitement about looking at colleges wears off, you are left staring at a mountain of information, tasks, deadlines, and options that can leave you overwhelmed.

The entire process can take over two years and includes several different phases. These phases include but are not limited to, researching schools, campus visits, applications, researching majors, and financial aid. So, before you even start this long and winding journey, let’s talk about a few things to do right at the start.

Why are you going to college?

College is a serious commitment. You are committing four years of your time and thousands of dollars of money to this next step in your education. Therefore, you need to be clear as to why you have made this choice. If your current answer is “I don’t know,” “Because I am supposed to,” or “My parents are making me,” then you need a new answer.

College is your opportunity to create a future of your own choosing. This is the beginning of a journey that, if done correctly, will prepare you to build a career and life of satisfaction and fulfillment. Now is the time to start thinking about what you are looking to get out of college? Do you want to meet people in a particular field? Are there certain subjects you want to learn more about? Having a basic idea of why you are going to college can help you figure out which schools you should be looking at.

What Type of Person Do You Want To Become?

What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a question that you have been asked several times in the duration of your life. It is also a question that is closely tied to choosing a college. The issue with this question is that it can limit your choices. You are forcing yourself to make a life-altering decision without understanding all of your options. Instead, before you start looking at colleges and majors, ask yourself, “What type of person do I want to become?”.

This question is designed to open you up to new possibilities and ideas. Think about when in your life do you feel the most accomplished or satisfied. Perhaps, it is when you are helping other people and giving them the advice to solve a problem. Maybe you should become the type of person who helps people for a living. Your next step is to list out all the jobs that are associated with that type of person. Finally, take the time to find people who are currently doing those jobs and learn more about them.

Once you complete this, you will have a much better idea of what majors and careers you’re interested in. By learning more about these possible jobs and careers ahead of time, you will know which ones you maybe passionate about and which ones you can forget about. This allows you to focus solely on schools that are going to help you become the person that you want to be.

Determine The Type of Environment You Need To Succeed

If you have read my past posts, you know the basis of my advice comes from surveying and interviewing college graduates. The majority of these grads often speak about how they did not take enough time to determine what they as an individual needed from a college to be successful. They got caught up thinking they had to go away college or choose a big-name school with a huge campus and successful football team.

Take the time to do some self-discovery and be honest about your academic and personal needs. Is going away to school a good fit for you? Will you be successful in large lecture halls, or should you find a school that offers smaller sized classrooms? Will you be okay in a new town and living with new people? How important are things like seeing family and friends when it comes to your mental health?

There are no wrong answers to these questions. The only wrong path is not taking the time to ask these questions at the beginning. These answers will guide your college search and help you only focus on schools that fit your needs. Remember, you are a unique individual that needs to do what is best for you.

Tell Your Story

Everyone has a story to tell. You may think that is not true and that you are boring or are uninteresting. First, I am almost positive you are more interesting than you give yourself credit for. Second, it is your best interest to figure that out sooner rather than later. You will be applying to the same college and thousands of other high school students. The last thing you want is to blend in and look like every other applicant the admissions department sees.

Take the time to map out your personal story. Start with why you are going to college and what you are looking to accomplish. Write out your interests and passions. Think about how going to college is going to help you build the life you want. Think about what that life looks like and what you are doing to get there. List out all of your accomplishments, awards, and past jobs. Make a list of teachers, co-workers, and other individuals who would be willing to vouch for you as a person.

This will help you begin to craft the story you will tell during your application process. This story will accomplish three main things. First, it will give the admissions counselor a better understanding of who you are as a person. Second, it will show the counselor the value you will add to the school if accepted. Third, it will help you stand out during your college essay. It could be the edge you need to get in over a student who just picked an essay topic off the internet.

Get Serious and Get Organized

Looking at colleges should be an enjoyable experience, but it is also not something to take lightly. You will be spending a considerable amount of time and money on college and want to ensure you get it right. There are also several deadlines and tasks to keep on track of. Before you even begin, figure out how you are going to keep track of everything.

The myKlovr platform can help you accomplish this. It allows you to enter all these crucial deadlines and due dates in one place so you can keep track of everything. It also provided reminders when an important date is approaching. However, this is only half the battle. For this to work, you must be committed to putting in the time and energy to the entire process. Understand what’s expected of you and commit to staying on top of it for the duration of the process.

Conclusion

If it’s time to start looking at colleges, then it’s time to get serious about your future. Yes, it can be overwhelming. You will most likely make a few mistakes along the way. The critical thing to remember is that if you apply yourself to the process and give it the time and attention it deserves, then you will be just fine. We covered a lot of valuable information at a very high level. 

