#dorming

Sit Down With A College Graduate And Ask Them These 3 Questions

The most time-consuming thing a student will do during the college application process is research. They will have to research different colleges, programs, majors, financial aid, dorming, and more to get the full picture of what each school has to offer. Luckily, in 2020, all of this information is readily available online. Yet, it’s the information that is harder to find that is the most valuable.

Hundreds of websites and services will guide and coach you into how to get into college. However, not everyone explains what happens when you get there. Very rarely do you find information regarding advice from college graduates about the obstacles they had to overcome and what they experienced after graduation? To gain this knowledge, you must put in time and effort to speak with other college grads.

The majority of the college grads I speak to were unprepared for the next steps in life because they didn’t take time to prepare themselves. They never sought out the advice of those who came before them. You must include this type of research while going through the college selection process. Therefore, I challenge you to contact a college graduate, sit down with them, and as them these five valuable questions.

What Would You Do Differently When Applying To Colleges?

We all make mistakes when doing something for the first time. Some errors are unavoidable and are apart of the growing pains of being an adult. However, sometimes, you can avoid making mistakes if you know what to look out for. The only way to know this is to learn from someone who made a mistake previously. It might have been unavoidable for them, but by taking the time out to speak with them, it can be very avoidable for you.

Many of the graduates I have surveyed over the years talk about how they wish they had looked at more schools. If the individual you are speaking to shares this regret, ask them to expand upon it. How many more schools would they have visited? Why did they stop when they did? Would they look for different things? The answers to these questions will give you a list of items to keep in mind during your search process. I guarantee you will learn things you would never have thought to think of.

What About College Were You Not Prepared For?

Every graduate I have ever spoken to has a story about something they were not ready for when it comes to starting college. The answers have varied to include classwork, homework, due dates, living at school, and being independent. Whatever it may be, they ended up having a hard time transitioning into this new phase of life. This is avoidable if you are asking the right questions.

When discussing this topic, ask questions about what caught them off guard and what they had to do to adjust it. This lets you know what awaits you and what you need to prepare for. Ask about their first few classes and any pain points they experienced. The chances are good that their answers will reveal possible issues you did not even know existed. College has a lot of moving parts, and most people do not realize all of them until they are actually in it.

If You Could Go Back To College, What Is One Thing, You Would Do Differently?

Everyone has things in life; they wish they could go back and do differently. This is especially true when it comes to attending college. Most students attend college without having a solid understanding of the real world they are supposed to be preparing for. Therefore, once they get their first job, they end up wishing they had done things differently to be better prepared for it.

Ideally, you are trying to learn from this person’s mistakes. For example, a graduate may talk about how they did not get enough work experience before graduating. Clearly, they are saying this because they struggled to adjust to the workforce. The takeaway here is that internships are essential. When looking at colleges, ask about their internship program and how they prepare there students for the real world. Then, remember to apply to multiple internships throughout your college tenure. This type of mindset allows you to avoid the common mistakes most graduates fall into. It also prevents you from becoming the same type of regretful graduate in the future. 

What About Applying To Your First Job Were You Not Ready For?

As a high school student, all your energy and attention is on applying to and getting accepted to college. It’s natural not even to think about what life is going to be like after college when you have not even gotten there yet. However, this is a common mistake that most graduates make. It is a mistake that leaves them unprepared when they are about being their careers.

Now, I am not saying that as a 17-year-old high school junior, you need to have a full understanding of the job application process. All you need at this time is a basic understanding of what will be expected of you. Any insight regarding what employers are looking for will be invaluable as you work your way through college. If you know you will need a particular skill after graduation; you can plan how you are going to work on it during college.

What Is One Piece Of Advice You Would Give Someone Currently Applying To Colleges?

This allows you to gather any information that was not covered in the previous questions. At this point, the person you are speaking to is recalling their memories associated with applying to and attending college. By asking them this broad question, they will give you there most detailed and honest advice.

Regardless of what they say, be sure to pull out all the relevant information and write it down. Capture any regret they have or lesson they learned. Then, make sure you are taking time out after the conversation to review that list and create an action plan around it. The information you are gathering is useless if you do not create a detailed plan of how you are going to use it to your advantage.

Conclusion

In most aspects of life, the answers you seek lie with those who have already done it. You owe it to yourself to be as prepared as possible when entering this crucial phase of life. Take the time throughout your junior and senior years to speak college graduates and ask about their time in school. The more people you talk to, the more knowledge you will get, and the better prepared you will be for that next step in life.

About Kyle

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

 

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

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