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is an educational coach helping students prepare for the next steps in life.

A Different Approach To Your College Application Essay

3 Ways To Help Your Child When They Get Stressed About The College Application Process

Applying to college is complicated and stressful for both students and parents. As parents, we have gone through similar situations and can usually lean on our past experiences for guidance. However, for a teenage student, this is probably the first time in their life, they are experiencing something so complicated. Furthermore, they have been told for the past few years how important this choice will be to their future. That combination can lead to a high level of stress and confusion.

Understanding what your child is feeling is an essential first step to helping them navigate this challenging process. When I speak to college graduates about their past choices, an overwhelming amount of them talked about regretting their approach to college. Many grads spoke of not doing enough research, being confused by all the options, and some even pointed out that the lack of parental support led to them making a choice they would later regret.

In this week’s post, we are going hone in on three specific steps you as a parent can take to help your stressed-out teenager. We will also show how myKlovr is built to help you carry out each of these steps.

#1 – Guide them in creating a plan

As we mentioned earlier, applying to college includes several phases, steps, and deadlines. Before you begin anything, set us aside time one afternoon to list out everything that needs to be done between now and when they get accepted. Create a timeline that shows when specific tasks need to be completed.

This accomplished two primary goals. First, the student understands what needs to be done when instead of starting at one long list, thinking everything must be accomplished right away. Second, this prevents anything from sneaking up on them down the line. They always know what is coming and what to prepare for. They can get in the habit of starting each week by making a list of what specific action items need to be accomplished.

Our Action Plan function is the ideal partner for getting organized and creating a detailed plan. This is where a student can enter important dates, deadlines, and anything else you want mapped out. It also provides reminders regarding upcoming and past deadlines. The student does not have to live in constant worry that something is being missed. If they ever feel overwhelmed, they can simply look at the app, see what they have accomplished and what is coming next.

#2 – Encourage them to tell their story

The application process is not the only thing students worry about when trying to get into college. Many times students worry about how they will get in after they apply. When you are applying to a college alongside hundreds or even thousands of others, it is easy to feel like you won’t stand out. This is where you need to encourage them to craft their own story.

College admissions counselors read vast amounts of applications and essays every day. Most articles read the same because students are writing about topics they found online or about personal perseverance. Applicants can look similar when the applicant is merely listing off extracurricular or volunteer experience. The way for students to stand out is to tell their own stories. Encourage them to discover who they are and what they want to accomplish.

When an admissions counselor reads your child’s materials, you want them to be able to envision them at the school. You want it to be clear that your child will make that school a better place. You want to be telling a story of a student who has always worked hard and strove to be a better student and a better person. Most importantly, you want to make it clear that your child has specific career goals and that this college is the one that can make them a reality.

The Student Portfolio is the perfect way to help craft and showcase a student’s story. We help your students create a portfolio by merely having them input data points such as grades, activities, awards, work experiences, and much more. This portfolio allows students to gain a holistic view of everything they have to offer a college and will give them the confidence to apply anywhere they want. 

#3 – Find the college that is a right fit for them

Over the years, I have researched, surveyed, and interviewed hundreds of college graduates regarding their time in school and what they wish they could do differently. One of their biggest regrets is not spending more time looking at colleges. Many of them only applied to a few colleges and never took the time to figure out if they were even the right fit. The result being they either struggled during their freshman year or had to transfer out to a different school.

Before you and your child start looking at colleges, a student must know what environment is best for them. Are they responsible enough to go away to school? Will they thrive in a lecture hall, or should they focus on schools with smaller class sizes? How far away from home are they willing to be? The number of colleges out there can be overwhelming. This is why you must help your child narrow them down by answering these questions before you even start looking.

Our College Finder tool is designed to help any student navigate through all the choices that are open to them. This tool helps to narrow down the list to only the colleges that fit your needs. It then takes that list and divides them further into reach, match, and safety categories. This ensures you are keeping your options open and have applied to the appropriate amount in each group. Once again, myKlovr is there for you when your student gets overwhelmed, and myKlovr also helps to reassure them they are on track.

Conclusion

The best way to help your child when applying to college is by understanding what they are going through. This is the time to put your years of guidance and wisdom to good use. Whether it’s your experience in applying to college yourself or in dealing with stressful situations, you can help your child navigate this path to the career and future they deserve. The best part is, you don’t have to do it alone. MyKlovr was designed to help you each step along the way by answering your questions and reassuring your child that everything will turn out for the best.

About Kyle

Kyle Grappone is an educational coach helping students prepare for the next steps in life.

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